Hidden in the corner of Avant Gallery at the Epic Hotel sits LaMuse Cafe, a tiny European-inspired bistro replete with croissants, tartines, and millions of dollars worth of contemporary art.
A partnership between gallery owner Dmitry Prut and strategist Dirk DeSouza, the restaurant creates a space for people to engage with art in a more intimate way, counteracting other mainstream galleries' stiff atmospheres. According to DeSouza, many customers leave the establishment with a piece of art, though selling work is not the primary goal of the concept.
It also serves as an upscale yet affordable lunch spot for many in the area, with most menu items priced between $10 to $20. Many of the cafe's plates are inspired by influential female muses, like Kate Moss and Bridgette Bardot.
The 22-seat space, decorated with big-ticket art pieces, is a place for breakfast, lunch, and a coffee and pastry in the afternoon. Many of the café's dishes use brightly colored ingredients like avocado, strawberries, and greens and are designed on black, canvas-like plates to be works of edible art.
Beginning at 7:30 a.m., LaMuse prepares a lineup of tartines including avocado, roasted tomato, and poached egg ($13); pear and goat cheese ($11); butternut squash and ricotta ($13); and smoked salmon ($13). House-made pastries include tarts such as apple, lemon meringue, and fresh berries; almond croissants; and egg puff pastries.
During lunchtime, the café's most popular item is a "CroSub," a stuffed croissant sandwich served with vegetable chips ($11 to $15). There are four varieties, including egg salad, tomato, and avocado; tuna, dill, and lemon; roast beef, provolone, and roasted peppers; and pork, ham, and Swiss.
Other menu items include deviled eggs, prosciutto-wrapped melon, burrata and tomatoes, and a selection of salads and quiches.
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LaMuse is stocked with organic java from Brooklyn Roasting Coffee and features a Tea Forté tea program. When served, each hot drink is poured into a ceramic, emoji-designed mug.
For now, seating is limiting to inside the gallery. But LaMuse's outdoor terrace, which faces Biscayne Boulevard, is expected to open by the end of the summer.
LaMuse Cafe. 270 Biscayne Blvd. Way, Miami; 305-400-0036; lamusecafe.com. Daily from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.