The goods: Jean-Georges Vongerichten brings another celeb-chef restaurant to Miami with the opening of J + G Grill in the opulent St. Regis Bal Harbour.
Ambience: The cathedral-like dining room exudes a Zen vibe with ocean and pool views, gray herringbone wall panels, slate-colored banquettes, plush carpeting and oversized pendant lights. A patio with lush landscaping and mod furniture is in the works.
The grub: Contemporary bistro food with Asian and French influences. Chef de cuisine Richard Gras (Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay) executes classics from the Jean-Georges canon like hamachi sashimi and black truffle pizza. Prices are in line with the posh surroundings: starters $10-$32, mains $24-$45 and sides $8-$10.
Dinner starts with soybean spread and slices of crusty baguette and multi-grain bread. Starters highlight Gras’s farm-to-table approach and include parsnip soup with coconut foam, peeky-toe crab cake with pink grapefruit and a salad of Florida hearts of palm and heirloom tomatoes. Entrees include local red snapper with sweet and sour jus, roasted grouper with black beans and cilantro, a Flintstones-sized milk-fed veal chop and soy-glazed short ribs with apple-jalapeno puree. Sides like black truffle cheese fritters and sautéed maitake mushrooms round out the eclectic feast.
Pastry chef Antonio Bachour (W South Beach) gets creative with Key lime vacherin with coconut meringue and chunks of mango, Grand Marnier soufflé with mandarin orange sorbet and a salted caramel sundae with house-made ice cream, popcorn and peanuts.
Verdict: A plush outpost for celeb-chef’s Jean-Georges eclectic farmer’s market cuisine.