11. Oktober 2019
Two of the most highly-anticipated new restaurants of the 2019/2020 season opened their doors in The Miami Design District’s Paradise Plaza: South Florida location of the world-renowned L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, and Le Jardinier, a new concept created by longtime Robuchon protégés
Chef Christophe Bellanca serves as the Culinary Director for Joël Robuchon USA, including the L’Atelier brand in NYC and Miami. He is responsible for carrying on Chef Robuchon’s legacy, while moving the restaurant forward and mentoring the next generation of culinary talent. Chef Alain Verzeroli—who worked with Robuchon for 21 years, and most recently served as Director of Culinary Operations at the three-star Michelin Château Restaurant Joël Robuchon in Tokyo—created the concept for the new Le Jardinier restaurant brand. In addition to Bellanca and Verzeroli, Master Baker Tetsuya Yamaguchi and Executive Pastry Chef Salvatore Martone will also be a key part of the team for both restaurants, having worked with Robuchon for 20 years and 13 years, respectively.
The casually sophisticated concept of Le Jardinier was created by Culinary Director Alain Verzeroli, who currently serves as Executive Chef of the restaurant’s flagship location in New York City. Regional Chef Leo Pablo will serve as the day-to-day chef at Le Jardinier Miami, bringing over 15 years of experience in some of the region’s top kitchens including Life-House, Stubborn Seed, and J&G Grill by Jean Georges. Located on the first floor of the bi-level plaza (with L’Atelier located upstairs), the restaurant features a lush outdoor dining area, and rooftop garden that will provide a variety of products for the kitchen and beverage teams.
“Le Jardinier is focused on modern cuisine utilizing the highest quality vegetables, seasonal ingredients, and fresh herbs,” said Verzeroli. “The menu and concept were inspired by the way sophisticated diners are eating globally, and a desire to have lighter gourmet experiences. It’s exciting to discover the incredible products native to South Florida that we can showcase.”
Le Jardinier’s menu will feature vegetable-forward cuisine, rooted in classic French technique. Plants will play a prominent role on the menu, where local, seasonal fruits and vegetables, fresh herbs and greens are complemented by wild and sustainable fish, meat and poultry. Signature dishes will include Bass with fennel, tomato confit and Meyer lemon; and Watermelon Salad with heirloom tomatoes, ginger, and mint. Desserts, focusing on the use of organic ingredients, will be centered around seasonal fruits balanced by bitter, acidic, salty and sweet flavors. Executive Pastry Chef Salvatore Martone will lead the creation of the dessert menus, with Pastry Chef Yara Mage managing the program locally. Refreshing and indulgent treats will include the Blueberry made with blueberry and lemongrass with an eggless merengue.
Master Baker Tetsuya Yamaguchi will create and execute a specialty gluten-free bread program at the restaurant, locally run by Head Baker Melissa Catra.
The wine program at Le Jardinier was created by Beverage Director Juan Carlos Santana, a Miami local with notable industry experience. Innovative cocktails conceptualized by Dushan Zaric of Employees Only were created to complement Verzeroli’s cooking. Drinks are made with high quality craft spirits and fortified wines, with a strong emphasis on presentation and glassware. Signature cocktails will include La Mademoiselle made with Fords Officer’s Reserve gin shaken with home- made grapefruit cordial and topped with Zardetto Prosecco Brut Rosé; and Mi Tierra with El Tesoro Blanco tequila shaken with Vida Mezcal, agave, fresh lime, cucumbers and jalapeño-infused green chartreuse. The menu will also feature a selection of non-alcoholic cocktails made with teas, fresh fruits, vegetable juices, fresh herbs and house-made bitters. Teas will come from the local JoJo Tea and rotate seasonally.
The 4,200 square-foot, 108 seat restaurant was designed by award-winning French architect Pierre-Yves Rochon, and includes a 64 seat outdoor dining patio abounding with plants to create a lush tropical garden feel. The contemporary space features one-of-a-kind, custom-made black and white marble walls and floors and a façade that boasts tall windows allowing for plenty of natural light to brighten the restaurant. Upon entry, guests are greeted at a central host stand adjacent to an illuminated spiral staircase leading to the second-floor L’Atelier. A decidedly modern aesthetic – marble tables, metal chairs and eye-catching light fixtures – will set the scene with a vertical garden as a focal point on the back wall. Accents of greenery are present throughout the restaurant to match the vegetable-driven menu. A 17-seat black marble bar sits off to the side with circular accent lights behind the glass shelving.
