Prism Tastes: Brickell’s Baby Jane
July 12, 2016
Consensus: It might be ahead of its time at its current Brickell location, but the elevated bar food at this speakeasy escape makes Baby Jane one of the more exciting new addition to the city’s ever-growing food scene.
At first glance, you might not catch Baby Jane at all. You’d probably walk right past it and end up at a neighboring nail salon. Actually, that’s exactly what I did. There’s no sign out front, not even a website. Only the faint light of a neon sign that awaits behind tinted glass windows. When you walk into Jason Odio and Chef Mike Beltran’s newest endeavor (following Ariete‘s success), you breathe a sigh of relief. Yes, something this cool and raw exists in Brickell and yes, that’s a vintage refrigerator door leading to the restrooms.
The vibe is that kind of rustic-trendy-meets-antique-show, with an endless stream of pop culture references thrown in. Raw wood-lined walls juxtaposed with the neon lights flickering to the beat of Baby Jane’s motto: “I’m not your baby.” In fact, everything about Baby Jane is in stark contrast with itself. From complex takes on simple bar food favorites to the very feeling of a saloon in the clean Brickell strip, you can’t help but notice that Baby Jane is both new to the city while still having absorbed the atmosphere of a classic joint. It’s everything you love about a good local spot: ‘escape’ level dark, outside hang options, and some damn good drinks.
Ah, yes, the drinks. The nostalgia-driven outpost has some of the most well-crafted libations in the neighborhood, and I’m not just saying that because I tried nearly every one. Sure, you have your usual spicy salt-rimmed Tequila number dancing next to something that surely has Elderflower infused into it, but what sets the bar aside is the familiar knowledge of its craftsmen and women (because they’re more than just bartenders) and the cheekiness of its menu. A classic must try is the Jane and Juice, whose name immediately jumps out at you before you can say “Snoop D-O-Double-G”. We also tested out The Wolf and Del Toro for some added color to our palettes. Maybe it’s the location, maybe its the gin-induced giggles, but at Baby Jane you kind of get the feeling you’re at a fancy happy hour all the time. And we’re not mad at it.
Now onto the food. Ralphie our server, (who was amazing, by the way, but look for “Raphie” sewn onto his shirt…don’t ask us why), was elated to share his favorite menu items with us, a collection of exciting takes on classics injected with wit and confidence. This is one Chef Mike Beltran’s key giveaways; when encountering one of his menus, you’ll see his personality blended deep within its composition. From the Crudo and Kale Oysters Rockefeller (to die for), to the Duck and Foie Gras Croquetas and the Soy Caramel Wings (an absolute must-have), you’ll see equal parts technique and equal parts curiosity being stretched before your eyes in the friendliest of ways. Rather than a chef leading you blindly through the culinary world, he seems to say: “Hey bro, grab that Bourbon, I want to try something different, you down?”
While we jammed to an eclectic mix of 80s and 90s tunes with some dance-y remixes of modern hits thrown in, we took in the setting sun reflecting off the windows and waited for our next course. And what a course it was. First of all, I am so happy to see more Vietnamese food coming to life around the city. Which is why I was happy to see a Banh Mi on the menu, overjoyed at how perfectly succulent it was, and then broken-hearted that it was over. But it’s okay, we then have the Green Circle Chicken Thigh and things got bright again. Top it off with the PigInc Cookie and I’d say it was a pretty great evening. I have the sneaky suspicion that that’s how it is at Baby Jane, 100% of the time, all the time.
Where is it? 500 Brickell Ave, Miami, FL 33131
When’s it open? 12PM – 3AM M-TH, 12PM – 5AM F-S, 12PM – 12AM Sun.