It’s been a long time coming, but Soul Tavern is finally open. The Miami Beach meat-free gastropub was set to open in late 2016, but permitting and other city headaches pushed the date back to this summer. Thankfully, diners no longer have to wait for their fix of flavorful vegan and vegetarian cuisine. Variety is the spice of life, and as you’ll quickly see, Soul Tavern’s menu has a lot of it.
Let’s get this out in the open: We are voracious meat-eaters. Put a plate of protein in front of us, and we’ll devour it. We’ve experimented with vegan and vegetarian cuisine, which means we’ve tried veggies burgers — that’s the extent of our plant-based culinary interactions. Sadly, most vegan and vegetarian dishes we encounter on menus are pretty boring.
That’s not the case at Soul Tavern, where the meat-free dishes actually sound creative and appetizing. There are dishes here like Lotus and Burdok Root Chips, Hemp-Crusted Edamame Cakes and Mango Avocado Tartare — items that are a lot more exciting than veggie burgers and salads. Indeed, their flavors were anything but lackluster.
The same goes for larger plates like Roasted Oyster Mushroom Tacos (kale-orange brown rice, black eyed peas, avocado cream) and Naughty Gnocchi (cherry tomatoes, garlic, basil, chilies, shishito peppers, mac-nut cream cloud). Look at those ingredients: There’s so much going on in each dish that you don’t even need meat (or notice that it’s missing).
Like we mentioned at the beginning, one of the things we enjoyed most about Soul Tavern was the varied menu — global influences abound in the small plates and mains (called Substantials on the menu). You’ll even find meat-less pizzas and sushi! The Yami Konnyaku, one of the Maki selections, is packed to the brim with unique flavors — you can thank its devils tongue, salted plum, caramelized onions, spinach, tempeh and miso enoki for that. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the Fire Pizza — another highlight — is made up of tomato base, roasted red pepper, tomato, Brussels leaves and basil. It’s simple yet oh so delectable.
You can choose from a trio of sweets to end your meal: Impossible Mousse, gluten-free Carrot Cake and “Cream Cheese” Frosting, and Fire Roasted Strawberry & Oat Crisp. Ultimately, your decision comes down to how hungry you are and how guilty you want to feel afterward.
We always thought of plant-based food as boring, but Soul Tavern has changed our perception a thousandfold. We’ve never experienced vegan and vegetarian cuisine like this, and you probably haven’t, either. If you’ve been disappointed with the plant-based options in Miami lately, Soul Tavern is sure to get you excited again.