Diaspora is defined as the dispersion of any people from their original homeland. So when you hear the phrase “African Diaspora,” it is simply referencing all Black people throughout the world outside of Africa; including Black Haitians, African-Americans, Jamaicans, Bahamians, Brazilians, Colombians, Venezuelans, and any Black person outside of Africa regardless of ethnicity. So if you’re Black and you live outside of Africa, you are a part of the African Diaspora.
Each ethnicity of the African Diaspora enjoys distinct cultures, foods, and values that provide varying glimpses into their motherland of Africa. Whether it’s dance, music, language and to my joy, food, these groups have created amazing cultures that have positively affected the entire globe.
Soulfully Good Restaurant and Lounge authentically fuses two aspects of the Diaspora with their twist on Soul Food and Caribbean Cuisine. Located at 6320 Miramar Parkway, Miramar, FL 33023 inside a cozy shopping plaza, this restaurant also serves as a lounge where beer and wine are served at grown and sexy poetry readings, R&B concerts, and spoken word events. I ventured to this eclectic eatery with high hopes and thankfully, was not disappointed.
Up first was the delicious tropical Kool-Aid ($2.95). Each one of these babies is absolutely delicious. Although you can’t go wrong with any of the flavors, my favorite was Strawberry Lemonade.
Bringing on the food, we started off by sampling a couple of appetizers including: Conch Soup ($6.50), Conch Balls ($7.99), Soulfully Loaded Fries ($7.99), and Wings w/fries ($6.00). The Conch Soup was simply delicious! It came loaded with a healthy assortment of mixed vegetables inside an amazing flavorful broth. The texture of the soup was hearty with lumps of conch meat throughout, which had me literally licking the bottom of the bowl. Whether you’ve never had conch or you’re a conch lover, this MUST HAVE soup is a great way to either introduce the flavor or rekindle your love for it.
Feeling like a conch fiend, I reached over for a conch ball and was pleasantly surprised that it is NOT A CONCH FRITTER that is heavy on dough and light on conch! This little devil is exactly what is stated – a ball of conch flavored well with hints of garlic and pepper, herbs and veggies pan fried with very little flour or fillers that create a beautiful aroma, taste, and texture.
Next, the Soulfully Loaded Fries! I’m going to tell you right now, you have to order the fries tossed in the Thai Sauce! Sriracha goodness is throughout these perfectly fried potato strips! Cameraman Joe wouldn’t stop eating them, so I had to almost fight him to save a couple to sample. (Sometimes, he thinks he’s the food reviewer and I’m the cameraman, but no worries, I prayed, so it’s going to be alright!) The fries had a nice garlicky sweetness with a slight heat from the red chili flakes. You can order the fries to be tossed in over 10 different flavors, but this is the best by far and a MUST HAVE.
Our last appetizer was absolutely delicious! The Chicken Wings and fries make Buffalo Wild Wings look like amateurs. You can choose from 16 different sauces to toss an order of wings, but my absolute favorites are the Honey Barbecue, Thai, Lemon Pepper, Honey Garlic and their House Flavor! Listen here, this spot has a lot of great items, but the Chicken Wings really do stand out tossed in these delectable sauces. All sauces are created in-house using existing condiments spiked with herbs, spices, and other natural flavors to enhance the taste. I honestly can’t tell you which of the flavors I liked the best. They were equally good and I would say they are all MUST HAVES!
Following the appetizers I ordered a small Pork Souse ($6.00). Now, for those of you who do not know what that is, here you go. Originally from Europe, particularly in England, an early version of souse existed called Head Cheese or Brawn that was pickled with vinegar. In the English speaking colonies, African slaves innovated the dish through fully cooking a given meat, usually pork or chicken after marinating each protein for hours in a solution made of fresh lime or lemon juice, vinegar, salt, parsley, minced hot pepper and cucumbers.
