Thriving in the bustling atmosphere of South Beach Miami, Yardbird Table & Bar is renowned for its signature cocktails and dishes embracing the palpable beauty of Southern Cuisine. The restaurant was nominated for a James Beard Award and named Best New Restaurant by “Bon Appetit” magazine in 2012. Yardbird Miami instantly became a personal family favorite, meaning that visiting its Washington, D.C. location instantly made its way onto my bucket list. Needless to say, the capital did not disappoint.
Meal-wise, the Chicken & Waffles, Lobster Mac & Cheese and Lewellyn’s Fine Fried Chicken are all favorites and staples of both Southern food and the Yardbird kitchen. Tapping into these favorites, my family has a routine order and one we consistently love.
To delve into our experience in the District, the first noticeable characteristic of Yardbird is the duality between the non-serious attitude with which the chain regards itself and the deep elegance of the restaurant’s aura. With dim ambient lighting, dark woods, thick leather and finely detailed drink and bar displays, the restaurant comes off as very upscale. Juxtaposing this quality are corny foodie jokes in the menu, such as one regarding the unreliability of a skinny pastry chef or the sunshine, love and genius mixed into bourbon. This nonchalant yet classy environment is very comfortable and helps one feel both the “fancy night out” and “fun night out” vibe interwoven.
This same energy extends towards the food. Though they do serve brunch, lunch and dinner, I personally recommend Yardbird as a dinner meal due to the sheer weight and filling nature of what you’ll eat.
To start, we ordered the Classic Buttermilk Biscuits and the Green Goddess Salad. The salad is a delicious assortment of greens, asparagus, snap peas, goat cheese, cucumber and sunflower seeds. The portion was enough for six of us to each get a bite. The biscuits were similarly delicious, with a nice crunchy outside and soft buttery middle layer, and were served with honey butter and housemade jam for dipping or spreading. While the restaurant normally serves four biscuits, our server added two for our party size ensuring we had enough. I had also ordered the Passion Fruit Cream Soda, which was a nice carbonated spike throughout the meal.
Recounting our entrees, we purchased The Whole Bird, Ribeye Steak Frites and Shrimp & Grits with Southern Street Corn, Mac & Cheese and Crispy Brussels as sides. The Whole Bird combines Yardbird’s two famous chicken courses into one combo of fried chicken, chilled spiced watermelon and a full Vermont sharp cheddar cheese Belgian-style waffle. The chicken comes with honey hot sauce and Bourbon Maple Syrup for the waffles. The Ribeye Steak Frites honors the French classic with a 14 oz boneless Ribeye spread with chimichurri sauce and paired with truffle parmesan fries. The Shrimp & Grits are my personal favorite and highest recommendation. I would distinguish this as a smaller dish compared to the steak or “bird” but still delicious: seared shrimp, roasted tomato, Virginia ham (which I religiously abstain from), red onion, Nora Mill grits and PBR Jus.
Finally, the three sides come in a medium and filling size. The Mac & Cheese, admittedly, varies in quality and seems to be an ever-changing yet ever-improving recipe. I confess, the D.C. restaurant has the better macaroni in my opinion. The corn is perfectly silky and yet has the right texture we all expect corn to be, and the brussel sprouts add a nice hearty flavor to this otherwise fatty and oil-drenched meal.
Following that, we ordered Deep Fried Oreos and the Bourbon Bacon Chocolate Cake (minus the bacon). They were both delicious and the restaurant added two Oreos to fit our party size.
Outside of the food, the service was amazing. Not once did we feel neglected and the portions and ingredients were constantly adjusted to our needs. My only complaint could be the high price of every item on the menu, but what else would one expect from a restaurant of this tier?
Thus, Yardbird Table & Bar is a wonderful restaurant and an experience to save for your next big celebration!