Brunch is one of our favorite meals for two reasons: 1) It’s a sign of the weekend and 2) It’s delicious. At Le Zoo, the Stephen Starr restaurant inside Bal Harbour Shops, that second reason is especially true. The French brasserie injects the mid-day meal with Parisian flair and European flavors that will have you wishing the weekend didn’t have to end.
Whether you’re a little bit hungry or you’re starving, Le Zoo’s varied menu has something tasty to quell that appetite of yours — and then some. Starters like the Tuna Carpaccio are on the lighter side of things and ideal for sharing. The plate may look simple, but once you try it, you’ll see it’s much more than meets the eye. The Mushroom Tart — another highlight of our meal — features a flaky, butter crust that meshes wonderfully with the fungi’s earthiness. With some cheese thrown in on top to tantalize your taste buds, this dish was a real winner.
If you haven’t ordered a cocktail by this point, shame on you — Le Zoo’s drink selections get an A+. Bourbon fans, take note: The Clouseau (Jim Beam Bourbon, Fig, Lime, Plum Bitters) is your new favorite summer drink. Whiskey isn’t exactly ideal when you’re dining outside on a hot Miami day, but the Clouseau is actually super refreshing; it’s a cocktail we could see ourselves sipping on the beach. Speaking of refreshing, the Pamplemousse Pressé (Combier Pamplemousse, Lemon, Regan’s Orange Bitters, Vin Mousseux) is another notable thirst quencher if whiskey isn’t your thing.
With the cocktail situation figured out, go ahead and place an order for the Warm Shrimp Salade and/or Trout Amandine. Either dish will have you eating with your eyes and mouth. The beautifully dressed salad comes with plump shrimp and a buttery sauce so good that you’ll book a trip to France. The trout is no less appetizing — the first word out of your mouth will be “Whoa.” Not only is the dish humongous, but it’s just as big on flavor. The citrus, the almonds, the haricot vert … it’s all great. Get a side of Pomme Frites (crispy, crunchy perfection), and you’re set.
The entrees alone are enough to fill you up, but there’s at least one more item you need to squeeze in: the Milk Chocolate Pot au Creme. Rich chocolate, tasty whipped cream and delectable chocolate nibs makes for a sweet ending. Can’t take another bite? Get a Vietnamese Coffee instead — one of the best we’ve found in South Florida.
Le Zoo at Bal Harbour Shops has become one of our new go-to spots for brunch. It’s a mini-France, and it exudes a charm that encompasses everything from the food and drinks to the staff and decor. The next time you and your friends are deciding on a brunch spot, make sure this one is at the top of your list.
Le Zoo is located at 9700 Collins Ave at the Bal Harbour Shops on Miami Beach. For hours of operation and other information, visit their official website or call 305-602-9663.