Since its opening in 2017, Cote has existed as one of the premier Korean steakhouses in all of New York. With the runaway success of the concept, it had long been speculated that additional venues would be on the way. It was merely a question of where and when. Now we’ve finally got an answer: they’re going to take their talents to South Beach. Well, actually it’s the corner of 39th Street and 2nd Avenue in the heart of Miami’s Design District. But close enough. In February, doors will open on the restaurant’s first official expansion. Here’s what you can expect to find, and feast upon, once you get inside.
Owner Simon Kim, the brains behind the original concept, played an integral role in bringing to life this new 6,000 square foot space. Why did he choose this particular location—nearly 1300 miles away from where it all started? “I fell in love with the people of Miami, its vibrancy, its diversity and the booming restaurant scene,” he says, hinting at further growth in the months ahead. “I want to open Cote in places where I love to spend my time, so it’s the perfect second home for us.”
It also makes sense from a stylistic standpoint. From the start, Cote has distinguished itself as a sleek dining den with the sort of contemporary flair that wouldn’t feel out of place in South Florida. Ultimately, however, it’s a re-creation of what goes on in the back of house that will dictate success for this secondary location. In other words: top quality proteins sizzling alongside sophisticated cocktails. At its original digs in the Flatiron neighborhood of Manhattan this was the not-so-secret sauce. It was a consistent formula that resulted in multiple James Bear Award nominations and a Michelin star, three years running.
This was all before the pandemic, of course. The complete shuttering of indoor dining across the city proved particularly challenging to a place that leans heavy on the in-person experience. Charring your own cuts of wagyu, as they continually parade fresh out of the kitchen, is a primary component of the allure. It’s not so easy to translate in to-go format.
Nonetheless, Kim was quick to pivot with a nationwide shipping program known as Butcher’s Feast. For $205, home chefs receive the restaurant in box form: USDA Prime ribeye and American Wagyu from the kitchen’s own dry-aging room, short rib galbi, all manner of pickled banchan, and grilling tips from executive chef David Shim. Meats are all marbled with the ideal degree of fattiness, and seasoned with the restaurant’s signature salt blend.
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It was the best way to re-create the flavors many were missing while the indoor location remained off limits. And it still is for many curious epicures across the country. But for folks in South Florida, the real McCoy is on the imminent horizon. It promises to be an outsized experience, with plenty of those same high-grade, dry-aged cuts and chops, along with a wine list boasting more than 1200 offerings, including Miami’s largest collection of large format bottles.
When it comes to COVID safety, this new location will be one of the first restaurants purpose-built with the ‘new normal’ in mind. Cote Miami integrates two built-in systems that eject and replace air from the center of the dining room. The tabletop smokeless grills use a vacuum mechanism that will suck any contaminants away from guests at a rate of 6.6x faster than in a normal restaurant.
All told, the venue has invested half a million dollars into air quality and filtration. The cost of doing business these days is steep. As is the bill at Cote, where dinner for two typically runs upward of $400, inclusive of drinks, tax, and tip. But for those with the cash to spend, the quality of the food and drink—mindfully rendered for the Covid-era—is well worth the price of admission.