LE ZOO’S CHEF JULIAN BAKER BRINGS THE COMFORT OF FALL TO LIFE WITH HIS LATEST SEASONAL MENU.
Exterior of Le Zoo in Bal Harbour PHOTO COURTESY OF LE ZOO BAL HARBOUR
While we may not feel the temperature changes quite as much as other cities, Miami’s most cherished culinary destinations have the ability to translate the cycle of seasons through fresh dishes highlighting local ingredients. Located inside the posh Bal Harbour Shops rests one of South Florida’s crown jewels—Le Zoo. Head chef Julian Baker creates magic inside the kitchen, debuting a menu that is both contemporary and sophisticated, paying homage to traditional French cuisine with a delightful emphasis on fresh seafood. In light of the fall season, the culinary savant takes us through some of the highlights of the menu, as well as his sources of inspiration. Bon appétit! 9700 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour, @lezoobalharbour
Fresh oyster tower. PHOTO COURTESY OF LE ZOO BAL HARBOUR
Tell us about the inspiration behind the new fall menu items.
It can be challenging to change menus seasonally here in South Florida, but we have found a way to create dishes that are inspired by the ‘traditional’ seasons. Along with new seasonal ingredients, I would pinpoint my source of inspiration back to our guests. I take the feedback they share with me and create new dishes inspired by the flavors they know and love. Fall is also a great time to add some elegance and surprise into our dishes, which you can find in our cocktail aux crab royal featuring king crab, consomme en gelee, crispy potato and Russian Osetra caviar; our confit de canard—duck confit with celery root and cherries— and the sweet tarte au citron, a caramelized lemon tart.
Moules frites PHOTO COURTESY OF LE ZOO BAL HARBOUR
What are some of your all-time favorite dishes?
This is a tough question; there are so many dishes and techniques I like to practice. With braising being one of my favorite techniques, I enjoy dishes such as osso buco, short rib, coq au vin and basically anything that is slow-cooked in a sauce. Simple pasta is another favorite when made with quality ingredients. Spaghetti aglio olio e peperoncino with fresh olive oil and parmigiano is one of my favorites—simple, fresh ingredients and an emphasis on temperature are the two components that make this dish so great.
Hamachi crudo. PHOTO COURTESY OF LE ZOO BAL HARBOUR
How do you keep the menu fresh at Le Zoo?
A great problem we have with Le Zoo is that the menu is full of guest favorites that we would be crazy to remove. It is because of this that we came up with the idea of seasonal features. This allows our guests to enjoy new menu items without removing the favorites they know and love, while also giving our kitchen team the opportunity to cook different dishes and learn something new.
Chef Julian Baker PHOTO COURTESY OF LE ZOO BAL HARBOUR
What are some of your favorite fall ingredients?
Without question, it has to be white truffle. I look forward to it each year.
Patio seating at Le Zoo PHOTO COURTESY OF LE ZOO BAL HARBOUR