Stephen Starr's Le Zoo Fuses American and French Cuisine for Brunch
Stephen Starr, the Philadelphia-based restaurateur, opened his French brasserie Le Zoo in November. Three months later, he was ready to launch brunch. The weekend soiree takes the eatery's best regular menu items, adds a few American-style plates, and weaves in some unexpected offerings along the way to create a tasty meal.
Sitting inside the restaurant, you'd never know it's situated in the Bal Harbour Shops. The 200-seat space transports diners to the streets of Paris and the shores of Saint-Tropez with its Mediterranean- and French-style dishes and quaint alfresco dining. Shawn Hausman, Starr's interior designer, traveled through France to select pieces from flea markets and antique stores to make Starr's vision for the French bistro a reality.
The menu features à la carte items made in house with locally sourced ingredients. The menu is divided into various sections: seafood, hors d'oeuvres, sandwiches, entrées, eggs, and cheeses.
What sets Le Zoo's brunch menu apart from others in Miami is it allows you to create your own experience. Elect for a more European-style meal with a selection of cheeses,
For seafood lovers, begin with the "Fruits de Mer" category. Plates range from $12 to $25 but can surge upward of $300 for tables interested in large seafood platters. There are assorted oysters, Alaskan king crab, clams, lobster, and shrimp cocktails.
Those who forgo the raw bar should move directly to hors d'oeuvres ($10 to $25). Though freshly baked bread is served tableside and there's no limit on how many baskets can be requested thereafter, order a pastry basket to share. It features warm treats such as croissants and chocolate-infused breads.
For something salty, the eatery recommends pairing the
Egg-centric dishes range from traditional Benedicts to poached eggs and gourmet omelets ($14 to $18). Of the six offerings, go for the Gruyère omelet or the poached eggs
For something more traditional and slightly lighter, opt for the Gruyère omelet, which takes up about half the plate. Though it appears large, it's made to be light and airy. Gruyère cheese is mixed inside, and finely chopped herbs are sprinkled throughout. One too many fries are served alongside, but who's counting?
Those interested in a breakfast/lunch-style meal should consider the chicken paillard ($16), steak-
Le Zoo's American burger shows no mercy in terms of diet or health. Two thin, fast-food-style
For dessert, choose from vanilla bean creme brûlée ($10), profiteroles ($11), or milk chocolate pot de crème ($11). There's no way to go wrong.
The menu offers a variety of other items, including French toast, beef stroganoff, and quiche. The eatery's wine and cocktail list, along with boozy brunch drinks like mimosas and bellinis, are available as well.
Le Zoo is open for brunch Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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