Two distinct cuisines have come together for the first time in Miami, with chef and restaurateur Olivia Ostrow's opening of a new restaurant.
"Everything fell into place after following our wants, needs, and — of course — being of Jewish and French descent," Ostrow tells New Times. "We really felt this was missing in Miami."
The "missing" fusion is something altogether new: an establishment that marries certified Glatt Kosher practices (meat that is unblemished and defect-free) with French dishes and technique from partners Ostrow, who recently served as the food and beverage director at Savoy Hotel in South Beach, and Miami resident Eli Dadon.
This week, Ostrow Brasserie welcomed the first customers to its space at 4850 Northwest Second Avenue in the Buena Vista neighborhood. The restaurant officially opened its doors on Wednesday, August 9.
For those unfamiliar, a quick refresher on kosher cooking may be necessary. For starters, don't mix meat and dairy during the meal, and stay away from select proteins like shellfish and pork.
The kosher rules equate to a lighter interpretation of French fare, shares Ostrow, where heavy cream-based sauces are often the norm.
"It was difficult to create a menu that was both appealing and familiar, but not difficult in a way that was negative," says Ostrow. "What was difficult was achieving perfection. For the past five months, we have been sourcing ingredients near and far that adhere to the kosher rules. And if a dish didn't taste like the French iteration, we moved on to other ingredients."
Among the classic French fare donning the Ostrow Brasserie menu is a Lyonnaise salad with a poached egg, beef-inspired bacon, and crisp housemade croutons doused in a tarragon vinaigrette. There are crabcakes with a truffle and beet mousse, orange duck confit with a braised caramelized endive, and a beef bourguignon accompanied by carrots and shallots.
"It's sous vide for three hours with imported herbs from Provence, tomatoes, and grain mustard. For me, it's the most perfect and shareable plate," she gushes. "I would recommend it to anyone."
Ostrow Brasserie is open for dinner only, with plans to unveil lunch and brunch in October. Additional touches yet to come include a crudo sushi bar, a children's menu, and daily happy hour from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Diners are encouraged to keep an eye on the restaurant's Instagram account for the latest updates.
The restaurant's design is equally unique, inspired by Ostrow's French upbringing and flecked with a touch of Miami-inspired tropical flare. Touches include coral countertops, two bars for convivial dining and imbibing, an open kitchen, and select artwork from Ostrow's collection.
Two glass doors at the back of the restaurant lead to a "secret garden" outdoor space that is dog-friendly and will soon offer seating for lunch, brunch, and dinner.
"From the beginning, we never intended to open as a kosher restaurant first," sums up Ostrow. "It is very much a French restaurant first, one that just happens to be kosher."
Ostrow Brasserie. 4850 NW Second Ave., Miami; 786-238-7452; ostrowbrasserie.com. Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m.