Le Zoo restaurant by Stephen Starr finally opened at Bal Harbour Shops, replacing Le Goulue. It is a French Brasserie with Mediterranean style dishes, with about 200 seats including indoors and outside patio. Makoto is his other restaurant in the mall as well as the newly opened Continental in South Beach.
We have been following this restauranteur since his days in Philadelphia when he had about five restaurants there including Buddakan and Morimoto. He also just opened the popular Clocktower Restaurant in the Edition Hotel in New York, which is a real scene. He has other restaurants around the world, as well.
Le Zoo offers classic bistro fare, such as, good, crusty French bread, French onion soup, steak tartare, steak and frites, chicken paillard, moules and frites, warm shrimp salad, cheese plates, and a good selection of charcuterie. There is also a nice seafood selection, such as crab, lobster, shrimps, oysters and stone crabs.
The menu has an enjoyable wine list, with champagnes and rosé in the mix.
They had a long training process and it shows. The restaurant was just open two days and everything ran smoothly. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable. They brought a lot of senior staff from other restaurants to insure a smooth opening. I even had a Stephen Starr sighting there!
My warm shrimp salad was cooked to perfection and my lunch companions enjoyed their chicken paillard. For dessert the chocolate pot au créme was decadent and delicious.