Somewhere in the midst of the cultural melting pot that is Miami is a large community of French expats that calls our beautiful city home. We have caught glimpses of its members - a coup d'oeil here, a coup d'oeil there - but we rarely get to bask in the sophisticated glory of French culture. Sometimes, out of desperation to regain our quickly loosening grasp of the French language, we sit on the fountain outside Ladurée on Lincoln and wait for a francophone with whom to chat. Alas, the days when Miami's French locals used to frequent this area are long gone. Since the crêperie closed its doors, they have been replaced by bloggers hoping for picturesque Instagrams of macarons and Lincoln Road visitors with a taste for the sweeter, finer things in life - most of which, to our dismay, can't even pronounce Ladurée.
Fortunately, deep in the heart of Miami's downtown, a beacon of hope has appeared: Downtown Bistro Miami. The self-proclaimed purveyor of French fusion food arrived to Miami earlier this year when France's recent export, Ilona, and her husband Jonathan fulfilled their dream of owning a restaurant in the up-and-coming Financial District. Since they opened their doors, they have received glowing Yelp reviews for their lunch and brunch menus (think classic French bistro options like baguette-based sandwiches) and for their excellent service. We recently had the opportunity to taste their lesser-known dinner menu, which is currently only available Wednesday through Friday from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Our visit to Downtown Bistro Miami was the Miami French experience for which we have been yearning. Consistent with French culture, the twelve-course dinner was a celebration of cooking and eating. The meal was long; the food was rich and delicious; and, the wine was free-flowing. Best of all, we got to dust off our French while eavesdropping on some of the staff's conversations. Our evening at Downtown Bistro Miami was reminiscent of the dinners we used to enjoy during that pre-college summer we spent in Provence. Join us in our culinary reverie courtesy of our favorite food snapshots from the night. Bon appetit!
|Carpaccio de poulpe, tomates sautées et vinaigrete tropical // Octopus carpaccio with sautéed cherry tomatoes and lemon passionfruit vinaigrette|
|Escargots à la crème // Snails in a heavenly cream sauce|
|Le steak tartare au couteau // Raw filet mignon cut by hand, capers, onions, anchovies, dijon mustard and a quail egg|
|Médaillon de chèvre frit sur potiron et roquette avec senteurs de truffe // Fried goat cheese medallion on pumpkin purree, arugula and truffle oil|
|Caprese de pastèque tiède avec mozzarella de buffalo, huile de truffe et miette de prosciutto croquant // Warm watermelon and buffalo mozzarella caprese, truffle oil, and crispy prosciutto crumbs|
|Ravioli de short rib, sauce quatre fromage, gambas pochées et asperges // Short rib ravioli with four cheese sauce, poached shrimp and asparagus|
|Variation de desserts // Chocolate mousse, raspberry tartalette, crème brûlée and fried Oreo|
To which culture(s) do you like to be exposed? What culture did you first discover in Miami? What is your favorite part of your culture that you like to share? What language did you take in school that you now forgot? What is your favorite classic French dish? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami!