Azul at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel

Azul is the Mandarin Oriental Hotel’s signature restaurant. With a beautifully built white marble open kitchen and raw bar, and floor to ceiling windows providing picturesque views of the harbor, you become speechless.
Beautiful display of the wine selection
At Azul, Chef Joel Huff blends modern European flavors with American influences. A native from California, he studied at CIA (no not your government agency, but the Culinary Institute of America) and worked in several restaurants in the area before traveling to Asia (Thailand and Japan) and Europe. He also moved on to Australia where he worked in Tetsuya’s restaurant. Esquire magazine has named him one of “Four Chefs to Watch” and he has been praised by critics and the media in the United States. Before moving to Miami, he worked as Sous Chef at Asiate in the Mandarin Oriental New York. All in all, he conducted an international research on food to provide cutting-edge cuisine; something different that clients would not expect. I was expecting the same. 

With a dramatic decor such as this, you might be a bit overwhelmed. I was afraid that the menu could not keep up but the menu featured eclectic dishes such as miso-marinated hamachi, Loin of Colorado Lamb with harrisa and “A Study in Tuna Roll,” Raw Tuna, Tempura Avocado, Asian Sauces with Ossetra Caviar. 

What was ordered:

Amuse-Bouche: Crostini, Mousse of Foie gras and Blackberry jelly

Appetizers

Mixed Seafood Ceviche; Tostones, Habanero, Sweet Potato and Avocado

Beautifully-presented dish with your run-in-the-mill ceviche taste. 

Maine Lobster Salad; Carrot-Coconut Emulsion, Heart of Palm, Grapefruit and Avocado

The Tostones

It wasn’t so much a salad but the blend of avocado and lobster went very well together. 

Tomato Gazpacho

Main dishes

Risotto di Mare; Snapper, Scallops, Clams, Mussels, Calamari, Saffron


Brown butter poached Halibut; Toasted Pita and Heirloom Tomato Salad, Minted Yoghurt, Brown butter cashews, Maine Lobster

Love the vibrant green color of the minted Yoghurt and the layered tomatoes


Milk-fed Veal Chop “Oscar”; Alaskan King Crab, Crispy Potato, Garlic Hollandaise


With all the hype that has been given to Azul and Chef Joel Huff; I guess I was a bit disappointed or perhaps had way too high expectations of what I was going to eat. Thinking about it the other day, perhaps living in Paris and eating the food that is part of the new wave in cuisine has made me loyal and a true believer in this new generation that is coming up. I was expecting something that would make me go ‘wow; I didn’t see that coming’ or ‘these flavors don’t seem like they go together but they do! Ingenius idea’ but Paris has so far been the only place where I can say that loud and proud.

I feel that I have perhaps provided a one-sided view on Azul. Don’t get me wrong, Azul is not a bad restaurant. Actually, I think for U.S standards, this restaurant is one that is fine dining and provides more eclectic suggestions than many restaurants in the area. The staff is attentive, the restaurant is beautifully decorated and Chef Huff provides clients with a unique blend of ingredients and textures. However, if Azul was found to be in a boxing ring with a restaurant in Paris featuring new wave tendencies, the battle will not be won…for now. I think we are waiting for the U.S to experience this revolutionized view and take on cuisine and once they have accepted it and take it on, U.S food culture will ultimately change. 

Azul at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel

500 Brickell Key Drive
Miami, FL 33131
Tel: (305) 913-8288


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Comments
One Response to “Azul at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel”
  1. Roberto says:

    Loved the review, cool rest… but…

    you are always honest with your feelings and food… lov that! 🙂

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