Lots of words come to mind when I try to describe Dirty French, a new steakhouse by the Major Food Group at 1200 Brickell. Over the top, dramatic, schmaltzy, dripping, exciting, retro, glamorous, ornate, lavish, high energy to name a few. One thing is for sure its décor is memorable, and it was created by the dream team of Mario Carbone, Rich Torisi, and Jeff Zakaznick. This is another project from this group who are making their mark in Miami. I’ve been to Dirty French in New York, and I wasn’t a fan. It’s more of a French Brasserie. This place is definitely an old school decadent and pricey steakhouse with some French classics.
When we walked in we were ushered into the lounge, which had a jungle theme. It had Murano chandeliers, a gold leaf ceiling, burnt orange velvet walls, an onyx bar and leopard fringe stools. The whole place had the feel of a very private exclusive club. Then we walked down a narrow, dark hallway. There are two dining rooms, one on either side. To the left the Disco Room, with beautiful custom chandeliers, and mirrored surfaces was a little more refined and quiet. The service captains dress in custom pink tuxedos with ruffled shirts and bow ties. We got the room on the right, the zebra room, with bright red painted walls. It was definitely not understated. It was also absolutely freezing but they refused to adjust the temperature. The noise level was loud which made it difficult to talk by around 07:30pm. They were playing disco hits with the volume quite high and then some of the patrons were shouting and trying to have a conversation.
For the most part the food is good, however there were a few misses. It’s also very costly, with $500 Snake River Farm Tomahawks and prime cuts from famed butcher Pat La Frieda presented on silver trays. I had one of my most memorable dishes of 2022 at Dirty French, a mushroom mille-feuille, made with wafer thin sliced king mushrooms, that sat upright on top of a madras curried corn sauce. The beef carpaccio was also a standout dish. The tuna tartare was not well liked, as was the salad tossed with crab. I thoroughly enjoyed my duck a l’Orange. The pork was also well received. There was Dover sole, caviar and other high end choices. Service for us was also professional and attentive.
There was a 700+ bottle wine list with some serious choices, as well as a champagne cart with Dom Perignon, and Billecart as some of the selections. The Major Food Group is known for making an excellent cocktail, and Dirty French is no exception. They also make a great martini, although the glass could be bigger. Desserts were large and for the most part decent. You can pre-order a chocolate soufflé and there’s a pineapple dessert that is torched table-side.
Dirty French is reminiscent of Thomas Keller’s Shore Club. Good service, tuxedoed waitstaff and a high price point. However, the guests might find it difficult to carry on a conversation. If you come with expectations of a fun, playful, high energy evening with a décor that will awaken the senses, and deep pockets to pay for it all, then you won’t be disappointed.
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