Since The Wynwood Yard opened in 2015, food trucks have been the only option for hungry visitors. That has all changed with the addition of Charcoal Garden Bar + Grill, the venue’s first full-service restaurant. Built completely from modified shipping containers, Charcoal delivers a delicious dining experience that complements The Yard’s current lineup perfectly.
At Charcoal, the Josper Oven is the star of the show. From the meats to the seafood to the sides, pretty much everything ends up in the charcoal oven (hence the restaurant’s name). Charcoal also uses The Yard’s garden to its advantage; some of the herbs and vegetables on the menu are grown just a stone’s throw away from your table.
Most of the restaurant’s dishes are large enough to share family style, which ultimately benefits the diner. The flavors here run the gamut, and it’s best to try a little bit of everything for the full experience. Your experience should start with the Skillet Bread — no ifs, ands or buts. The gluten-free corn bread (baked to order in the Josper) features organic white corn meal, buttermilk, farm eggs and roasted poblano peppers. We lovingly called it “crack bread” and one bite will explain why.
The Salmon Gravlox with its dill-cured PEI salmon, Rye toast and Swedish dill-mustard sauce was another notable starter; it’s worth ordering for the sauce alone. If all vegetables tasted as good as the ones at Charcoal, we’d be a lot healthier. You might be weary of ordering veggies when there’s so much else to try on the menu, but the Roots made us turnt for turnips and the Wild Mushrooms (shallots, garlic, olive oil, thyme-sage) is something we’d order again and again.
Save room for the House Specialty. Enough for a table of four, this take on Egyptian Koshari includes a blend of jasmine rice, le puy lentils, vermicelli, caramelized onions, cinnamon and cardamom. It’s as fragrant as it is flavorful; the dish deserves its name. It’ll go well with whichever mains you end up ordering. In our case, that was the Daily Fish and Octopus. The former — a snapper filet — looked simple but it was a lesson in never judging a book by its cover; our taste buds thoroughly rejoiced. And if you’re a fan of octopus, you’ll thoroughly enjoy Charcoal’s slow-simmered-then-grilled version.
For dessert, you can go the individual route or get something for the table. The Individual Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is so cute that you won’t want to eat it, but you should since it’s not too decadent but still hits the spot. If decadence is what you want and your diet starts Monday, then double down on the Bread Pudding (and hit the gym later).
The Wynwood Yard already had a stellar selection of food before Charcoal came along. Adding an exceptional full-service restaurant into the mix is a natural evolution for the space — and one that gets us excited for The Yard’s future. We can’t wait to see what else is in store.
Charcoal Garden Bar + Grill is located at 82 NW 29th St inside the Wynwood Yard in Wynwood. For hours of operation and other information, visit their official website or call 786-646-2998.