South Beach’s Cha Cha Rooster has something to crow about in its Sunday brunch, an often-changing buffet of hot and cold items plus a “plateau de seafood” with oysters, snow crab legs, mussels and shrimp on ice and a charcuterie platter with pickled gherkins and pearl onions.
Olivier Guichot-Pierre, a restaurateur from Paris, bought the restaurant a year ago. He kept the name and hired chef Thierry Goulard, a native of Brittany who had worked in New York for three decades. Both wanted to be in a warm climate and liked the Art Deco setting in the Lords Hotel with the eatery on the lower level, done in mod style with black and white photos that evoke the 1960s.
The face of the place is manager Fahima Haddar Smith, who was born in Algeria, grew up on the French Riviera and married an American she met while on holiday here.
Thirty or more dishes are refreshed throughout the five-hour brunch. There are lots of salads, including tangy Israeli pearl couscous; North African couscous with bits of tomato, bell pepper and currants; grated carrots with a hint of cumin and haricot verts tossed in creamy vinaigrette with red onions, to name a few.
Popular hot dishes include lasagna layered with seasoned ground beef and béchamel, ratatouille, seafood paella and chicken cacciatore “hunter’s style” braised with garlic in tomato sauce with wine. (It’s said that if a hunter didn’t bring home a rabbit, his wife made the dish with chicken.)
There’s also a station with roasted potatoes, bacon and sausages, and you can ask for eggs any way and sweet or savory crepes to order.
Cheeses, flan and Key lime pie end the repast. Plunge pools and a bar wait on the patio to make the day cock-a-doodle dandy.
Linda Bladholm is a Miami food writer and personal chef who blogs at FoodIndiaCook.com.