Meat me at Cote Miami

I know you want to know.

Yes, it’s worth the hype.

After three visits, I can conclude that COTE Korean Steakhouse is a welcomed and excellent addition to the Miami dining scene.

Michelin-starred in its flagship New York City location, the much-talked-about opening of this upscale barbecue steakhouse had many local food enthusiasts anxiously awaiting, and others unsure of its arrival. And with good reason. Not many outside concepts work in Miami as they would in other cities. Too often, our diners flock to the shiny spots only to drop them faster than dollar bills at E11EVEN the second a new celebrity magnet restaurant arrives. Time and time again, the downfall is usually overzealous chefs and restaurant groups thinking the business can survive long-term solely on name recognition. Yeah, no. Take that, plus a pandemic and, well, you are almost doomed before arrival.

So far, everything indicates COTE has staying power. The journey to the Miami Design District was already in place way before the pandemic hit, and New Yorkers invaded our city (are they gone yet? Kidding. Maybe) in droves. Located on the corner of NE 39th St and 2nd Ave, COTE’s neon signature signage confirms you have found the correct spot. Funny side story, I actually worked in that exact same space in the very late 90s when it was an interior design and retail shop. Shocking, but I prefer this experience much better.

What to expect?

The heavy pink-hazed cave entrance reminded me of Chicago’s (pre-renovation) Alinea. Both equally lead with visuals and prep the diner for a tour of the senses before one has even set foot inside the dining room. But first, you will have to clear the host stand to confirm a valid reservation, and a temperature check. Guests are then escorted to the oval standup-only bar anchoring the space. The vibe, sexy, electric, and contagious, somehow still feels intimate throughout the 5,892 square-foot restaurant. Despite most grills actively working, the smoke is undetectable. Smokeless tabletop grills center each table and use a strong downdraft suction to remove all surrounding air and eject it out of the building. Think of this as the most Covid-safe inside tables in all of Miami. Don’t fear the grills. The beef is proudly presented tableside and then cooked for you. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy your wine while your food cooks. COTE has also added the state-of-the-art Paragon Dedicated Outdoor Air System to improve air circulation further by a minimum of 16.5 times per hour. As an added precaution, booths are partitioned with glass.

Where is the macaroni and cheese?

Not here, and you won’t miss it for a second.

Not skipping a beat, the staff at COTE enthusiastically parades through the space with intent and purpose; it’s clear, this is a team effort. Someone continuously checks on your table, refills water and wine glasses, promptly switches out silverware and stemware, and supervises the meat on the grill, making any necessary adjustments. COTE takes great pride in the domestic Prime grade (dry-aging select cuts in-house), all-natural American wagyu hybrid, and imported Japanese wagyu (only sourcing A5, the highest grade, with marbling scores of 8 – 12) served.

There’s something on the menu for every mood and appetite. The Steak Omakase experience features seven different cuts: the American Black Angus, Japanese wagyu, dry-aged NY strip, dry-aged ribeye, skirt steak, filet mignon, and the signature COTE marinated short rib. The sides do not include any of the usual traditional steakhouse staples like loaded potatoes, and creamed spinach. However, they do include Ban-Chan (amuse-bouche with seasonal vegetables), Jan-chi Somyun (delightful Korean angel hair with piping hot clear anchovy consommé), Bi-bim Somyun (unexpectedly cold and refreshing Korean angel hair with apples and iceberg lettuce, gochujang vinaigrette), Savory Egg Souffle (organic egg and kelp yooksoo you won’t want to share), Red Leaf Lettuce with ssamjang, and a Scallion Salad (mixed greens, gochujang vinaigrette).  

Know that no matter what you order, the staff will course everything out and keep things at a steady pace. During my last visit, the Butcher’s Feast included the hanger steak, flatiron steak, dry-aged ribeye, and the signature COTE marinated galbi. The sides were the same as with the Steak Omakase, minus the angel hair courses. Now that I have a better idea of the dishes I enjoy most, I feel the Butcher’s Feast offers more flexibility by allowing more room to order several additional items off the menu to round out dinner. If possible, I suggest splurging on the Steak & Eggs (hand-cut filet mignon tartare with Kaluga Royal Hybrid caviar, milk toast), the decadent Korean “Bacon” (house-smoked crispy heritage pork belly, pickled jalapeño, Korean mustard), and the Kimchi Wagyu “Paella” (kkakdooki kimchi, wagyu beef fried rice, soft-poached egg). Dinner concludes with a glorious vanilla soft serve, topped with soy sauce caramel.

And the vino?

Great care and detail also went into the development of the beverage program. Similar to the New York list, the bible wine menu highlights small wine producers committed to sustainable practices, and offers something in every price range. Their wines by the glass are poured out of magnums bottled just for COTE, directly from the wineries. I suggest studying the overwhelming list way ahead of your visit. Prefer to bring your own bottle? The corkage fee is $65. A new Sommelier Supper Series just kicked off. Topics for September include syrah, biodynamic wines, the Pacific Northwest, and Australian wines. The cocktail list flaunts a tropical flair perfectly fitting South Florida. I’m a fan of the Mutiny “Coconut Delight” (Don Julio Tequila, Cocchi Americano, Coconut Water, Green Tea, and Lime).

Additional Tidbits

To reserve, head to Opentable or the SEVENROOMS platform. If you do not see your desired date on SEVENROOMS, you can submit a request. Should a reservation become available, they will reach out and confirm.

Parking is found street-side or in nearby easily accessible garages.

There is no outside seating.

Takeout and delivery are not available.

For the optimal experience, I suggest dining in a group of 4-6.

Dress code is listed as business casual, but expect an even mix of “Miami chic” and “Miami casual” instead. South Floridians don’t do “business casual” very well. Ya tu sabes.

COTE will impress with its quality food, wine, and outstanding friendly service— Miami’s ultimate (and only) Korean steakhouse fine dining experience. Donning posh Louboutins, not required.

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COTE Miami

3900 NE 2nd Ave

Miami, FL 33137