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This fantastic seafood brasserie takes its name and cue from the Côte d'Azur, and it is so understatedly chic that it's easy to imagine the Riviera coast twinkling below. The main indoor room echoes a timeless, romantic brasserie, with wood floors, arched windows, and linen-draped tables each set with a candle and rose. Cuisine also approximates that of the French Med. Executive chef Gwenaël Le Pape, from the Brittany Coast, exquisitely prepares Mediterranean seafood flown in daily. Fish rarely seen on these shores, such as Dover sole, John Dory, and Tasmanian ocean trout, are grilled and served with lemon and one of seven side sauces. Caviar and shellfish selections are topnotch, and prices reflect the quality. Less exotic fish are offered, too, like a trio of pan-seared diver scallops big as Ping-Pong balls and bursting with sweetness against a rich, butter-laden backdrop of stewed leeks and champagne sauce spotted with salmon caviar. Don't miss the soupe de poisson Marseillaise, a showstopping fish chowder served with Gruyère cheese and chili-spiked saffron aioli. Other strengths: a compelling array of unique wines, all served by the glass; a personable, professional staff that offers the finest service in town; great dining-appropriate music spun by a DJ; and a crème brûlée that makes all other local variations seem as if they were prepared from Jell-O pudding mix. Put Maison at the top of your list.
Ten reasons why Maison d'Azur is the catch of the year: 1. Whelks and periwinkles, which are so unique in these parts they really should count as two reasons. The former are conchlike in texture, the "winkles" teeny and sweet. 2. It is located in the Anglers Resort, which in the Thirties was one of South Beach's first Mediterranean-revival hotels and today is as stunning and romantic a setting for dinner as one could hope to find. 3. DJ Bruno Saläun from Saint-Tropez. Does your favorite fish joint have a DJ? From Saint-Tropez? Didn't think so. 4. Dover sole, John Dory, Tasmanian ocean trout, rouget, sardines, and all manner of Mediterranean seafood specialties (swimming a wide price range of $32 to $72, with some rarities costing more). 5. Seven sauces to choose from to accompany your fish. 6. The big three caviars, from $195 to $450 an ounce. 7. Shellfish platters plied with prawns, crab legs, oysters, champagne/caviar shooters, and langoustines imported from Brittany (six for $65). 8. Soupe de poisson Marseillaise, a saffron-scented fish chowder that alone is worth dining here for. 9. A flawless steak frites with béarnaise — it should be noted that Maison is referred to as a seafood brasserie. 10. Seventy-five distinctive wines and champagnes, suave service, and the creamiest crème brûlée in town.
Ten reasons why Maison d'Azur is the catch of the year:1. Whelks and periwinkles, which are so unique in these parts they really should count as two reasons. The former are conchlike in texture, the "winkles" teeny and sweet.2. It is located in the Anglers Resort, which in the Thirties was one of South Beach's first Mediterranean-revival hotels and today is as stunning and romantic a setting for dinner as one could hope to find.3. DJ Bruno Saläun from Saint-Tropez. Does your... More »
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