Buns & Buns: See The World Through Bread
Burger Joint? Stop. Sandwich Shop? Stop. Spices, sauces and breads? Enter Buns & Buns.
This is not your average cookie-cutter, sticks-to-one-theme, sort of restaurant…
From the door straight to the chef’s bar allows for a dynamic way to interact with the customers as you order and take in all the provocative smells of baked breads and spices. Get your order number; find a table and your food will start rolling out. Checks are left open just in case you’re left wanting more…
Experience firsthand a perfect and cozy world where the act of stuffing and dipping fresh buns (did we mention these babies are being baked every day from 2am to 10am?) into oozing and sauce-defining dishes coexist.
Chef Reuven Sugarman explained the overall concept as, “fine dining cuisine in a fast, casual environment.” They’ve eliminated the whole server, hostess, reservation bit to add on to the informal and laid back feel of the place.
We’re guessing they want us to feel at home yet experience a worldliness of flavors.
Let’s just say it’s starting to work and we’ll be traveling through Brioche, Pretzel, Cheese Naan with the Buns & Buns clan led by Chef Reuven Sugarman (we can’t say his last name without softly singing: sugar man, won’t ya hurry cause I’m tired of these scenes…but that’s another story).
How was the idea born?
(Reuven Sugarman—RS) It started with the idea revolving around bread—sauces, spices, fun and adventure. My business partners and I decided to venture off and travel around the world. We started in London, Istanbul, Hong Kong and Bangkok for three weeks.
We traveled to bring the idea of bread and buns into a fast casual environment. We traveled for that pure inspiration to many different realms of the world to see their fundamentals of bread and how they are incorporated into each style of cuisine.
Why London, Istanbul, Hong Kong and Bangkok?
(RS) They’re very influential in bread.
London is a melting pot of many different cultures, whether it’s Indian, Asian—even the street markets—it’s a city that is so involved with many different flavors.
Istanbul—one of my business partners is Turkish so it was definitely a hot spot for us to explore. We went to the Grand Bazaar, the mountains of all these fresh spices that they have there is just insane. Seeing the flavors and how they incorporate them into their dishes and just taking those steps was pretty much the evolution of our menu.
As far as Hong Kong goes—all their steamed buns, dim sum, their execution of sauces, their dips, their flavor profiles and their simplicity. The street markets, the fresh fish and there is a lot of Michelin star restaurants out there as well—it’s just an amazing place.
Bangkok was awesome. We visited the floating markets with people riding down on boats selling coconuts and palm sugar—we watched how it was being made, how it was extracted, boiled until it became like a rock. They have amazing fresh fruits and vegetables. They had little bites to eat all over the place. You would see families in little huts making pad thai on the side of the street. They would grill all sorts of cuts of meat. They are up all night and day just cooking and having fun.
We’re going to continue on traveling to more countries.
Where else are you going to go?
(RS) We want to go to Brazil. Maybe Amsterdam and Belgium since there is a huge bread influence in those countries.
Talks to us about the menu.
(RS) The menu is not necessarily going in one direction for a theme. We’re not Italian, we’re Buns & Buns. We are our own thing.
We bring bread back into the mix, solely a la carte. We give recommendations on what bread we would pair each dish with. But ultimately, we leave it up to the guest and we encourage them to eat it however they choose.
Anything you order from the salads or the grills you get your complimentary choice of a bun, bread or Bunless Bun (butter lettuce wrap). You can incorporate your choice of bun into your dish however you choose. That’s what we want our guests to experience. You can roll it, wrap it, dip it, stuff it, eat the bun first, eat it last, eat it whenever you want and however you want.
We have plenty of craft beer. We support local craft beers like Wynwood Brewery and Funky Buddha. We have some nice cider from Sweden as well. We have our own proprietary coffee blend that is also purely designed based on our inspiration. You know, we spoke to the coffee guy we gave him our story and then BOOM. He gave us a two bean combination, an Indonesian bean and a Yemen bean as well. So it’s a nice combination, you have notes of floral and spices, it’s not bitter and it has a nice acidity balance.
If it was someone’s first time at Buns & Buns what must they try? Give us some good examples of bread and bun pairings?
(RS) Definitely for appetizers I would start with the Cheesy Bites ($5), our take on pan de queso but fried or the Spinach Poofs ($5). If you like the lighter fare and you’re more of a vegetarian the Quinoa Fritters ($5) are very nice too.
For salad, our Roasted Heirloom Tomato ($10) has a different take on your traditional heirloom tomato salad with mozzarella cheese. We use burrata, local tomatoes from Teena’s Farm, we roast the tomatoes in the wood stone oven over fire so that they get a nice char. We use a Pedro Ximenez vinegar that’s aged in Tuthilltown Bourbon barrels to compress our watermelon and to drizzle over top with Portuguese olive oil and sea salt. That comes with some fresh croutons and I would do the Herb Bun or even the Brioche. We also have a regular Naan that would be amazing too.
The Lamb Ribs ($10) are amazing with the pickled cabbage and the tamarind glaze—put that in a Steamed Bun and just call it a day.
The Crispy Snapper ($10) with the Cheese Naan is awesome. Put that remoulade in there with the fontina and the aged cheddar cheese, crunch the sweet potato chips with that fish in there and…go to town.
The Chicken Thigh ($10) which is marinated in a dark beer and that black bean sauce with hints of fresh ground cumin and oregano we’d pair with the Ciabatta. It comes with a nice salad of shaved leeks, scallions and chives with some fresh squeezed lemon.
What about desserts?
(RS) Definitely the Hot Chocolate Buns ($8) are a hit. We stuff them with two different types of chocolate (caramelia and dark chocolate). It’s pretty much Brioche, we stuff it, we roll it—deep fry it and serve it with three different sauces: raspberry pomegranate, dark chocolate and a vanilla cream.
The Lost Bun ($8) is also delicious. It’s our bread pudding it comes with a nice streusel and a drunken pecan sauce with rum. We also caramelize the pecans with an orange crème on top. It’s a big muffin of bread that’s great for sharing.
What are the most popular dishes?
(RS) The Short-Rib ($15) with the Brioche or the Herb Bun and the Cheesy Bites ($5) are killing it and the Pork Belly ($15) with the Steamed Bun or the Toasted Bun.
How do you feel about what’s going on in Miami, food wise?
(RS) It’s good, I think it’s still growing. It has potential to get better and better. We wanted to do it here in Sunset, because we feel that Sunset Place and South Miami is very flat and it needed some uplifting, something exciting. We wanted to put Sunset on the map—make it a destination spot. You know Midtown grew, Wynwood grew—we want to be the ones that grow South Miami.
Where do you eat out in Miami?
(RS) I like Hakkasan, Scarpetta, Macchialina—Mike Pirolo is the man. Hy Vong and Yakko-San.
(RS) Expand this empire and make an impression on the culinary world with the idea that good food can be done in a fast paced environment and you can still pay attention to all the fine details without all the white tablecloths.