African-American souse and Caribbean souse very from region to region, so I was intrigued to see this restaurant’s take on it, given the amazing fusing of cultures at Soulfully Good. As the dish arrived to the table, you immediately smelled thyme, garlic, and various seasonings! The souse was quite different from the African-American style but still, quite tasty. Even though the taste was pretty good by itself, I would recommend you order a side of rice and pour this vinegary broth over the rice for a delectable surprise. You won’t go wrong with this pairing.
Next, I was ready for some meat! I ordered the Griot ($9.99) with a side of rice and peas, and fried plantains. What is Griot, you’re wondering? The simplest answer is, Griot is straight up deliciousness when made right! I know November is World Vegan Month, but Swine is Divine and I needed my fix. Griot is fried pork chunks seasoned with garlic, thyme, cloves and other island spices usually served with a spicy vegetable topping called PIKLIZ, which is flavored with onions, and carrots.
Prior to arriving here, I had been on a search for the best Griot in Miami – reaching out to friends via Facebook along with just driving around Haitian communities asking for the best Griot spots in South Florida. For now, my search has ended because Soulfully Good’s Griot is off the freaking chain. Each chunk of pork is fried to perfection with extremely tender meat waiting for you to enjoy and savor. If you’re not a pork eater (I feel sorry for you), then you can order this same dish with turkey instead of pork for ($9.99). The turkey was just as good, but I love swine so I would have to order both as to not hurt the other protein’s feelings. You have to be cognizant of your food’s feelings!
Wanting something a little healthier, I went for the King Fish Dinner ($12.99) with a side of okra and the most amazing rice I’ve had in a while called “Djon Djon” rice. Djon Djon (pronounced June June) is Haitian Creole for rice with mushrooms, a native dish of Haiti. It is essentially a meal consisting of rice and edible black mushrooms. The rice dish is more common in the northern region of Haiti and considered a regional delicacy; however, in the United States, Haitians seem to have been hiding this rice from outsiders! I am so offended nobody told me how good this damn rice is. I mean, if you’ve never had this rice, you are missing out on life. This rice was the S$%@! It even looks cool and is a MUST HAVE! I will have to be in prayer to forgive the Haitian people from keeping this rice from me. Oh wait, I’m sorry, there were other items and I went on a tangent about that rice. Well, that should tell you how good this rice was.
The King Fish was nice and tasty, with strong flavors of island spices, onions, and bell peppers, with much of this same flavor flowing over the okra and tomatoes, which I enjoyed. The okra and tomatoes are not made in the traditional Africa-American style, but rather with an interesting Caribbean twist; so if you order the okra and tomatoes, expect a totally different, very enjoyable taste. One last thing, the Griot Fat is to die for. That was the best pork fat I’ve had in a long time. I love pork fat, and eating the seasoned fat from the Griot at this spot made my freaking day!
Next up I ordered the oxtail dinner ($11.99) with rice, candied yams, and fried plantains. These oxtails were tasty and unique. To be honest, I’ve never had oxtails like these. They were very tender and had a center cut steak quality to them and not all that fat surrounding each piece, as I experienced at other eateries serving oxtails. The texture was extremely tender with a nice balance of spice and mild seasoning. This is one of those dishes where the more you eat, the better it gets. I would definitely order it again.
The candied yams were honestly the best I’ve ever had in Florida. With each bite you could taste the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt just winding together and producing an inescapable reminder of Black Thanksgiving while producing day dreams of being married to Serena Williams dressed eloquently with a 1950’s style apron bringing the last pan of candied yams to the table before she prays for our family to eat. Yeah, that is what these mind altering yams do for you. They give you hope. They give you daydreams of your most inner desires! Lol.
Soulfully Good Restaurant met my expectations for a unique experience and the fusion of African-American Cuisine with the exoticness of Caribbean flare! The ambiance, service, and quality of food receives an 8 1/2 out of 10 and of course The Hungry Black Man’s Approval. You may reach them at (954) 894-7694.