A friend raved about DB Bistro Moderne and their famous burgers when it first opened, so it was on this diner’s Miami Spice bucket list. Reservations were made through Open Table for 8:30 p.m. on a recent Saturday night for six- three couples who all wanted to try Miami Spice.
All parking is valet at the JW Marriot Marquis hotel, but is complimentary for guests dining at DB. The hotel's elegant entrance, in the heart of downtown Miami, leads to DB Bistro.
Checking in at the hostess stand, one of the couples dining awaited our party in the stylish bar connected to the dining room. The dining room, with its sixteen foot ceilings and contemporary design, has a sophisticated feel. The ambience is hip, fun and elegant.
“That is a famous person sitting next to us,” noted a diner at our table.
No one recognizable- an artist, hip hop star, tech mogul perhaps- but DB has that kind of vibe to it; it feels like the kind of place diners are likely to rub elbows with the rich and famous. It also feels, in its own way, very Miami, with a French accent.
The accommodating waiter, who waited while the conversation at the table died down, explained, in detail, the options on Miami Spice. Asked about the appetizer of squab ballontine en croute, he explained it was squab mixed with bacon and seasonings, wrapped in a pastry and served chilled with brown mustard, shallot vinaigrette and pistachio oil. He did an excellent job of selling it, because five of the six diners ordered it.
The meal at DB was an education in food, particularly deconstructed French fare. The squab en croute was a winner. The presentation was lovely, with dots of dark mustard on one side of the two sliced rounds and a mound of shallot vinaigrette on the other. The pickled vegetables, a sliced radish and gherkin, came next to a small salad of butter lettuce. The rich pate flavor of the squab, with the tart vinaigrette, tangy mustard and crunchy veggies, was a lovely mix and contrast of flavors and textures.
One diner got the burratta with heirloom tomatoes, black olive panisse and pine nut pesto. The creamy burrata (mozzarella with a creamy center) was served with sliced cherry tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, on a tangle of arugula, with drops of green olive oil garnishing the white plate. The only complaint was a lack of salt (there was no salt on the table) and the need for a bit of acidity.
The bread served at DB was a soft olive bread and pillowy, cheesy gourgeres. The lovely golden cheese puffs had a bit of heat to them and were a nice change of pace from the standard bread basket.
The entrees offered for Miami Spice were: short rib ravioli, brochette de poisson, grilled pork chops and the famous Frenchie Burger. All options were ordered.
This diner’s selection, the short rib ravioli, was a luscious blend of pillowy pasta, stuffed with rich short rib meat, in a creamy parmesan truffle sauce, with accents of sautéed broccoli rabe, meaty oyster mushrooms and roasted corn. A hunk of short rib was set atop the ravioli, just to gild the lily. It was a rich and delicious dish.
The Frenchie burger, a lovely mound of beef covered in melted morbier cheese, came with arugula, tomato compote, and caramelized onions on a soft brioche bun. It looked amazing. French fries in a metal cup came on the side.
The grilled pork chop was a huge meaty chop, served with Greek accompaniments of piquillo pepper hummus, Greek salad, tzatziki sauce and lemon pork jus. While this diner didn’t sample the dish, the diners who ordered it found it so good, none was left on the plate.
The brochette du poisson, a fish skewer, came with wahoo and shrimp, served atop a mound of minted tabouleh, with a citrus sauce. This lighter option, among the heavy, meat-centric entrees was appreciated.
Service was very good, but never intrusive. Water glasses were refilled promptly, salt requested was brought out, red wine flowed freely. Descriptions of dishes were detailed and accurate.
Dessert was this diner’s favorite part of the meal. Each plate came out looking like a work of art.
The coconut panna cotta was a solid pool under the guava foam, vanilla lime strudel and jackfruit sorbet. The scoops of orange colored sorbet on the white panna cotta, created a sunny side-up egg look. It was a beautiful presentation and a lighter, fresh and fruity option to the other rich desserts.
Another winner was the chocolate cremosa, a chocolate pudding like dish made with chocolate and olive oil. It came with a hazelnut biscuit, passion fruit and gianduya (hazelnut and chocolate) ice cream, shaped in a quenelle.
The favorite dessert for this diner was the black forest cake, a generous slice of rich chocolate cake with poached dark cherries, topped with chocolate shavings. It came with an amazing pistachio ice cream, with finely ground pistachios suspended in it, chocolate cremeux and white chocolate.
Since all members in the party got Miami Spice, each meal was capped at $39 per person. The two bottles of wine (at $60 a pop) did leave a dent in the budget, but this meal, with good friends, was worth it.
Overall, the attention to detail in the food, gracious service and beautiful setting make diners feel pampered and welcome here. This would definitely be a spot to return, especially for a special occasion. Don’t forget to check the Miami Spice website www.ilovemiamispice.com for the current menu, as it changes on a regular basis.
As mentioned before, DB sent this diner to her culinary dictionary. Squab, morbier cheese, piquillo pepper and gianduja chocolate aren’t ingredients diners encounter on a regular basis; they sound more like ingredients found in a surprise basket of Chopped.
This is food that makes you think, with ingredients and portions that allow you to savor every bite. Somehow, it all comes together beautifully (and deliciously) at DB Bistro.
DB Bistro Moderne
255 Biscayne Boulevard
Miami, FL 33131