Monte Cristo at John Martin’s
Irish Pub & Restaurant
Bistec Rio Crystal at Rio Crystal
Food blogger Sef “Burger Beast” Gonzalez reveals the top finds of his ongoing Miami meat quest.
BEST OF THE BEST
I don’t live near Deerfield Beach’s Charm City Burger Company, but that doesn’t deter me from making regular hour-long treks to eat there. Simply put, their colossal Big Sloppy is my favorite burger in South Florida. Top-quality ingredients make a difference you can taste in every bite. 1136 E. Hillsboro Blvd., Deerfield Beach
STRANGE BUT GOOD
Once I’m seated at a restaurant and handed a menu, the first thing I look for is a burger. I love to see “burger” subcategories with specialties I can’t find anywhere else. Case in point: Sara’s Super Sport at The Filling Station, which is topped with peanut butter. Hell, I hate peanut butter. But I’ll eat it, dig it and look forward to my next one. 95 SE Second St., Miami
UNDER THE RADAR
Rio Cristal is a Cuban joint that serves one of my favorite burgers, as well as Miami’s very best flan. But it’s chiefly known for the bistec Rio Cristal—a palomilla steak barely visible under a giant stack of fried julienne potatoes. Despite the effect on your waistline, this is one totally necessary evil! 9872 SW 40th St., Miami, 305-223-2357
The frita Cubana first appeared in 1930s Havana as a mix of ground beef, paprika and chorizo or pork, topped with shredded potatoes, diced onions and ketchup on a Cuban roll. My favorite is from El Mago de las Fritas in Little Havana—made with an extra fluffy bun and perfectly seasoned patty that will leave you mesmerized. 5828 SW Eighth St., Miami, 305-266-8486
SWEET AND SAVORY
Sometimes I find myself daydreaming about my next visit to John Martin’s Irish Pub & Restaurant, for the best Monte Cristo in town: a ham, turkey, American and Swiss cheese sandwich dipped in pancake batter and deep-fried, then expertly cranked up with a side of mixed-berry sauce for dipping and defibrillating purposes—perfection. 253 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables
To get your comfort-food fix online, check out the Burger Beast’s blog at burgerbeast.com.