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Au Pied de Cochon

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ate there with two others at a preview last night. was the second night of such trials.

mixed reviews all around

for those who care about decor--the lighting was way too bright and according to one of my dining companions, the lack of windows made him feel closed in and claustrophobic. Overall, it looked like the restaurant in Paris at Epcot, but not as nice. Smaller than it looks from the outside too.

The bar could have been fabulous but instead it faces a wall and it backs up to a very brightly lit seafood case.

Speaking of seafood, when we walked in it reeked of fish. Not in a good way.

A delicious, warm, chewy, crusty baguette was given to each of us--just one--in a wax bag. Nice touch. I wanted more but didn't want to get full.

For starters I had the $10.50 French onion soup though it went against my better judgemetn. $10.50 for a crock of soup is indeed a crock! The cheese was delicious. The soup was too sweet and not oniony or tangy enough and I could have done without it.

The others had escargot---pretty good, served in shell with a savory garlic sauce, and a goat cheese and tomato tart which was dry but tasty.

I had the highly recommended 10 oz beef filet which was served with dry, wilted lettuce, a few thick cut potatos cum fries and though I chose the peppercorn sauce over the bernaise, they served the bernaise saying they didn't yet have the peppercorn. The meat was tender but nothing special. All for a whopping $45

My dining companions had veal---one had veal cheek and the other had veal shank--both were tasty--the cheek came in a small pot that was served tableside--like my grandma's beef stew. very tender and tasty served with boiled potatoes and carrots. Peasant food for, I forget the exact amount, but close to $40.

Dessert was mediocre--a massive creme brulee which was a little, how can I say, mushy, not creamy. A "warm chocolate bar with caramel ice cream" which was not as it was described. Ice cream had little flavor, cake was crunchy and cakey. And for the best dessert, we returned to the dinner menu and ordered the cheese plate, which was surprisingly not offered on the dessert menu. Cheeses were fabulous, from a creamy goat to an outstanding, nutty Reblochon.

Also on the menu, all sorts of oysters and fish towers which we've seen everywhere. Lots of seafood and meat and duck dishes.

Being that this is a 24 hour restaurant (not for long, mark my words), we asked if this dinner menu was the one they will serve at, say 3 a.m. and the waiter (excellent and from Marseilles) said yes. Hmm. who is going to eat veal cheek at 3 am?

The breakfast menu looked the best, with typical French fare--croissants, quiches and egg dishes.

Lunch menu was not unlike dinner except for a few sandwiches---croques monsieur and madame and some baguette stuff. Decent prices.

I think the place will fare the best for breakfast.

Wasn't sexy enough to want to return at night , even to the bar, but who knows .

Outside wasn't open, per se, yet, but those few tables may be choicest if it's not too hot.

Overall impression--we were all kind of disappointed and expected it to be more like, say, Pastis in New York, but we shall see what happens as the summer creeps up on them and the economy continues to falter.

I wish them the best of luck, though in this tough market!

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  1. What is a "fish tower"?

    2 Replies
    1. re: bkhuna

      seafood towers--plates of seafood stacked on top of each other--oysters, shrimp, crab, etc.

      1. re: HabaneroJane

        re the bread: was served in a wax paper bag, that is!

        as for the wine list---I perused it quickly but there were vintages from all over, even california....average prices from a quick glimpse.

    2. Au Pied de Cochon could easily be a little piece of Paris in Miami Beach. The food was fantastic, the service was above par: the wait staff was knowledgeable, made wonderful recommendations and was there by my side anytime I needed anything... and from what I understand this was only the training dinner!!! I've been to the one in Paris and hate to say that I liked this one better from the moment I walked in.

      It was a little bright when we first got there (7:15) but then at around 8 the lights dimmed down and the ambience was perfect. I wasnt hungry when I first got there but the smells of butter, garlic, wine and fresh baked bread changed that instanteously. The acoustics in the room were great too because it allowed the conversation to bounce off the walls and really add to the convivial feeling of the place. There was also a really great flow through the layout of the space where everything comes full circle - which was really neat and pleasing to the eye. The bar is huge and gorgeous and is the focal point of the restaurant along with their stunning raw bar.

      The food was actually way better than I expected - my personal favorite was the osso bucco, the kobe beef carpaccio was out of this world and I loved the sweet French onion soup because it was balanced perfectly with the perfectly melted, salty cheese on top - just like those found in Paris. My friend ordered the scallops and they were cooked perfectly over risotto (which was very rich for me but the spices were spot on - if you are in the mood for a lighter beurre blanc-style dish, i would recommend it)

      For dessert, we ordered the profiteroles and without even asking, the waiter brought out a Chocolate Melting bar for us to try (it was his favorite), and I would go back just for that dessert. It was like a light, creamy kit kat bar, which worked well with the ice cream... a little nutty, a little sweet, a little creamy with the perfect amount of crunch for texture - heaven. And someone else at our table ordered the Timbale - ridiculously amazing! A table next to us ordered crepes and that was a show of its own. The waiter prepared them on the spot with a little bit of sugar, orange juice and Grand Marnier. It smelled delicious – definitely ordering that on my next visit.

      At the end of our dinner it started to get a little packed which slowed down the kitchen a bit, but you were so distracted by all of the people having a good time that the people watching was enough to make the time pass - that plus our drinks were never empty nor were our bread plates.

      The raw bar was a total bonus because they had the biggest prawns I think I had ever had on the beach, and definitely the freshest. Overall - the experience I had makes me want to go back and try everything else on the menus.

