A Taste Of Paris
by jennifer rubell
And now in Miami, too. Carlo Bicaci, an Italian native who has lived in Miami for 25 years, with decades of experience in hotels and restaurants, has brought Au Pied de Cochon to South Beach. The pig-themed vases are there. Plenty of marble? Check. Massive seafood display with topnotch oysters piled high? Yup, that too. And the blessing of Clément Blanc's sons, who now run the original Paris restaurant? More than that—they're partners.
Bicaci has already opened Au Pied de Cochons in Atlanta and Mexico City, and the formula seems to work. When asked which Mexican celebrities had been to that city's branch, Bicaci couldn't think of one who hadn’t. As he puts it, “People called my office begging for a reservation. At one in the morning, you couldn't get in.” Again, it was politicians, socialites, actors and actresses, singers, boxers… anyone who was anyone in Mexico City, and from anywhere else too. Salma Hayek, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Mike Tyson, Thalía, Cheyenne, Celia Cruz and about a million others all showed up for a meal. History had repeated itself. The city found a place that defined it.
Now it's our turn.
The interior designer of the Paris restaurant has masterminded the 6,000-square-foot Miami location too, in a classic Art Deco building near Joe's Stone Crab. It's done in an art nouveau style, with brass chandeliers, gilt-framed mirrors, large banquettes and paintings that tell the story of life as it relates to wine, women, food and pigs. Villeroy & Boch china is on the tables. The wine is served in Riedel stemware. The napkins are monogrammed. The servers have long black aprons, just like in Paris. And the celebrities already have Bicaci's number on speed dial.
Miami's Au Pied de Cochon will serve some of the classics from the mother ship, including those namesake pigs’ trotters; buttery, garlicky snails; the legendary onion soup; big platters of seafood from the raw bar; and steak tartare prepared tableside. But it will also appeal to our lighter, healthier local style, including a South Beach Breakfast with enough low-fat, healthy options to make a true Frenchman sneer.
And there will be soufflé! Does that count as low-fat? At 4 AM, who cares?
photographs by gary james