Somehow appearing to be hidden in plain sight, La Terrasse is a French restaurant South of Fifth. It’s not easy to be successful when century-old Joe’s Stone Crab is literally across the street, but La Terrasse seems to be doing quite well. So much so, that lunch on Wednesday seemed to be a popular stop for locals wanting to indulge in authentic French cuisine. “We like to think of our restaurant as a little bit of South of France located South of Fifth,” said Anthony Grini, General Manager and Executive Chef. “No other restaurant in Miami goes through the lengths that we do to provide an authentic French Restaurant.” I can’t argue with this, as the décor is absolutely stunning. Marble tables are lined with orchids, and the modern decor provides a clean air and chic environment. It would be a shame to deviate from dining outdoors though, as the lush environment I reminiscent of a French vineyard. No setting would be more apt to indulge in a glass of proper Cabernet.
Speaking of wine, the selection at La Terrasse is impeccable. Red wines from Bordeaux take up most of the menu, perfectly pairing with the type of cuisine that is served here. Following French custom, the cuisine is focused on simplicity of ingredients, somehow managing to skew the overwhelming feeling one usually encounters when ordering butter-laden French cuisine. Such is the case with the Escargot La Terrasse. Grini’s take on a classic French dish takes pate a choux and stuffs it with snails and truffle sauce on a cloud of arugula. Served alongside is two pieces of truffle, a garnish that epitomizes the simplicity of this cuisine. The contrasting colors speak for themselves, reminding you that although this dish is sophisticated, it still strikes as comfort food. The rich truffle sauce coats the tongue and soaks into the choux, making for a satisfying dish that makes this the best item on the menu.
The Duo de Canard acts as a way to offer duck in two ways. La Terrasse manages to provide a textbook example of duck confit, which presents shatter-like skin that makes Fried Chicken skin look flimsy. With a simple seasoning of salt and pepper, the duck is presented to stand on its own without any other ingredients taking away from its rich flavor profile. The roasted potatoes served alongside are cooked in the same fat as the confit, giving you a spud that glimpses at the natural flavors of canard. The second preparation of duck is a perfectly roasted duck breast, warm throughout but still pink to retain its juicy appeal. Few places in Miami cook duck properly, and La Terrasse nailed it.
If this is the way French cuisine is presented al throughout France, I may have to make my way there sooner than I had thought. But until then, I’ll take solace in the fact that I have a little piece of France right off of the beach.
22 Washington Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139
786 899 0037
By food editor, Santiago Cardona