2.5 stars for "charming" Jean Paul’s House in Midtown

Grilled Octopus with fingerling potatoes, roasted garlic and peppers, thyme, and EVOO- 14 photographed at Jean Paul's House on Monday, June 4, 2012 in Miami, Florida.

I rarely refuse an invitation to someone’s house for dinner, and at the quaint Jean Paul’s House, you really do get the intimate feel of being in someone’s dining room. The modest 1922 cottage on Northeast Second Avenue was once owned by the Coals family, prominent Miamians of their era, and it retains its homey feel. The wraparound porch makes a great spot for dinner under the stars. And the namesake chef, Jean Paul Desmaison, a talented Peruvian who opened La Cofradia in 2005 in Coral Gables, is very much the host.

Ambience: Inside, the dining room is flooded with natural light by day and warmed with golden, low-watt hanging lamps in the evening. It’s decorated with an elegant summerhouse ease. Long wooden tables, sleek black and white wallpaper and lots of shimmery mirrors lend a glamorous edge.

What Worked

  • A delightfully pungent amuse of tiny crostini dotted with blue cheese & a sweet balsamic reduction
  • Exceptional ceviches are exceptional
  • Salmon sashimi with fierce leche de tigre and a hit of wasabi
  • A tight and flaky Manchego and prosciutto empanada fried until the color of maple sap
  • Fresh, simple & “full of flavor” salads
  • Golden beets salad with avocado and tangy, dramatically red blood orange segments
  • A signature octopus starter with tender coins interspersed with puffy discs of white potato, tomato, onion, briny olives & smoky, red pepper sauce
  • Uniformly delicious and equally understated desserts
  • Super creamy, smooth & evenly textured coffee pannacotta with a nugget of nutty cookie
  • Sufficiently experienced, friendly & sincere waiters
  • Complimentary sparking or flat house-filtered bottled water
  • A budget-minded wine list with plenty of drinkable by-the-glass options


What Didn’t Work

  • A classic snapper in papillote that spent a few too many minutes in the heat, losing tenderness and flavor
  • Taglietelle with a buttery broth and unwieldy wedges of artichoke that lacked oomph
  • Nicely charred, but fairly ordinairy, peppercorn-studded “proper sausage”



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