It seems that whenever I visit Miami I tend to look for the newer and trendier restaurants. Too often I’m just not impressed and find that the reality isn’t anywhere near the hype.
But on my recent road trip south I decided to take a different tack and chose a small, unassuming French restaurant in Coconut Grove called Le Bouchon du Grove. It was rustic and cramped and it was wonderful.
My companion and I were given a table up front, covered but facing the sidewalk, and sipped a complimentary glass of Champagne we'd been offered and nibbled on French bread with real butter while we waited for our dinners to arrive.
We used some of that bread to sop up the garlicky parsley butter from our escargot appetizer. The snails were served in the typical six-segment dish, bubbling hot, but we discovered that some of the segments held more than just one snail. A delicious lagniappe.
For my entree I selected a tradition boeuf Bourguignon, the red wine stew with lots of tender beef hunks plus some tomatoes and pearl onions. It was served over fettuccine and was quite filling.
My companion chose the confit duck legs, made in house, and served with wonderfully fatty roasted potatoes. The skin of the duck legs was golden and crispy and the flesh beneath it was moist and savory.
The young man who greeted us and eventually waited on us was reluctant to seat us initially. The restaurant had too many reservations and too few staff. But he acquiesced when we assured him we would vacate the table before his busy hour.
And when that hour approached and we asked him for the check so that he could turn the table, he told us to take our time if we wanted. Several of the reservations had called to cancel or just didn’t show up. Maybe they found tables at one of those trendier restaurants, but they missed out on a perfectly pleasant meal.