With locations around the world in cities including Paris, Tokyo, and New York, the South Florida outpost of Chef Joël Robuchon’s groundbreaking concept, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, opened its doors to the public on Wednesday, August 28, 2019. The highly anticipated restaurant will offer diners modern French cuisine served at a signature 34-seat dining counter that faces directly into the open kitchen, allowing for a dynamic interaction between the chefs and guests, and convivial fine dining experience.
Culinary Director Christophe Bellanca, a longtime protégé of Chef Robuchon, will oversee the Miami restaurant from New York. Chef de Cuisine Nancy Dominguez—who worked within the Robuchon group for six years at his Michelin starred restaurants in Las Vegas, and with Bellanca for several months prior to opening to align their visions—will helm the L’Atelier Miami kitchen locally. Deleon Pinto, Director of Operations for Joël Robuchon USA, will oversee training of the Front-of-House L’Atelier team to ensure the restaurant’s distinct style of service is consistent with the other properties around the world.
“At L’Atelier, the most significant way we pay tribute to Chef Robuchon is by upholding his exceptionally high standards and mentoring the next generation of cooks,” says Bellanca. “Even as we create new dishes, we adhere to his principles of cuisine—quality, restraint, and technique.”
L’Atelier’s counter seating and menu format meld the interactive sushi counters of Japan and tapas style of service found in Spain, with Robuchon’s modern French cuisine. The menu in Miami will feature several of L’Atelier’s iconic signature dishes—including the famed pommes purée—alongside new, ever-changing seasonal creations utilizing ingredients sourced from top local and regional purveyors. The format of the menu at L’Atelier allows diners the flexibility to create their own experience. A meal can be composed of an à la carte selection of small plates, appetizers, and entrées. Or, guests may select from several tasting menus composed by the chefs. This includes a 5-course “Menu Végétarien;” a 4-course seasonal tasting with choices for each dish; and 10-course “Menu Evolution.” Classic dishes will include La Caille: Caramelized free-range quail, foie gras, potato purée and La Langoustine: Crispy langoustine papillote, fresh basil. New creations by Bellanca and his all-star team include Les Tomates Et Le Crab Royal with zebra tomatoes, king crab and wasabi tofu; and Le Boeuf with grilled wagyu ribcap, summer vegetable “tian” and wild basil pesto.
All breads and pastries will be made in-house daily by the local team—Catra and Mage, overseen by Yamaguchi and Martone. Three different types of bread will be offered to guests, served fresh out of the oven. Desserts – such as the Coconut Rum Granite with mousse coconut, coulis exotique, rum granita, almond dacquoise, passion curd and lime crumble – will be elegant and imaginative, balancing between fresh and bold flavors served in beautiful presentations.
Creative libations offered at L’Atelier will include El Chile Vasco with espelette pepper-infused tequila-mezcal blend, mamey, lime and agave; and a sweet cocktail, the Fraises et Chocolat made with cacao nib and espresso-infused Haitian rum, G.E Massenez Crème a la fraise des bois, Campari and Corsican sweet vermouth.
The striking space by Architect Pierre-Yves Rochon—who designs all L’Ateliers worldwide—encompasses 3,300 square- feet, including a 34-seat dining counter and table seating for 20. In harmony with its counterparts around the world, the intimate ambiance features dramatic lighting, bold colors and rich materials to create a theatrically-inclined gastronomic environment that builds anticipation and excitement for each artfully crafted dish. The walls—outfitted with polished rosewood along with custom-made red leather Italian seating—infuse warmth and comfort and serve as an elegant counterbalance to the sleek black backdrop of the flame-brushed granite flooring and black painted acoustical ceilings throughout.
The restaurant is located on the second floor directly above Le Jardinier.
After the launch of the two restaurants, Frohzen, an ice cream shop conceptualized by Martone, opened September 2019. Known for his boundless creativity and use of innovative techniques, Martone brings his signature sense of whimsy to the menu, which will include unique creations such as ice cream cupcakes, macaron ice cream sandwiches, and ice cream “cakesicles.” Frohzen will be located on the ground floor of Paradise Plaza directly across from Le Jardinier. All three concepts will be managed and overseen by local Director of Operations, Rogelio Flores, who has over 20 years of industry experience having worked with notable hospitality brands including The Mina Group.