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Queen Miami Beach

Restaurateur Mathieu Massa Reinvents the Paris Theater as a Culinary Temple

When you enter Queen, the audacious new offering by Mathieu Massa, the sense of drama is palpable. And that’s only partly because the restaurant has landed at the historic Paris Theater in South Beach, which was built in 1945 and has appeared in music videos and on album covers, courtesy of Madonna, Jennifer Lopez and Ricky Martin. Every detail is designed to excite: The sense of arrival—of the theatrical—is heightened by the serpentine corridor that leads to the commanding dining room. (The space—which represents a glittering $40 million transformation, was designed by Carlos Rodriguez of ModPlay Studio.)

With Miami’s dining scene hotter than ever, Massa struck when the iron was hot—at precisely the moment when locals and visitors are craving ever more stimulating sensory experiences. Massa is the CEO and restaurateur behind Mr. Hospitality’s Marion and El Tucán. But Queen signals a major leap forward.
Born in Cannes, France, with a family heritage that has left a respected legacy in the European hospitality space, Massa has dedicated himself to building his profile in the Magic City. “Being in the Miami market for over 15 years, and witnessing the city’s rapid growth, I saw an opportunity with the historic Paris Theatre to create an uber-luxurious, selective, one-of-a-kind fine dining and nightlife destination,” Massa says. “Our goal will be to create the most beautiful, interesting, diverse, and fun mix of people possible, on any given night.”

Happily, the talent in the kitchen matches the glamourous décor. Chef Julien Jouhannaud, the culinary director of Massa’s company Mr. Hospitality, has overseen several Michelin-starred restaurants in New York; Alain Ducasse’s restaurants—Adour in New York and Washington, D.C.—are well-represented on his resume.

For Queen, he has crafted an expansive Japanese-influenced menu, with a full complement of sashimi and sushi (from uni to kinmedai), to a raw bar (from oysters and bigeye tuna tartare to caviar with blinis, chive, eggs, yuzu crème fraîche) and Wagyu beef (as well as USDA) selections. You can even enjoy a Wagyu roll: the tender beef is complemented by truffle sauce, onion confit and takuan, a pickled preparation of daikon radish.

Some of the most original menu items feature unfussy presentations—and brilliant flavors. If the tuna pizzetta (adorned with watermelon radish, serrano pepper and truffle) looks delicate, the taste is bold and delicious. The carpaccio surf n’ turf (thin slices of beef and king crab, dressed with crème fraîche and caviar) is equally toothsome—you’ll want to order seconds after just the first bite, especially if you’re sharing.

As the experience at Queen suggests, Massa’s ambitions are boundless. Look for additional transporting experiences later this year. Massa purchased 17,000 square feet of development site land at 427 22nd Street and 2206 Park Avenue for $13.5 million and will develop this parcel into a massive 3-story hospitality venture. Construction is to begin by the end of 2023. And as for Marion and El Tucán, total venue renovations are slated for the third quarter of 2023.

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