Cane À Sucre
899 NE 125th St
North Miami, FL 33161
I asked my good friend and fellow foodie, Ramona Jean Parker, a staunch resident of Biscayne Park, if there were any eateries in her area that had great food with affordable prices, being that on this particular day we had plans in the area and wanted to include lunch. Without hesitation, Ramona suggested Cane À Sucre.
Cane À Sucre, which means “sugar cane” in French, is a gourmet sandwich shop within walking distance from MOCA in North Miami. The restaurant is actually a Cuban-French hybrid relocated from the Design District, where the Vega brothers (Michael and Sinuhe) were once the darlings of the area. And any man (or men) who can make such delectable sandwiches as they offer at this charming bistro – is definitely a darling of mine!
Cane À Sucre is known for its gourmet sandwiches, which can best be described as an eclectic fusion of palates. For instance there’s “Le Pollo” – a chicken breast topped with caramelized onions, smoked Gouda cheese and roasted tomato aioli served on a baguette. If you’re pretending to be watching your weight, a half sandwich goes for $4.50 and whole sandwich goes for $7.95. If you opt for the half, since you were so good, you can rationalize having the “Guava and Cream Cheese Bread Pudding” for dessert or the Mango Cheesecake with White Chocolate Emulsion”, both $4.00.
The best-seller here is the “El Cubano” sandwich, made with slow-roasted pork, pepper-jack cheese, caramelized onions, and cornichons (a fancy French word for tiny pickles), $8.00.
Now the great part is – or one of the great parts – even if it’s 3,000 degrees outside, like South Florida weather is so wont to be – fear not my heat sensitive friends, for Cane À Sucre has misters in its outdoor dining area, allowing you to enjoy your meal in a reasonable state of cool comfort. Of course, if you have hair that’s not keratinized and sensitive to humidity – you might want to stay inside or risk looking like Rosanne Rosannadanna.
The Caesar salad ($9.00) was a delightful experience. Julius would be proud. The dressing tasted like glory days of Caesar salad when they came to your table and made it fresh while you watched. Remember that? Before that crazy raw egg fiasco took ahold of our senses and made us terrified of raw eggs - forcing us to become Children of a Lesser Dressing. The day I went – and sat outside (hair in a ponytail) I ordered not a gourmet sandwich, but the “Le Cheese” platter and Ramona ordered the “Caesar Salad”. Let me first start by saying – I am a brie cheese aficionado and the cheese on this platter more than met my picky standards. Creamy, just flavorful enough (brie can taste ammonia-ish if too well ripened) with a solid, but palatable outer casing, and cut in long thin slices – the brie was then drizzled with balsamic vinegar and topped with sliced balsamic soaked strawberries. It was all I could do to make it last five minutes. The dish came with a small side of greens topped with candied walnuts and an exquisitely sliced French baguette positioned strategically around the platter. (They do the French bread correctly here; crunchy on the outside, light, with just the right amount of “chew” in the crust.) The folks here know what they’re doing.
Indeed, they do make their own dressing here (though not at the table) and are smart enough not to drench the Romaine with it – like a lot of places that simply don’t pay attention. The croutons were crispy and brown, and there was just enough fresh grated cheese on top to complete the ensemble. If I had to use one word to describe how all the food is prepared, it would be “finesse”. The food is prepared with great finesse and attention to detail. The food looks like it’s going out on an important date – and the date is with the customer.
But look, if you just want a plain old fashioned burger and want to skip all the fancy shmancy stuff - that’s available too. And boy, they don’t skimp. For $7.95 you can sink your canines into “Le American” – a beef burger with crispy bacon, tomatoes, caramelized onions, and lettuce, served on a brioche bun. Or the “El Italiano” a beef burger with basil, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, crispy prosciutto and pesto aioli, served on a ciabatta bun. ($9.00)
Everything here is served with a smile, but there’s no table service – you order at the counter and if you opt to sit outside, someone will deliver your food. (Just don’t first sit outside, waiting to get waited on, and when no one comes, cursing me for recommending the place.) Catering for private events is also available.
So if you’re in the mood for Cuban – no French! No – American! food – then this is the place to go. Bon appetite – amigo!
Anna Collins is an author, photographer and Realtor.