Cote – Miami, FL
Miami, Miami, you've got style! And killer food!
Deep in the Design District of the Magic City is an outpost of Michelin-starred Korean steakhouse Cote, originally in New York. Hannah, the wine director at Stone Barns, is originally from Miami, so knowing that Georgia and I would be spending 36 hours in the city on our way to Lima, during my last visit to Stone Barns I asked Hannah to recommend a spot for us to dine. Hannah had just visited Miami and of course enjoyed the food scene there, and told me to visit Cote. Georgia loves steak, so I thought it would be a perfect way to introduce her to the Miami food scene on her first visit.
The first view of the dining room after the pink-hued windowless tunnel that houses the hostess stand is the impressive center bar, truly Miami-styled, where we waited for a few minutes for our table to be prepared.
This was a Monday night, and they have a promotion every Monday where they open a magnum from their impressive cellar and offer it at-cost. Tonight is was Grand Cru Corton-Charlemagne from Domaine Michel Juillot, a magnum of which retails for over $500. A glass of this wine is unheard of, especially at-cost, and I was happy to accept a pour while we waited for a table.
Of course, this is Miami, and a balmy Miami summer night at that, so since it was still happy hour, we snagged a couple of their discounted fabulous frosés. Complete with a flamingo straw, it was a perfect Miami beverage to introduce Georgia to the city. I could have had several, but it was too chilly in the restaurant to keep drinking frozen beverages!
Cote has a circular grill in the center of each table, and the way to go is to get their "Butcher's Feast," featuring four cuts of their amazing beef and all manner of Korean banchan (side dishes) to complement. At $58 per person, $75 after a glass of Rioja Reserva, it's a hell of a deal, and everything is cooked in front of you on the in-table grills. A total blast.
Before we started, however, I was jonesing for oysters, so got some big west coast oysters, one without garnish, one with uni, and one with caviar. The uni was my favorite, but who is surprised by that?! Georgia and I also split the steak tartare, which had a nice and creamy Korean mustard and Asian pear as well as some amazing puffy chips made of beef tallow. Deeeeelish.
The main spread was brought out, and four types of steak were on the butcher board––a hanger-style cut, a dry aged Angus ribeye, an American wagyu strip steak, and kalbi-style short rib. Each was cooked by the staff perfectly on the grill in front of us. With the first two, we were brought a spicy Korean green onion salad with gochujang, and a miso-like condiment called ssam-jang, as well as some red lettuce leaves to make little "tacos" out of our beef. The staff had a serving suggestion for each cut. Every last one was fantastic, and of this set, the ribeye was our fave (surprise!). We also enjoyed the whole portobello mushrooms that were grilled slowly until the natural juices of the mushroom were released into the cap to create a little "shot."
With the second set of cuts, they added a couple of Korean stews, one with kimchi and the other called dwen-jang, as well as a savory egg soufflé. We were already getting pretty full and my favorite accompaniments were the scallion salad and ssam, so we didn't eat too many of these, but they also brought some amazing house-made kimchi, one made with cabbage and the other with daikon radish. So. Damn. Good. Of our latter cuts, the wagyu strip was possibly the best steak I'd had in years, and the kalbi was tasty but they cooked it a bit too hard for my liking, even when it's designed to be cooked well-done.
In the middle, we ordered something strongly recommended to round out the meal––a kimchi wagyu "paella," which was essentially fried rice made with wagyu short rib, kimchi, and a soft poached egg yolk in the pan. The staff mixed the rice for us in the pan. So damn good.
To close, we were served some delicious vanilla soft serve with soy glaze, scratching my constant itch for sweet and salty desserts. A perfect few bites to end the dinner!
What a wonderful Miami experience! Georgia was blown away and still is talking about it. We enjoyed the rest of the evening drinking with my buddy Jake at some cool bars in the hip Wynwood neighborhood, and the next day went looking for COVID tests before our flight to Lima with the top down on our convertible Mustang rental. Miami is such a fun city, and I can't wait to come back!