While visiting Miami last month, I was sent to a sustainable gem of a restaurant called Wisk, in Coral Gables. It is not far from Fairchild Botanical Gardens, where golf carts are solar powered and there are a number of interesting educational programs for young and old.
Lunchtime at Wisk is a busy place where food is served efficiently by knowledgeable and engaging staff. The buzz of the lunch crowd is slightly deafening as you walk into the inviting space. Bar height tables for communal dining are conveniently placed in front of large openings looking into the kitchen. Having this view is an excellent way to keep an eye on the chef and his staff as they prepare your meal. Whether they are pictures hanging on walls or light fixtures floating from the ceilings, there is no doubt that wisks are important items at this restaurant.
Beyond the décor, the food is also memorable. Chef Brendan was trained in the deep South so his menu has a number of Southern specialties such as Fried Green Tomatoes, Shrimp and Grits, and Buttermilk marinated chicken. We tried the tomatoes as well as the chicken to help satisfy our grumbling bellies.
The presentation was simple and appetizing. The all time favorite though was the serving of house-made Brown Bag Potato Chips with shaved parmesan, The potato slices were cooked to perfection sprinkled with a coating of fresh parmesan cheese.
The mains were soon to follow our scrumptious starters. The highlights were the stacked sandwiches as well as the tasty salads. Locally grown mouth-watering tomatoes with slightly decadent moist and crispy Southern fried buttermilk chicken complimented the fresh spinach leaves and honey-mustard vinaigrette.
The blackened mahi mahi sandwich was staked and wrapped making eating it a pleasant and enjoyable experience.
Beyond food, what I was really excited to learn was that Brendan and his crew work hard at being sustainable. From the start, it is apparent that local is a priority with their purveyors. Using fish tails for ceviche and extra ground beef for lasagnas are only a few examples of how the kitchen tries to take advantage of any excess. In terms of waste, I was thrilled to hear that kitchen offcuts and green waste are collected by a local composter on a daily basis. Used oil is also picked up and recycled by a company that pays 10 cents a gallon to transform chip oil into biofuel. A vito filtration system has also been installed in the kitchen to help in extending the life of the oil.
Wisk was a great find not only for what it offers in terms of fare but also what it does to help our environment.