1) Fare with flair: Euro-inspired restaurants are hardly new to South Florida, given its melting pot of influences. But how many concepts manage to seamlessly blend a chef-driven meal with the intangible spirit that can turn a dining experience across the pond into an unforgettable evening? Thanks to Mr. Hospitality, the French-owned management group launched by Mathieu Massa in 2014, Miami has three such venues—Bâoli Miami, Marion, and El Tucán—with each one serving a celebratory feast for the senses.
2) The evolution: Of the three concepts, Marion (1111 SW First Ave., Brickell; marionmiami.com), which debuted as a grand café six years ago, is more of the traditional fine-dining experience, featuring a new American menu with Asian influences. What’s so European about that concept, you ask? Everything else. As with all Mr. Hospitality establishments, the energy in the room begins to build as the evening progresses. Those who book a later seating, especially as pandemic guidelines are loosened, are apt to see stiltwalkers, tableside fashion models, a burlesque dancer, a pop-up singer, dancing on the tables—and other surprises.
3) Foodie treats: Though the vibe in the room can dictate entertainment plans, one constant at Marion is the high quality of menu options overseen by Argentina native Gustavo Vertone, executive chef for Mr. Hospitality. Marion was one of the early Brickell restaurants to introduce shared plates with an Asian influence—think spicy salmon and yellowtail tacos from the raw bar; signature rolls, including a Kobe offering torched at the table with shrimp tempura and A5 wagyu beef; and sushi and sashimi. Entrees off the robata grill include Thai miso ginger chicken, soy-marinated Chilean sea bass, prime skirt steak with wasabi chimichurri, and Miyazaki A5 wagyu cooked tableside on a hot stone.
4) Shell game: In the hopes of attracting early-week business and different customers to explore Marion, Massa and Vertone cooked up Lobster Tuesday, an a la carte evening that celebrates the crustacean in every conceivable culinary rendering. On the starters side, there’s lobster bisque in crème fraiche; steamed whole lobster cocktail; New England-style lobster rolls; and the aptly named Lobster Dynamite, a spicy serving on crispy rice. Main dishes include sushi roll with A5 Kobe beef, Maine lobster and caviar; a surf-and-turf combo with a 32-ounce bone-in rib-eye and whole lobster; lobster macaroni and cheese; and two large lobster tails cooked over a tableside charcoal grill.
5) Space shifting: The sensory experience at Marion can be a matter of perspective. To that end, customers have plenty of seating options, including spaces that can accommodate larger groups. Beyond the main dining room, there’s a chef’s table set amid more than 250 bottles of wine; a separate private dining room; and an outdoor terrace with its own bar. No matter the backdrop, prepare to savor the evening—and the experience—at Marion.