      PS Funny moment last night too: I obviously couldn’t finish my whole meal (very generous portions), so I took the rest of my food to go. On our way to my car, a woman literally stopped me in the middle of the street and shouted “Au Pied De Cochon! Where is it?” She had a heavy accent…I believe French. I pointed towards the restaurant; she thanked me and went on her way. I’m sure she was happy to have discovered a piece of Paris in South Beach as well!

      7 Replies
      1. re: mccartneykel

        service was indeed stellar. next to the cheese, it was the best thing about the entire place. kudos to them for getting that right in this town!

        1. re: mccartneykel

          That's awesome! Since this looks like your first post here do you have any insight into other restaurants in South Beach?

          1. re: lax2mia

            I do....Maison D'Azur is "closed for the summer for renovations"

            Just like The Forge.

            wink.

            1. re: HabaneroJane

              Meant for the post you'd replied to. Had shil written all over it.

              1. re: lax2mia

                a friend of mine insists that that post was written by an employee!!

          2. re: mccartneykel

            just went in second visit--breakfast...outstanding! service, food, everything stellar..had some deelish eggs, hash browns, bread with all sorts of jams....omelettes were delicious...everything was very fresh. This is the new breakfast place, hands down. all sorts of offerings, croissants, cheeses, omelettes, benedicts...very reasonably priced as well.

            1. re: HabaneroJane

              That's certainly promising. Gonna have to try this place...

          3. Uh ok Habenero Jane, I gotta ask... What are "cum fries"? Im guessing french fries with mayonnaise?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Blind Mind

              OMG, that didn't look right, did it? But I meant CUM as in the Latin word for "near" or almost..ha! I wish they were more reminiscent, however, of French fries (hold the mayo!)

            2. We were there Saturday evening. Had a "Perigord salad" with smoked duck magret and foie gras croutons, a smoked salmon platter, mussels steamed in white wine and herbs, and the eponymous pied de cochon - pig's trotter. The food was not perfect but it was good and showed some promise, and the menu stocked with a best hits list of French brasserie fare has much to like. The trotter alone was worth the price of admission - really good if you're a fan of the many somewhat mysterious flavors and textures that pig can offer - crispy skin, fork-tender meat, rich fat and gooey gelatinous bits. Wines were pretty fairly priced in a range of 2x - 2.5x retail, and the service was warm, friendly and capable. Prices were all over the map - some items were very reasonable and portioned in Aventura-like sizes (i.e. gargantuan), others very step for brasserie fare.

              If they can get some of the prices in line and turn out consistently good food, this place ought to do OK. More info in a more detailed post here ->
              http://www.foodforthoughtmiami.com/20...

              7 Replies
              1. re: Frodnesor

                sorry, "steep" for brasserie fare.

                1. re: Frodnesor

                  Would you say that for a late night / dinner offering, this French outpost of Au Pied de Cochon in South of Fifth is a better option than the nearby LA-transplant Cafe Maurice (open until 5 AM, dinners only, also popular with the area French)?

                  1. re: mialebven

                    As for ambience I'd say Maurice because it's a more intimate French bistro, per se. But as for food, hands down, the pig. I used to go to Maurice late late night for fantastic French disco and pate around 3 am. Last I tried to go and do the same, they were closed. Not sure they are open as late as they used to. Au Pied is more staid than that, though. No loud music or dancing on tables there..yet!

                    1. re: mialebven

                      can't say, never tried Cafe Maurice.

                  2. re: Frodnesor

                    I went and concur with your review but think the pricing is fair considering the quality and the portion sizes. The pig trotter was my favorite. I further concur with frod about the ricness of the dish as it was actually challenging for me to finish which is extremely unusual (I did have quite a bit to eat before starting on the trotter but usually that does not make a difference -- in this case it did). This was also the first dish in a long time that made me contemplate the calories/cholesterol. It has to be somewhere north of 3k. I gotta say though it was delicious and worth it.

                    Shrimp Cocktail was great but in the shell so you have to work for it...
                    Onion Soup was very good -traditional- Prime 112's fancy one is still the champ
                    Croque madame very good
                    Chicken & roasted potatoes very good
                    Osso Buco - good.

                    I liked the chocolate bar we had for dessert very much and would have liked to try others but my sweet tooth was killed by the Ice Cream I had at the Frieze before going there.

                    Overall this is a great addition to our neighborhood.

                    1. re: tpigeon

                      Went last night with my husband--WORST SERVICE IN RECENT MEMORY and Miami is capable of bad service. Oysters and clams were microscopic in size. Shrimp were healthy but that was th eonly above average item and Nemo's has much better shrimp any day.

                      We will not be backn--French are often critiziced for arrogance--in that case our waiter brought a touch of Paris to Miami.

                      1. re: srubin

                        I had a totally different experience there. You seem to be a big fan of Grazi so I guess I will have to check it out to get some common perspective. Where did you end up eating in NY last time you were there?

                        We went with a couple friends down visiting from NY and had a great time. Interesting, well-priced wine list and the friendly somm, who spoke French (but was not arrogant) recommended an interesting Right Bank Bordeaux that we had a 98 and an 05 of.

                        We had braised stuff, osso bucco, veal cheeks, pork shank with a ton of oysters to start. Microscopic oysters sound delicious to me. Last year in SC I had some of the biggest nastiest oysters served to me, couldn't eat them. If you got kumamotos like we had they were small, tight and creamy. We downed a bottle of Muscadet with them which was the price of a single glass I had at the FB the night before.

                  3. Newtimes/shortorder reported that this closed.

                    http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/shorto...