Stephen Starr Resto to Open in Bal Harbour Shops

Stephen Starr, the Philadelphia-based restaurateur, plans to open a new French brasserie in Bal Harbour this fall.

Le Zoo will be Starr's fifth restaurant in the Magic City and second in the luxury mall. It is steps away from his upscale, Japanese eatery Makoto. It will take over the former space of La Goulue, which was also a French resto.

Rumors of Starr taking over the Bal Harbour spot have buzzed for more than a year and a half. It all started when news of the bistro's lease dispute surfaced. It's said that Starr wants to be a major player in Miami's culinary scene and double his restaurant presence.

The 200-seat eatery wants to transport diners to the streets of Paris and the shores of San Tropez with Mediterranean-style dishes and quaint, al fresco dining. For Starr, creating French fare in a magnifique setting isn't new. He developed two restaurants, Parc in Philadelphia and Le Diplomate in Washington, D.C., where his French brasserie concept has had great success.

Shawn Hausman, Starr's interior designer, traveled through France to pick out pieces from flea markets and antique stores to make Starr's vision for Parc a reality. Starr and Hausman joined forces again to create Le Zoo.

At the eatery, you can expect classic bistro fare including steak frites and trout amandine, and a charcuterie and cheese spread along with a basket of fresh, crusty baguettes are likely possibilities. Extensive wine, champagne, and cocktail lists can be expected too, giving Le Zoo a boozy twist.

Le Zoo plans to serve lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, making it easy for us locals to turn into true Francophiles. An opening is expected sometime in November or December. VoilĂ !

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