North Miami is home to a major Haitian enclave and this cash-only spot is one of the few restaurants in the area that specializes in some of Haiti’s more luxurious dishes. Sundays are the best day to stop by, especially in the morning when they serve an excellent version of soup joumou—a hearty pumpkin stew containing beef, trotters, pasta, and root vegetables that’s a New Year’s Day tradition, but available at many Haitian restaurants on weekends. It also comes with a slice of fresh Haitian bread and a ripe banana to round things out. But if you arrive a little later, you can enjoy a truly special Haitian dish of stewed chicken in a cashew-studded tomato sauce (poulet en sauce noix) with a side of djon djon rice. This rice dish features Haitian black mushrooms, a fungus native to Haiti that tastes similar to porcini mushrooms and dyes the rice a deep black color. Lima beans and cashews are also added to the dish for some texture. And no matter when you come, definitely order the “atomic juice”—a lightly sweetened blend of beet, carrot, orange, and other juices that’s L’Auberge’s own unique creation and a refreshing start to any meal here.
This is a Sunday morning special you can find at many Haitian restaurants in Miami, but we love L’Auberge’s version the best. The preparation here includes silky Caribbean pumpkin (joumou) that melts into a velvety broth with chunks of potatoes, turnips, carrots, and other tropical starchy veggies along with pasta and beef. If you’re lucky, you may get a piece of beef trotter in your bowl, too. Definitely arrive before noon as this soup sells out fast.
Poul nan Sòs Nwa
If you happen to miss out on the soup joumou, this is another Sunday special that’s available later in the afternoons. The name translates to chicken in cashew sauce, which is pretty much what this is. Bone-in chicken pieces are marinated in sour orange juice and spices before getting braised in a tomato-accented sauce with just a hint of scotch bonnet pepper. What makes this dish special, though, is the mountain of unroasted cashews that gets braised along with the chicken. You’ll get about a fistful on your plate, and they just melt as soon as you bite into them, giving this stew little bursts of creamy sweetness.
Diri Djon Djon
This is yet another Sunday special (Sundays are the day to come here, in case you couldn’t tell) and it’s actually the perfect side dish to the poul nan sòs nwa. This is made with an ingredient unique to Haitian cuisine: djon djon. These little wild mushrooms only grow in the Caribbean, where they’re hand-foraged and shipped to Miami. They are soaked in hot water, producing a jet-black liquid. At L’Auberge, this liquid is added to Basmati rice along with cashews, lima beans, and cloves to make a grey-colored rice that tastes like porcini mushrooms.