Helmed by the likes of Top Chef Spike Mendelsohn, Sunny’s is a casual new beach eatery that serves internationally-inspired food in a relaxed, yet refined, location. Looking through the menu, you’ll find beach food local to different countries around the world. By sampling food inspired from the beaches of Hawaii, to those inspired by the beaches of Bali, to those of Thailand and so on, you can essentially have a worldwide experience while staying at the Sunny’s location in South Beach.
The food is unpretentious and varied, offering options from Deep Fried Avocado Tacos, to Ceviche, to Fried Chicken and Waffles. I started my dinner with the Arancini, known on the menu as the “UNO, DOS, TRES…BALLS!” The fried sicilian rice balls, which include saffron, mozzarella, peas, and are served with a side of lemon aioli, are decadent and a perfect representation of Chef Michael Colletti, Mendelsohn’s partner in the kitchen. Colletti, who owns a successful restaurant in Jersey, channeled his Italian roots to create an Arancini that his grandma would be proud of.
Spike Mendelsohn is highly regarded in DC for his astonishingly great burgers at Good Stuff Eatery, so it was obvious that there would be a burger on the menu at Sunny’s. The Sunny’s Smokehouse Burger features a burger blend created by Pat LaFrieda, applewood smoked bacon, sharp cheddar, housemade potato sticks, pineapple and chipotle BBQ sauce on a brioche bun. After trying this, I can understand why Mendelsohn is so highly regarded up in DC for his burgers, It hit all the right palate notes by achieving sweet, spicy, salty, crunchy, and soft textures. At only $15 with fries, this burger is a no-brainer. I’ll be back from it.
While I enjoyed most of the dishes that I sampled, the clear star of the dinner was the Panther Coffee rubbed skirt steak. Served with shishito peppers, pickled red onions, mojo sauce, and a side of yucca fries, the beef was extremely well balanced, perfectly cooked, and tender as can be. The heat coming from the shishito peppers balanced well with the acidity of the pickled red onion and the richness of the meet. Combined with the earthiness and slight bitterness coming from the very local coffee, this dish was the standout winner of the night for me.
I appreciate Sunny’s dedication to offering casual beach eats in a non-pretentious setting. The fact that the kitchen also utilizes products from local businesses such as Zak the Baker and Panther coffee makes me realize that they are really embracing their new place in Miami and trying to make themselves a valuable contributor to the community. I’ll be returning to Sunny’s especially for that coffee rubbed steak.
1500 Collins Ave
By Santiago Cardona