I didn’t know what to expect the evening I dined at Cote Restaurant Miami, other than its flagship restaurant hailed from New York. Located in the Design District at 3900 NE 2nd Avenue, I heard it has retained its Michelin star since 2017 and that it has been nominated a couple of times by James Beard for its “outstanding wine program.”
We entered through a neon pink corridor and had our temperatures checked by friendly hostesses, which is an anomaly in Miami. We were escorted to our tables and were impressed by the dark, sexy decor. As soon as you walk in the focal point is an attractive, dramatic oval bar. The restaurant is just under 6,000 square feet in two rooms that seat about 100 guests. High ceilings, painted black, concrete floors, forest green leather banquettes, and dark grey and white marble tables, each with its own gold inset BBQ. These grills are smokeless with 6.6 times more ventilation per hour compared to a standard Korean restaurant, where you come out stinking from the food that is cooked. Here it was almost odorless, and probably also helps with keeping the room more sanitized during these pandemic times. Each table had its own hand sanitizer, plus cloth bags that you can keep to store your masks. Bravo for these details that mean everything. There are beautiful wood slats that curve around the restaurant that are backlit. The lighting is dim but bright enough to read your menus. There are some private rooms, plus a room where you can view the meat dry aging.
The owner is Simon Kim, and he only serves meat of the highest standard, certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Cuts like American Wagyu, Japanese Wagyu, Black Angus, USDA Prime, and reserve cuts. They also accompany the meats with pickled vegetables that are preserved on-site in the restaurant’s own fermentation lab. At this Miami location, there are some unique offerings like ceviche, coastal-inspired seafood, and even a Latin cut of meat.
We were ecstatic and truly surprised to see our favourite Miami server Adrian, formerly of L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon attend to our table. He gave us some great suggestions from the menu. From jewels of the sea, caviar service, shareable appetizers, the cuts of meat, and the savory accompaniments. Plus, he actually cooked our food for us, so it was an immersive, interactive experience, and I didn’t have to lift a finger.
We started with a wedge salad, of iceberg lettuce, bacon, and tomatoes in a delicious sesame dressing. The steak tartare is an excellent rendition, made from local grass-fed top round, with pears and crispy tendon puffs. If you like bacon, they offer a thick-cut, housed-smoked, crispy heritage pork belly, with pickled jalapeño and some Korean grainy mustard.
The most popular item on the menu is the Butcher’s Feast. At $58 per person, it is also a relative bargain. It includes 4 select cuts of meat that add up to 8oz. Adrian started the cooking process with the hanger steak, then the 45-day dry-aged ribeye, followed by the flat iron Cote steak, and ending with my favourite, a marinated short rib, that was out of this world. This was all accompanied by an amuse-bouche of vegetables, a scallion salad, and red leaf lettuce with ssamjang sauce to wrap the meat with. It also came with a savoury egg soufflé, and two stews as well as rice. The feast ends with a delicious soft serve with a soy caramel glaze. We also added some tender and flavourful A5 Japanese Wagyu, just because. Adrian said one of his favourite side dishes is the kimchi Wagyu paella, and we were glad we took his advice because it was a notable highlight. The menu also includes a steak Omakase experience, for real beef enthusiasts, which gives you the grand tour of the best cuts at $165 per person. Or you have the option of ordering a la carte.
There is an impressive 1200 bottle wine list, and they even pour wines by the glass from magnums because they taste better that way. There is also a great cocktail program, with many craft cocktails on offer.
I predict that Cote will become one of Miami’s hottest new restaurants. It has imported NYC’s high-spirited and interactive vibe along with Miami’s diverse and vibrant population. It is an elevated experience, with an attractive, fun, and seductive atmosphere, excellent engaging service, and succulent steaks that make for a memorable experience.