Yarumba Restaurant

Have you ever dined at a restaurant where you felt so comfortable you unknowingly began rubbing your stomach, nodding off to sleep, yawning and stretching your arms and legs – you know, activities reserved for the privacy of your home?

Yarumba Restaurant and Bar located at 4740 NW 167th St., Miami Gardens, FL 33014, is one of those places!  With a homely and inviting interior, its fully loaded bar front and center had me sprinting for a cocktail.  Given that it was  lunchtime, I limited myself to only three drinks. I started with a Passion Fruit Mojito ($9.50), then a Passion Fruit Margarita ($9.50), and finished up with a Passion Fruit Daiquiri ($9.50)! Each drink had a great taste, but I would definitely request top shelf for a cleaner buzz, if that’s your goal.  The Passion Fruit Daiquiri is a delicious and packed with alcohol – a Must Have.

We started things off with an order of Mangú Croquettes ($9.50) that were fried to a beautiful golden brown and boasted a delicious filling of salami and cheese on top, with a Creole red tomato sauce with hints of garlic, onion, and salt gracing your taste buds after each bite. Traditionally, with roots in Africa, Mangú is made up of mashed boiled green plantains along with delicious and salty salami, topped with sautéed red onions at times. In the case of Yarumba, fried cheese, fried Dominican “salami,” eggs and avocado are added as side dishes.

A true Dominican staple, Mangú has the nickname, Los Tres Golpes, translating in English as “the three hits,” cheese, salami, and eggs.  In general, Croquettes are small bread-crumbed fried food rolls containing, usually as main ingredients, mashed potatoes or ground meat (veal, beef, chicken, or turkey), shellfish, fish cheese, and vegetables.  These babies are definite Must Haves.

You can also have the Mangú served as an entrée along with two fried eggs, fried white cheese, and chorizo for ($9.50).  This staple Dominican breakfast is very tasty and definitely worth a try.

Moving along, I ordered two Cassava Beef Empanadas ($7), which were freaking majestic!  You can choose fillings of beef, cheese or crab.  The beef was sautéed with plenty of flavor and crammed into the little cassava pockets, sealed, and deep-fried for pure awesomeness. Another Must Have!

If you have a hangover, are cold, have a cold, your spouse just left you, dog passed away, or any other life pain, come and get a bowl of Sancocho to comfort you.  This traditional stew hails from all over the Caribbean, but the Dominican version combines all manner of meat (pork, hen, and beef) with two different kinds of tubers (cassava, plantains, potato). Sour orange lends a uniquely Caribbean flair in addition to a thick broth creating the consistency of a winter stew. This dish is best paired with a side of crunchy tostones (twice-fried green plantains).  You can get this Must Have in a cup for ($6.50) or a bowl for ($11.50).

My first entrée was Chivo Guisado or Braised Goat ($15.50), delicious pieces of 48-hour marinated goat slowly cooked with oregano, garlic and red wine with just a touch of spice served with two sides. I love goat, especially when it’s nice and tender.  I had a side of white rice and red beans with this entrée and let me tell you something, this goat was so flavorful my knees buckled, causing me to almost slide out of my chair. Do not let the goat scare you.  Try something new!  You will not regret it as it is yet another Must Have.

Following the goat, I ordered the Fruits of the Sea ($20), a massive seafood dish that is pretty much Paella with the rice being replaced by Mofongo.  Freshly made tomato sauce, chorizo (Spanish sausage), fresh scallops, octopus, calamari, clams, shrimp, scallops and mussels form a tapestry of seafood goodness. Order a side of white rice and peas with this dish so that you can pour the delicious sauce over it for a truly gastronomic experience!  That’s what I did, and absolutely loved it.

I’m sure you’re probably wondering what exactly is Mofongo?  It’s my next entrée, that’s what! Mofongo ($9.50) may look like mush, but it is absolutely wonderful.  With African origins and cooked in chicken broth, green plantains are mashed with garlic, olive oil and fried pork rinds (or bacon).

I ordered my serving with delicious Dominican white rice and red beans. These beans are freaking amazing!  If you never had Mofongo, then this is one of the best places to try it out because it’s definitely one of the best in South Florida. I smothered mine in the beans and mixed it with my white rice to maximize my food high.

The Grand Finale was the Tomahawk Steak ($65); a super high grade cut of beef made simple with salt, pepper, and infused herbal olive oil cooked to your liking. This is definitely a steak you order to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, new job or any other meaningful life event.  Absolutely magnificent flavor, texture, and aromatics!  I enjoyed it with a side of beans and rice.

Yarumba Restaurant and Bar is quite possibly the No.1 dine-in restaurant in Miami Gardens.  Great service, exceptional food and an inviting décor characterize this fusion Dominican.  Owner Sergio Dominguez, and his lovely children Danny Penalo-Dominguez (head chef) and Alba Dominguez (general manager) not only created a great restaurant, but also a bar and event space.

The restaurant transforms into a nightclub, concert hall and karaoke venue various days throughout the week.  It is my prayer that this restaurant creates a trend for others to begin opening within communities such as Miami Gardens, offering locals good, healthy and affordable dining experiences. This spot is a little hidden, so the easiest way to drive through the Rana Furniture store parking lot and Yarumba is right next door. Locals know what I’m talking about, everybody else, just plug it in your GPS.  Yarumba receives 10 out of 10 stars and of course receives The Hungry Black Man’s approval!  You can reach Yarumba Restaurant and Bar at 305-622-9700 for reservations or further information.

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