Hungry Posted: Restaurant Recommendation
Address:7700 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL, USA
French Ballad to Reggae
By: Andrea Becerra
For that friend searching for flavorful French food with a Miami twist.
WHAT TO EXPECT
After we’re done here, you’ll be adding Cafe Kush to your must-try restaurant list.
Located in the Selina Gold Dust, a 1950’s motel with a retro exterior. This French bistro could not have found a better home. Considered, “one of the most important examples of a 1950’s MiMo motor courtyard motel on Biscayne Boulevard,” the Gold Dust was transformed by Selina, an up and coming hotel brand.
We’re using the words “hotel brand” loosely because Selina is more than that. We looked into them and they’re redefining the next generation of travelers. Selina’s lodging is definitely for a specific crowd. Guests that will gravitate towards Selina are searching for an eclectic staycation or travel experience.
Design is not overlooked in the Selina brand or in a Kush concept. You can see this as you make your way into Cafe Kush. The bulky floral sofa booths with antique chandeliers hanging from the ceiling for some reason just make sense. The neon sign that says, “I hate you, I love you so much,” created by Camilo Rojas and Valerie Lopez of Cr-eate Design Studio is, what Matt says, ” a reflection of this year”. You can interpret the neon however you like. We’re going with: I hate you because my life has forever changed but I also love you because you taught me so much.
PHOTO BY MIRANDA KRUSE
Throughout Cafe Kush, Matt has gathered lots of gadgets and gizmos. Some of these whozits and whatzits have a story and reason for being here with us today. Others are just random. Matt wife’s third-grade participation trophy, random. The pamphlet titled, “what the fuck is my password?”, random. Then there’s the Alfreda hat box and the vintage perfume spray that are his mother’s and go with the European vibe. The Where’s Waldo? and more board games in French all from a garage sale in the Grove. Flanigan’s koozie? A subliminal message to identify the Miami natives from the rest of the world. And there’s a lot more for you to discover.
We sat outside along Little River on Riviera style checkered chairs. Sure, it wasn’t the Seine but it was magical in the most Miami way. Across the river, you could see Mario and Luigi of Mario Bros graffitied on the wall. It said “Ey Mario! Don’t you go to the strip club without me!” With single dollar bills, Mario and Luigi are headed towards Gold Rush, an adult entertainment club with cabaret dancers that has been around since the 1940s. If interested it’s currently open, you just need a reservation. Didn’t think we would plug this in but there you have it. Have yourself a French Onion Burger (more on this shortly) and head on over to Gold Rush.
In our Hungry Posted articles, we like to showcase the genre of music in a restaurant. We feel that music and food have a powerful connection. Matt gets that. He understands that the ambiance in his restaurants isn’t just about tableware, furniture and the food (although he does that really well). Music plays an important role too.
Matt hand selects every song usually between the hours of 1 AM to 3 AM. This is some serious work and it doesn’t end there. The music played at a restaurant can’t just come from your Spotify. Someone needs to pay Britney’s royalties. And that someone is a restaurant owner. Most people use Pandora for Business or a similar service that already includes the performing rights licensing fees. They pick a genre or a “mood”.
Matt takes a different route, he is constantly updating his list. He sends every song to his guy Mark, who takes care of all the legalities. Matt wants you to feel like you are in a cafe in Amsterdam or Paris. He watched 18 hours of French TV and went down a rabbit hole to gather 300 French songs. Covering anything and everything in between Édith Piaf and Brigitte Bardot. This is just for the inside of his restaurant. For the outdoor area near Little River, it’s another world. Anything from Billy Joel to Willie Colón goes.
The menu at Cafe Kush is broken down into four main sections. It includes Hors D’Oeuvres (appetizers), Sandwiches (same in French), Sope et Salades (Soups and Salads) and Les Plats Pincipeaux (main dishes). They offer a small dessert menu and lots of French wines, cocktails and draft beers.
Matt also makes a homemade Vermouth that takes a month to make. We didn’t get a chance to try it but we’re going back. You get to pick the size of your pour to add to the European vibe.
They also have a dog menu for those that want to dine outside with their pups.
WHAT TO ORDER
Most Kush concepts are known for their alligator bites. In order to re-create that bistro-style dish, Matt used frog legs. These fried frog legs or Cuisses de Grenouilles from the Gulf of Mexico are a must-order. They’re paired with three sauces: honey sriracha, bbq and our favorite, a creamy garlic sauce. The plate is also sprinkled with Old Bay seasoning which Matt puts on everything.
PHOTO BY MIRANDA KRUSE
The most popular burger is the French Onion Burger. It’s an obvious choice and you can’t go wrong with it. You know it’s a good burger when it doesn’t need ketchup. We’ll take it just the way it comes. Sauteed onions, Gruyere cheese, Parmesan crisp, truffle mayo on a challah bun with a side of French fries.
We loved the Steak Frites with creamy peppercorn sauce made with brandy. This sauce is all Chef Albert Collado. 10 years ago he was the day manager of LoKal and now he’s the executive chef at Cafe Kush. We ordered it medium rare and extra sauce for the fries.
Next time we’re back we’ll be getting the Coq au Vin. Instead of braising the chicken and mushrooms in red wine, they use Pop’s Porter beer from Wynwood Brewery. This dish is served with a side of cauliflower mash.
HOW TO SCORE A TABLE
You can make a reservation for lunch, brunch or dinner HERE. For now, you can also try walking in as they are relatively new. We think that will change as the word gets out.
COVID-19 SAFETY MEASURES
Cafe Kush provides menus with QR codes in order to keep things contactless. Their staff wears masks and customers are also required to wear masks when they get up from their table. We already mentioned the outdoor area but just to remind you it’s not only safe but picturesque. If you’re not dining out yet you can also order for takeout HERE.
HUNGRY POSTED: CAFE KUSH