Anyone who doesn’t believe that dining has become synonymous with entertainment hasn’t been to Dirty French Steakhouse. With this fanciful Brickell bistro, a Ken Falk-designed hallucinatory throwback to the 1970s and ’80s (complete with Blondie on the playlist), Major Food Group continues its culinary domination of Miami.
After scoring hits with Sadelle’s, Hasalon, ZZ’s Club, and especially Carbone, the company’s trio (Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi and Jeff Zalaznick) still has the vision and talent to surprise and delight. (Several of these concepts began in New York, and versions of Carbone, with its storied Greenwich Village origins, has also popped up in cities as diverse as Las Vegas, Dallas and Hong Kong.) Dirty French delivers delirium, and few restaurant groups show mastery of gastronomic dreams as does Major Food Group.
So, have a seat in your zebra-print dining chair and enjoy the show.
To peruse the menu is to know you’ll want to come back, because it’s replete with specialty dishes from another era: duck a l’orange. Chicken and crepes. Crab croquettes. Giant grilled oysters bourguignon. And we haven’t even gotten to the carnivores, who will gravitate to the Wagyu tomahawk and the 40-ounce porterhouse (both for two).
My friend and I, who like to share, opted for a mix of traditional delicacies and decadent standbys. In the case of the former, the crab Louis was prepared tableside, and the result was rich and delectable. For the latter, we savored the lobster ravioli with saffron. At our gregarious server’s request, we also shared a flaky mushroom milleuille—a milleuille is a layered puff pastry creation that’s typically reserved for desserts, but we scooped up this savory interpretation, a Dirty French signature. To complete our time travel back to Manhattan, circa 1980, we couldn’t resist the Dover sole meuniere.
It sounds like a lot of food, but we both appreciated the restrained portion size, which allowed us to revel in a feast of flavors without feeling overstuffed and uncomfortable at evening’s end. Then, only one question remained: Whether to return for the caviar Vichyssoise or head to Major Food Group’s next debut—Contessa, which just opened in the Miami Design District—first.