Au Pied de Cochon: Big-City Brasserie in Miami Beach

This brassy 24-hour eatery is just what we needed.

Lunch (and dinner) apps range from $9 to $29, entrées $24 to $38, and desserts, including a textbook crème brûlée, run $8 to $12. A three-course prix fixe with a glass of wine and coffee is offered each afternoon for $25 to $29. On the day we lunched, the special was trout, which is a terrific fish — but it doesn't curry wide enough favor among Americans to warrant making it the sole offering.

Pied grows livelier late at night, the crowd chatter filling in the acoustic blanks of lunchtime and early evening. Yet the formality of the vibe makes it seem dead compared to the rowdy and raucous ambiance of the Parisian venue. This place could use a bit more joie de vivre. The cuisine at dinner, though, is awake enough. Executive chef Didier Lailheugue, a protégé of Alain Ducasse's, orchestrates basic, authentic brasserie fare — none better than the restaurant's namesake pig trotters. Preparation begins with 24-hour marinating in saltwater (sel mariné), followed by slow-poaching for many more hours, a zingy mustard bread crumb coating, and a leisurely roast. There was a lot of meat around the bones, and it was drenched in moist flavor — but a little too salty, a recurring problem Pied needs to remedy. Topping the trotters was a small thatch of vinaigrette-dressed greens, and on the side a high pile of those spunky fries.

A trio of lamb chops arrived with the same greens, as well as the plum tomato gratin and a smooth pool of über-buttery polenta. The meat was unusually mellow, with the succulent, slow-roasted taste and texture of a prime rib of beef. Those looking for more gumption to their game might be disappointed, but meat lovers will otherwise rejoice — these chops are exceptional.

Joe Rocco

Location Info

Map

Au Pied de Cochon

81 Washington Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Category: Restaurant > Bistro

Region: South Beach

Details

Au Pied de Cochon: 81 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, 305-674-1844; aupiedmiami.com. Open 24 hours: breakfast 6 to 11:30 a.m., lunch 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., dinner 5 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Starters succeeded as well. A rectangular tart featuring heirloom tomatoes and goat cheese touted neatly layered circles of each alternating upon fresh tomato-pasted puff pastry; a thin drizzle of basil purée snaked across the top. Also arranged in circles was tuna carpaccio, whose nearly transparent, overlapping slices of pale fish were speckled with cracked black pepper, ever-so-lightly sprinkled with curry powder, and barely drizzled with olive oil. Salad greens centered the mandala-like medley, but greasy little croutons were regrettably square pegs that didn't fit the whole.

The wine list offers some 500 French and domestic labels. Bottle prices go from $28 to $900, but the best values rest in the $70 to $140 range. Sommelier Kareem Zarwi can help you with selections, and the rest of the crew attends to needs in a timely fashion. Service, in fact, was pretty solid, if a little too stiff. The same can be said for Au Pied de Cochon in general.

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