Stephen Starr's Le Zoo Fuses American and French Cuisine for Brunch

Miami meet Paris at Le Zoo's brunch.EXPAND
Miami meet Paris at Le Zoo's brunch.
Photo by Clarissa Buch

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, breads, and seafood; go a traditional route with American-style eggs and bacon; or fall in the middle with plates that mix both and add a French twist.

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. 

Stephen Starr's Le Zoo Fuses American and French Cuisine for Brunch (4)EXPAND
Photo by Clarissa Buch

For something salty, the eatery recommends pairing the salade niçoise and the tuna carpaccio. The salad, containing confit tuna, Red Bliss potatoes, green beans, and anchovies, adds a crunch while eating the carpaccio, which is drizzled with leek vinaigrette. Be sure to have a fully stocked basket of bread to eat with the carpaccio and to dip into the salad's vinaigrette.

Stephen Starr's Le Zoo Fuses American and French Cuisine for Brunch (5)EXPAND
Photo by Clarissa Buch

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 basquaise. Those looking for a French bistro experience should try the poached eggs. They're served in an oblong bowl, and creamy polenta is used as a base. Piperade and prosciutto are placed in the middle, and two poached eggs are set on both sides. The dish is on the heavy side and can easily be shared by two people. Fries or the table's complimentary bread make a good side.

Stephen Starr's Le Zoo Fuses American and French Cuisine for Brunch (6)EXPAND
Photo by Clarissa Buch

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?

Stephen Starr's Le Zoo Fuses American and French Cuisine for Brunch (3)EXPAND
Photo by Clarissa Buch

Those interested in a breakfast/lunch-style meal should consider the chicken paillard ($16), steak-frites ($29), or American burger ($17). The paillard is served alongside a vegetable salad. The chicken is highly seasoned and cut thin, making it one of the menu's lighter options.

Miami meet Paris at Le Zoo's brunch.EXPAND
Miami meet Paris at Le Zoo's brunch.
Photo by Clarissa Buch

Le Zoo's American burger shows no mercy in terms of diet or health. Two thin, fast-food-style patties are each topped with melted cheese, stacked on a toasted bun, and accompanied by a pile of fries. The dish is one of the eatery's bestsellers and will satisfy even burger connoisseurs. Other sandwiches include a smoked salmon tartine ($16), a classic croque-madame ($15), and a kosher hot dog served with pepper relish and fries ($13).

Stephen Starr's Le Zoo Fuses American and French Cuisine for Brunch (2)EXPAND
Photo by Clarissa Buch

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. 

Follow Clarissa Buch on Twitter.

Use Current Location

Related Location

miles
Bal Harbour Shops

9700 Collins Ave.
Bal Harbour, FL 33154

305-866-0311

www.balharbourshops.com


Sponsor Content

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >