The restaurant will be the crown jewel of a $45 million renovation project for the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach. If the hotel wants to become a leader in the local food scene, this is certainly one way to do it.
— Erika Adams
If you ran one of the world’s top restaurants and were making your first foray into America, where would you go? New York? Los Angeles, the country’s current dining hot spot?
Chef Mauro Colagreco of Mirazur in Provence, the third-ranked venue on the World’s 50 Best Restaurant list, has chosen Florida.
In mid November, Colagreco will open his first U.S. property, Florie’s, at the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach; this will be a final piece in the property’s recent $45 million renovation.
Florie’s will be a very different prospect from Mirazur, a restaurant that resembles an old James Bond villan’s hangout, perched in the mountains above the French Riviera. The family-owned, 40-seat Mirazur focuses on produce from the garden and local seafood. In Palm Beach, his space will have 200 seats in one of the world’s most recognizable hotel chains, the Four Seasons Holdings Inc., in a city that isn’t known for its world class restaurants.
Nadim Ashi, owner of the Four Seasons property, offered the space to Colagreco so the property could become a leader in the Palm Beach food scene and advance the level of dining in the area.
“It is an ideal place for me with all the similarities it has with my home in the South of France. The sun, the water, the good products,” says Colagreco, over email. “The setting and the atmosphere will combine into a culinary direction that is Mediterranean-inspired on one hand, and locally-rooted through the products and the people on the other.”
Colagreco’s menu at Florie’s will include his signature “sharing bread and poem”: a fresh-baked loaf resembling a curled up starfish with a bowl of lemony olive oil and an ode to bread by Pablo Neruda (the chef calls it: “an essential milestone in my vision of what a meal should be”). Another familiar dish will be his entrée of lamb shoulder, sweet potatoes, dates, walnuts and black sesame sauce, and a dessert of white chocolate mousse with passion fruit ice cream.
But Colagreco estimates that 80 percent of the menu will be new, with a particular emphasis on local fish and citrus. The chef, who was born in Argentina and trained with icons like Alain Ducasse in France, is assembling an arsenal of live fire to cook dishes that represent his background and the Mediterranean menu. There will be a wood-burning oven, a yakitori grill, and the spit-roasting rotisserie styled instrument, ‘à la broche.’ Colagreco is particularly excited to introduce his lobster a la broche, a Floridian take on rotisserie chicken, with lime and herbs. He’ll also offer dishes like eggplant and mozzarella with Parmesan cream from the oven, and Wagyu beef with red peppers from the yakatori grill.
Among new appetizers Colagreco will offer hamachi crudo with citrus and macadamia milk, as well as chilled watermelon consomme with chorizo oil.
There will, of course, be Florida-hotel staples: pizzas and pastas; selections are still being finalized according to Colagreco.
The bar will feature seasonal, produce driven drinks; sommelier Jessica Altieri oversees the wine list which is 100 percent sustainable.
After having just one restaurant for almost a decade, Colagreco has been on a roll of opening new places over the past four years, from the Grand Coeur brasserie in Paris to the Azur hotel in Beijing’s Shangri La hotel and BFire in the skiing town of Courchevel, France. He says he is open to more Four Seasons collaborations around the world. “Why not? “ he asks. “If it’s a fruitful collaboration, I’m always open for a challenge.”
Colagreco’s profile in the U.S. is relatively low compared to other World’s 50 Best chefs like Rene Redzepi and Massimo Bottura; that will change with Florie’s.
But Colagreco won’t promise that Florie’s will appear on the World’s 50 Best list. “Florie’s is going to be quality-orientated in the choice of products and how they are sourced locally,” he says. It’s not his explicit plan to aim for the list, he explains. “But I will push my team in that direction.”
©2018 Bloomberg L.P.