After our Taco Tuesday haunt Mercadito shut down last year and took its Mexican bites with it, we wondered what would take over the huge Midtown Miami space. It wasn’t too long before we saw new window coverings with the name “Brasserie Azur” across them.
A few months ago, that paper finally came down and the French Brasserie opened its doors. Having visited sister property Villa Azur and enjoyed ourselves, we expected a similarly enjoyable experience. Our expectations were blown out of the water.
The menu at Brasserie Azur is full of traditional French and Mediterranean dishes – if you’re looking for avant-garde cuisine, you’re barking up the wrong tree. Don’t let that deter you, though: These classics are done really, really, really well (emphasis on really).
One of the first things you’ll notice is the size of the menu, which is huge – all the more reason for return trips. On this initial visit, we opted to start our French adventure with the Shrimp Croustillant – crispy crevettes served with BBQ sauce.
The portion size does not disappoint. On first glance, you might think that the crispy tempura batter is compensating for the shrimps’ size. But that’s not the case: These are some large shrimps (and tasty, too)! As for the BBQ sauce, it’s anything but traditional. There’s a hint of sweetness to it (blackberry? honey?) that piqued our attention and really sold us on the plate.
We couldn’t leave a French restaurant without ordering mussels, so we went ahead and scarfed down the Moules Marinieres (shallots, white wine, garlic and parsley). These things were freshhhhh; not one closed mussel in the bunch. Brasserie touts their prowess at doing French classics right, and this is a prime example – easily some of the best mussels we’ve had in Miami.
We’re dedicating this paragraph to the dish’s accompaniment: pomme frites. We’re suckers for anything and everything potatoes, and these frites were gone in seconds. Tip: dunk them in the butter of the mussels, and your eyes will roll into the back of your head.
Our last savory dish of the night – Escalope Milanese – was breaded veal with spaghetti and tomato sauce. Again, it may not seem super exciting on paper, but it’s super exciting on your palate. Tender meat, fresh tomato sauce and quality pasta – a triple threat.
Dessert at Villa Azur is an experience, and thankfully the same can be said for Brasserie Azur. The pastries are top-of-the-line in our book. Since we couldn’t have just one, we ordered both the Napoleon and crispy choux pastry with hazelnut praline.
Let’s start with the Napoleon, which can be described in one word: exquisite. It’s an airy dish that explodes with raspberry flavors. We seriously felt healthy eating it even though it’s probably not (okay, it’s definitely not). For something on the lighter side of the spectrum, this is a solid choice.
The choux pastry, on the other hand, is a bit more decadent. The richness of the hazelnut praline might deter some palates, but if you’re a hazelnut and/or praline fan, you’re in for a treat.
Brasserie Azur is doing something right. Actually, it’s doing many things right. The portions are sizeable, the prices are reasonable and the quality is top notch. Don’t miss out on this winning combination.