By Mitchell Nover
If you’ve ever been to the South of France, you know it’s a very unique experience. From Nice to Marseille to Saint-Tropez, the Côte d’Azur, the cities feel more like small beach towns that are somehow able to both offer feelings of casual comfort and ultra luxury. Brasserie Azur (3252 NE 1st Ave, Miami) is a great representation of that vibe, bringing a taste of the French Riviera to Midtown Miami.
Menu highlights: In what is a near perfect springtime setting, Executive Chef Oscar Garcia uses flavors of the South of France combined with an international and contemporary American twist to deliver Brasserie Azur’s beautiful brunch menu. Highlights include Oeufs Florentine (poached eggs with spinach over toasted English muffin with hollandaise sauce, served with mixed greens and roasted potatoes), Moules Frites (steamed mussels and truffle fries), and Truffle Pizzetta (truffle mascarpone and mozzarella cheese). Ooh la la, indeed!
Standout dishes: I never thought I’d say this, but the best part of brunch at Brasserie Azur is a salad. Yes, I said a salad. And a pretty simple one at that, at least on paper. But, there’s something about the Salad de Chèvre Chaud that is so deliciously French and homey that I was immediately transported to the rocky sands of the Mediterranean Sea — ocean breeze, hint of salt in the air, and all. This combination of frisee salad, bacon, and honey vinaigrette is a lovely blend of bitter, salty, sweet, fresh, and crisp that surprisingly hits all the right spots. And that crusty bread spread with the goat cheese picadou just puts it over the top. Add a glass of rosé, and it doesn’t get much more Midi than that.
Are we boozing? Speaking of rosé, Brasserie Azur features a refreshingly delicious Rosé Sangria (rosé wine, Cointreau, fresh raspberries, fresh mint, and Pavan Liqueur), ideal for springtime dining in the restaurant’s lush outdoor patio – available by the glass or pitcher. Or, for bubble lovers, you can also go for the more standard bottomless mimosas or bottomless Prosecco for $25 or $35, respectively.
Check this place out if you like: Downtown Bistro or Café des Arts. These two restaurants might be on different ends of the price and “scene” spectrums, but they both offer quintessential, classic French cuisine, which can sometimes be hard to find in Miami.
Mitch’s take: Sandwiched between the uber trendy Wynwood and uber upscale Design District, Midtown Miami might not as high on your brunch neighborhood list as it once was. But, if you’re still looking for a quick Spring Break getaway, consider Brasserie Azur. A delicious meal and escape from the current Miami hotspots should be enough to whet your appetite until your next romp through the Riviera.