Since December 2022, Ariete Hospitality Group has thrilled diners with its French restaurant with a Miami twist, Brasserie Laurel. The restaurant group is the hitmaker behind Miami favorites Chug’s, Nave, The Gibson, and MICHELIN-starred Ariete. For its latest venture, Ariete stayed in-house.
Ashley Moncada, previously chef de cuisine at Ariete and integral to the restaurant earning a MICHELIN star, leads the kitchen at Brasserie Laurel. She brings nearly a decade of experience, including cooking in the French Alps and training under famed chef Michael Beltran (also the owner of Ariete), to the new restaurant.
Though it’s only been three months since the opening, Brasserie Laurel has been years in the making. “This was a project that’s been in the planning stages since I joined Ariete Hospitality Group three years ago,” Moncada says. “Beltran and I talked about the menu so often that it was ready to go by the time we started testing it.”
With the restaurant now in a groove, Moncada is excited to showcase Laurel’s take on French brasserie food. Here are three stand-out dishes to try at the restaurant.
Frog legs with celery root velouté and sauce almondine
Sautéed and deboned frog legs are served in a celery root velouté (velouté is one of the French mother sauces made with a roux and light stock) at Brasserie Laurel. Unlike a traditional velouté, Moncada cooks the sauce low and slow until it caramelizes. She also cuts the meat away from the bone, making it easier for diners to enjoy. Celery root is a nod to Beltran, who loves the ingredient and frequently uses it at his restaurant.
The dish is finished with a drizzle of almondine sauce, another French classic featuring butter and slivered almonds that gives the whole dish a nutty, creamy finish.
“This is the kind of food that defines Laurel,” Moncada says. “It’s simple, elegant, and delicious.”
Squid Provençale with oxtail, oxtail jus, Swiss chard, and preserved lemon gremolata
This dish was inspired by legendary Chicago chef Charlie Trotter, known particularly for his upscale surf and turf dishes and unusual ingredient combinations. To that end, Moncada pairs squid with oxtail, commonly used in Cuban dishes in Miami.
Moncada makes a thick, dark jus from an oxtail braise for the base of the dish. Next, squid is stuffed with braised oxtail, set on a bed of braised Swiss chard, and put in the sauce. Moncada tops the squid with preserved lemon gremolata to cut through the richness.
“While both oxtail and squid can be prepared a number of different ways, it’s not a combination that anyone is expecting, and we’re really proud of how this one came together,” Moncada says.
Guinea hen with chanterelles and crème de champignons
“Having a rotisserie dish was a no-brainer for us when it came to developing the menu at Laurel,” Moncada says.
Watching the hens on the rotisserie in the restaurant’s open-format kitchen is a big draw for diners, Moncada says. The bird comes out with theatrical flair, presented whole on a silver platter next to fresh herbs before it’s sent back to the kitchen for carving. The meat returns to the table over seasonal wild mushrooms and dark guinea hen jus.
“In our opinion, this dish is the star of the show,” Moncada says. “You can really tell how good a restaurant is by how good their chicken, or Guinea hen in this case, is and this one is great.”
Amber Love Bond is a Miami-based food + beverage writer who can typically be found somewhere delicious with her laptop in tow and a cocktail in hand. See what she’s sipping and follow her adventures on Instagram.