On an unassuming block of Downtown Miami lies Fooq’s – a restaurant that’s quickly climbing the ranks as one of the city’s best. Owner David Foulquier (past stints include working under Daniel Bouloud, Jean George, and local favorite Gigi) brought on executive chef Nicole Votano, (famous as Michelle Bernstein’s right-hand woman), and the two are making some gastronomic magic in the Magic City.
Foulquier, a Manhattan native with a Persian and French background, took over the former NeMesis space to create a global and refined menu using a farm-to-kitchen approach. Chef Votano, a graduate of the Institute Culinary Center in New York City and best known for her home-style cooking at Crumb on Parchment, is combining her own worldview (“Italian raised, French trained, Mexican married,” as she puts it) with Foulquier’s passion for Italian, French, and Persian flavors to create a menu that can be best described as international feel good cuisine.
The menu features dishes such as the unexpected “Trio of Jars” whose contents rotate, but recently were filled with smoked trout rillettes, Maple Brook Farms burrata with local veggies, and a duck liver mousse; “Crack Head Shrimp” with a sauce made from the heads of royal red shrimp, saffron, and orange; and the flavor-bursting Persian pomegranate chicken stew known as Fesenjoon with crispy basmati rice “Tadig,” a staple in Foulquier’s childhood home. Those lovely dishes aside, many diners will likely return for Votano’s meatballs alone, as the juicy mix of ground brisket, Berkshire pork, San Marzano tomato sauce, Parmigiano-Reggiano, basil, and garlic pack a serious flavor punch.
The wine rack, filled with selections hand-chosen by Foulquier, is out in the open and reached by ladder, so choose wisely.
For lunch, the restaurant will serve a 1920s-inspired “Blue Plate Special:” a selection of the chef’s favorite dishes that are affordably priced.
The delights of Fooq’s don’t begin or end with the food. The cozy restaurant boasts thoughtful interior design from local favorite Jennifer Bianco. The hunter green walls, copper tones, hung photographs of different world destinations, and bookcase filled with well-worn cookbooks and coral sculptures come together to create a cool, hom-like feel inspired by legendary Catalan designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán. An trust us: you won’t want to miss the bathrooms, complete with a Grateful Dead-inspired mural by Belgian Grafitist Novadead, best known for his giant Jerry Garcia mural in Midtown Miami.