Miami’s Sugarcane brings diverse flavors to the Venetian

Sugarcane’s sea urchin avocado toast and cobia al pastor (left).
Photo: Mikayla Whitmore

We’ve seen this before, or at least we think we have. There’s a new restaurant specializing in global small plates, and the menu appears to be all over the place. This type of eatery typically takes a while to settle in to a more specific approach, if it gets to settle at all.

But Sugarcane is not like those whirlwind restaurants. First, it’s a highly successful concept in Miami that has expanded to the Strip. More importantly, there’s a relaxed, cohesive force to this menu, even though it’s equal parts raw and grilled, and chef Timon Balloo’s flavors draw from Latin, Asian and European inspiration. It takes talent and thoughtfulness to put these pieces together, and the cool Miami vibes of this rather large dining room plant a charming cherry on top.

You don’t have to do the big baller seafood towers ($90-$150) to start, but don’t skip the expansive crudo section. Favorites are scallop, black truffle, apple, lime and jalapeño ($16) and kombu-marinated fluke with charred onions and sesame ($15). Not everything raw is from the sea, either—you can experiment with beef carpaccio and merguez-style lamb tartare (both $17).

The whole roasted truffled chicken ($42) leads a pack of shareable large plates, but those little ones are just too tempting, and more satisfying than what you’ll find with this format at other restaurants. For example, grilled cobia al pastor ($17) isn’t just flavorful, meaty, spicy-sweet fish; there are mashed potatoes on the plate, too. Smoky Spanish octopus is dressed in bright aji panca sauce, and yellowtail collar ($16) gets paired with Singapore-style curry. Among dishes that don’t involve the open fire, smashed potatoes sing with salsa verde and romesco, avocado toast gets topped with sea urchin ($18) and crispy duck confit is mounted on a waffle with duck egg and mustard maple sauce ($23). One of the best plates is a simple vegetable with perfect flavors—harissa beets ($11) with crushed hazelnuts, herbs and za’atar-spiced yogurt.

Sugarcane proves you can provide something for everybody, with style to spare. If it does have to trim down its offerings, it’ll still bring more to the table than most.

Sugarcane Venetian, 702-414-2263. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-1 a.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m.

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Brock is an award-winning writer who has been documenting life in Las Vegas for 20 years. He currently leads entertainment ...

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