A restaurant alongside Auberge Beach Residences and Spa, the exclusive and dramatic spot on the beach between Sunrise and Oakland Park boulevards, was never going to open discreetly. But Laurent Tourondel is used to the high-pressure culinary world that comes with big, splashy openings.
“(There was) big pressure on me and on the rest of the team to really open and operate from day one and be up to the standard, the expectation of the people,” he says of DUNE by Laurent Tourondel, his new venture. The pressure was perhaps even more acute because there had previously been a restaurant, also called DUNE, in the location. It opened in 2018 when Auberge was preparing to receive its first residents and closed last summer. The new restaurant was completely redesigned, while Tourondel set about redesigning the menu.
The previous DUNE was great, he says. “They wanted more, they wanted different,” he says. “I think we achieved that so far. Now we have to keep it up and go farther.”
Tourondel has made a career of going farther. The native of France worked in top kitchens in London, Moscow and New York before beginning his own restaurant empire, which today includes restaurants in Europe, Asia and North America, including five New York City establishments.
He was already familiar with Miami, but finds the Fort Lauderdale scene to be its own thing. “We’re trying to put a bit more exotic flavor on it,” he says. There’s one style of seafood he knows goes down well in the Sunshine State. “We know and understand that Florida loves sushi,” he says. “So we put always a sushi bar – we barely can keep up with sushi.”
The restaurant sits on the beach, with a patio that opens onto the sand. It’s a location that inspires, and Tourondel has ambitions.
“The evolution of a restaurant from day one to a year from now is completely different,” he says. “It’s pushing the limits.
“I always push myself to do something. Instead of a copycat of things that have been done in the past, I always try to do something new.”
That said, he’s not interested in an overly sophisticated menu and wants a place where neighbors can dine three or four times a week if they’d like.
The nigiri selection, he says, is all new. This is his first time including flatbreads on a menu. He’s tweaked the dessert menu.
“Some of that is what keeps me going,” he says, “and what keeps for the restaurant some freshness.”
The Dish: Grilled Lamb Chops with Oregano, Polenta Cake, Tomato.
- 500g polenta
- 1400g water
- 10g salt
- 50g butter
- 50g microplane parmesan
Start with cold water and add polenta and mix to break clumps, turn heat to med high and season with salt. Keep mixing so no clumps form in the bottom of pot. Once polenta starts coming together continue to mix at a lower heat, check for seasoning. Once polenta is cooked and no grains are left to taste, take off heat and mix in butter and parmesan microplane. Let mixture rest for 5 min and place in piping bag. Place plastic wrap on a prep table and pipe polenta along the plastic wrap. Roll up gently and shape the polenta as you go. Keep rolled inside cooler for 24 hours. Next day slice into cylinders and cover in Wonda flour and sear on plancha each side.
Marinate in olive oil with rosemary, thyme and garlic. When ready to grill take them out of the marinade and season both sides with salt and pepper. Cook each side for 3 minutes and set aside to rest. Pour some herb oil over the lamb chops and serve with polenta cakes and tomato mix, garnish with fresh picked oregano.
- 50g oregano, fresh
- 50g parsley, fresh
- 250g olive oil
Chop oregano and parsley and mix with olive oil.
- 300g tomato concasse
- 70g shallots
- 30g chives
- 200g olive oil
First blanch the tomatoes to remove the skin, then dice tomatoes. Dice the shallots and slice chives and mix all together.