Modern Garden, Miami River, Downtown Miami

422 NW North River Drive  

305.440.4200 .






Modern Garden, 422 NW North River Drive, Downtown Miami


Open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday noon to 12:00AM

















by Simone Zarmati Diament

photos: SFG


It should have been named the Magic Garden. But as it is, in spite of it being the best kept secret in Miami -- it is overshadowed by its sibbling Seapice --  there’s plenty of magic at Modern Garden.   

Even the Miami River, the fuel-misted waterway that cuts the city into a maze of bridges and dead ends, transforms at dusk into a bejeweled river aglow with the Downtown lights and extends its glitter into the modern dining room separated by an outdoor terrace from the  popular restaurant Seaspice.

The magic doesn’t stop there.  Inside, blond woods, daring architecture, Scandinavian chic with Latin pizzazz and lush greenery weave the natural and the manmade into a fitting setting for the dazzling show that Executive Chef Benjamin Goldman delivers nightly on the no less dazzling china. To match: the impeccable and knowledgeable service by head server David Stein and desserts by pastry chef Jill Montinola, formerly from Jean Georges and Sushi Samba in NYC.  Owners Carlos and Maryam Miranda have definitely settled on a winner. 

Formerly the sous-chef at SHIKANY, Chef Goldman - who was voted one of Miami’s Zagat 30 under 30 - has developed his own exquisite style of global food with the use of techniques he acquired working  with great masters  as well as during his travels around the world.

Chef Goldman deploys the skills of a seasoned juggler, the artistry of a painter and of a magician in his handling of spices and ingredients to woo us with dishes like the selection of crudos -- a contemporary interpretation of exquisite raw fish and seafood dressed with infused oils, citrus and fresh herbs.  

He is changing our perception of visual and taste pleasure with the dramatic-looking  Uni Canapé with black squid ink chip, citrus crème and lemon zest;  bright orange Salmon Rosettes with Faroe island salmon, candied shallot, salmon roe; Hokkaido Scallop Tartare crispy bamboo rice, golden osetra, coriander aioli; Fish and Meadow seared yellow fin tuna;  foie gras panna cotta with aji Amarillo, pickled zucchini and candied hazelnuts and a trilogy of oysters with different toppings.

Those who like it hot can actually see how seafood, duck  and premium meats are seared table-side on 850-degree volcanic stone slabs. We opted for Moscovy Duck Breast with purple onion, umeboshi (a sour pickled plum), maple tamari, basil buds and accompanied by a jewel-like bowl of Forbidden rice fragrant with coconut milk. But the menu also lists A5 Wagyu Beef with alderwood salt, Maldon seasonal salt, lavender flower; Elysian Fields Lamb with red miso, fleur de sel, zaalouk, and fresh rosemary, or Spinelis (a.k.a ribeye cap) with rojo chimichurri,  lava salt and Diver Scallop with bagna cauda sauce and puffed rice.

Pastry chef Jill Montinola demonstrates a rare understanding with desserts just short of sweet, bursting with flavors and textures, that end this outstanding menu with a bang, leaving you dreaming of coming back for another round of Chef Goldman’s magic.






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