photo credit: Kris Tamburello

Dirty French Steakhouse review image

Dirty French Steakhouse


1200 Brickell Ave, Miami
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Every generation craves the past. Oh, they wonder, what must it have been like to live back then?

Dirty French is a Brickell steakhouse that tries to answer that question. The interior is an amalgamation of late ‘70s and ‘80s cocaine dinner party energy, set to an endless loop of top 40 disco hits with a cast of servers dressed for the class of 1985’s prom. There is a wildlife reserve worth of animal print spread throughout the segmented restaurant, which splits into two dining rooms. In one, it’s all mirrored surfaces and crystal chandeliers. In the other, white tablecloths, zebra striped chairs, and a reptilian red lighting that makes diners look like pet lizards regulating their body temperatures.

Dirty French Steakhouse review image

photo credit: Major Food Group

But despite the best efforts of its heavy-handed aesthetics, Dirty French just doesn't feel like the kind of classic establishment with bartenders who’ve worked through multiple presidential administrations. It’s a reproduction—a glitchy, inconsistent one that proves there is no cheat code for nostalgia.

That’s not to say fun is nowhere in sight at Dirty French. Dinner here can feel like Halloween. It’s an excuse to visit that obnoxiously ‘80s section of your closet and dive headfirst into a cliche for one night. The martinis are cold and delicious, and the menu’s full of old school steakhouse staples that are hit-or-miss, but nonetheless presented with the oomph befitting an era when illicit stimulants were treated like daily multivitamins. If you’re not paying, even better.

Dirty French Steakhouse review image

photo credit: Kris Tamburello

And yet, there are bound to be moments during dinner that snap the illusion of retro indulgence. It might happen while waiting for your table at the bar, a punishingly shiny room you've been exiled to for 47 minutes even though you had a reservation. It could happen while cutting into your too-fatty prime rib with a neon pink steak knife. Or maybe it occurs during a bite of the stale bread that accompanies your oysters bourguignon, as you simultaneously recoil and spot a single Yeezy sticking out from beneath a white tablecloth.

Dirty French just doesn’t feel like an honest trip down memory lane. It’s not a true classic. Not yet. And it’s going to be a long time before this place earns the right to be such a frustrating dining experience.

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Food Rundown

Dirty French Steakhouse review image

photo credit: Major Food Group

Giant Grilled Oysters Bourguignon

The only thing that’s really “giant” on this plate are the oyster shells themselves. The oysters, which shrink a bit in the grilling process, are fine—but absolutely drenched in a wet blanket of garlic and parsley. Skip this. You get the same flavors—done much better and for free—with the garlicky flatbread that hits the table when you sit down.

Shrimp Cocktail

This order includes six fairly large, tasty shrimp sprinkled with chives. It’s served with a solid house cocktail sauce and what’s supposed to be a spicy remoulade—although it’s not very spicy at all.

Dirty French Steakhouse review image

photo credit: Major Food Group

Mushroom Millefeuille

Visually, this is really impressive: dozens of thin slices of mushroom arranged in a square, served on top of a green curry with some peas. It’s ornate, but when you start to disassemble the layers and eat, it’s pretty one dimensional. All you really taste are very thin sheets of pretty good mushroom.

Dirty French Steakhouse review image

photo credit: Major Food Group

Prime Rib

If you’re craving one of those big, impossible-to-finish portions of prime rib, this version should satisfy. It’s brought to the table, promptly drenched in jus, and served with a side of crème fraîche. You can order it for one ($75) or two ($155), but don’t hesitate to split this with the whole table. Dirty French’s version is very fatty, really salty, and you will need multiple ice cold martinis to power through it on your own.

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