Chef Daniel Boulud hails from Lyon, France and has opened an abundance of award winning restaurants in cities such as New York, Beijing, Vancouver, West Palm, and finally, Miami. His soulful dishes, inspired by traditional French cooking, are beautiful to look at and quite an indulgence to taste. Every detail in his restaurant is carried out to perfection—from the décor, to the to plate aesthetics, to the food flavors.
Db Bistro Moderne, which opened back in February of last year in the JW Marriott (downtown Miami) has a rich elegance that is incomparable. When my friend, Brooks, asked me to get some dinner with him there I could hardly wait. I spent the hour prior to going on my phone reading over the menu…again, and again, and again. I was salivating at the mere descriptions of the food, which were so detailed you could almost imagine the taste. I think that a lot of restaurants make the mistake of not describing their menu items in enough detail, but this is certainly not the case at Db Bistro! Here, if it is on the plate, then it is in the description.
Despite having poured over the menu for almost an hour, I still found it hard to make my final selection once at the restaurant. So I did what I often do, and asked the waiter to name the five most popular menu items. Without hesitation (no “depends on what you’re in the mood for” bullshit), he lists off his favorite five dishes. And when I asked about the beef bourguignon, which I was tempted to order, he was astonishingly honest and told me that there were better things to try. So I ordered my meal based on his suggestions, had not one regret! To start, I tried the Tomato Tarte Tatin which is puff pastry with tomato confit, herbed goat cheese, frisee, atop a swirl of basil pesto sauce. Although the combination of the cheese and puff pastry sounds a bit heavy, the dish actually came off surprisingly light. The dough was flaky and buttery…just kind of crumbled when poked with the fork, and the cheese was creamy and flavorful. I had originally been expecting freshly sliced tomatoes with the tarte, but when it was brought out I noticed that it was actually like stewed tomatoes (almost looked like a red sauce, with roasted tomato slices). Actually, when all of the elements combined in my mouth it tasted like a super gourmet pizza. The most interesting element on the plate, however, was the basil pesto. I took the pesto for granted as a garnish when I first saw the dish, but once I got a little taste, I couldn’t seem to get enough. The pesto is very thin and almost looks watered-down, but the strength of flavor is unexpected and incredible. Such a miniscule element, but it really pulls the whole plate together.
Brooks had the Tuna Crudo with harissa-sesame sauce, cucumber radish, and crispy rice. Again, every element of the plate had a punch of flavor that lended itself well with the others. The tuna was prepared in small one-inch cubes and a total of 6 or 8 were served on the plate. I tried one, and the flavors just exploded in my mouth. I had really expected it to taste dull like tuna sashimi, but what a pleasant surprise. This is certainly a place where you eat the garnish!! Daniel doesn’t put anything on the plate that doesn’t enhance or compliment the food. There is no senseless parsley garnish or pickle to be wasted here. Every element of the dish is meticulously planned and the layers of flavor just build and build.
As my main entrée, I ordered The Orignal Db Burger, which is a sirloin burger stuffed with braised short ribs and foie gras served on a parmesan bun accompanied by a small pale of pomme frites. And, I think that’s about all I need to say! I mean, beef + short ribs + foie gras (all in one bite) = sheer bliss. The only way that this burger could have possibly gotten any better is if it was void of calories. But since this is impossible, it was utter perfection. I have never experienced a burger like this, and I really don’t think I would even call it a burger because it is just on another level. Obviously, I crushed the entire thing…much to Brook’s disappointment I think, because I sensed he was feigning for a few more bites (I’m not generous with sharing food I love)! His dish—the tasting of Lamb which included roasted loin, merguez, sweet and sour eggplant couscous, croquette, sheeps milk yogurt, and lamb jus—was also very good, but didn’t hold a candle to my divine burger. Also, the lamb was unfortunately a little over-cooked. The flavors were still great but definitely an apparent cooking error.
Just as I was tucking my now pregnant-looking belly down into the elastic waistband of my leggings, the server brought over the dessert menu. I was already stuffed beyond capacity, but each and every dessert taunted me…enticing my sweet tooth. Again, I asked the server what was best and finally agreed to let him just surprise us. He chose something that I wouldn’t have ordered for myself, but it was fabulous. It was tiny oatmeal raisin cookies, complimented by Jameson flavored ice cream and a dense chocolate mousse (it had the flavor of a mousse but did not have the air bubbles). Of course there was also homemade whipped cream and drizzled chocolate on top too! It was really refreshing and hit the spot with just a few spoonfuls. We also tried some of the Warm Madeleines, which were very light and had a terrific infusion of lemon flavor. They were topped with a generous sprinkling of powdered sugar and were small enough to just effortlessly pop into your mouth again, and again, and again.
Overall, the meal was fantastic and I think that I will forever have cravings for that orgasmic burger. I am better off for having experienced it in this lifetime.