Daniel Gonzalez has a wealth of culinary knowledge. After working in a continental restaurant, he managed the argentinean steak house Rinc?n Argentino. He brings that know-how to French Bistro, a casual eatery offering French, continental, and steak-house cuisine. The menu is filled with French dishes, including escargot swimming in garlic butter and chicken normandy drizzled with a rich asparagus sauce. Myriad cuts of steak and seafood meals are available, and other European-influenced dishes dot the menu, such as gnocchi in a red sauce and chicken parmigiana served with an Italian flag as a napkin.
The staff at Le Monde des Crepes strives to make everything about the dining experience authentically French, from the delectable crepes to the countertop Eiffel Tower. Bedecked in red and black, the chefs roll chicken crepes such as the Opulence—marinated chicken breast mixed with artichoke, hearts of palm, portobello mushrooms, mozzarella, and fresh basil. Their desserts include the nutty bananas-foster crepe, a sweet concoction of Häagen-Dazs ice cream with sliced bananas, walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, melted butter, and a dash of Grand Marnier. Unlike most meals, which usually end in a solemn handshake, meals at Le Monde des Crepes end with a sweet milkshake or frappe.
Before owner François Delfosse and his wife Lucia even set foot in George's in the Grove, they knew their way around the kitchen. Lucia had operated three restaurants in their native France, and upon taking over the Coconut Grove hot spot, they opted to keep the space as they found it on the theory that you shouldn't mess with success. The previous owner had placed Buddha statues all around to counterbalance his excitable personality. Now the statues remain to complement the soothing zen music that plays in the background and only stops when birthday celebrations transform the relaxed lounge into a dark nightclub. In this latter scene, patrons show off dance moves while Top 40 hits play and the birthday diner chows down on a sparkler-accented dessert.
A long glass pane stretches across one side of the dining room, giving patrons a look at chefs hard at work arranging French cuisine. François and Lucia's menu spotlights delicate dishes such as steamed mussels with white wine, garlic, and shallots, and rich morel-mushroom risotto with shaved foie gras and truffle oil. Hearty steak tartare—very rare meat with capers, onions, and spices—or lamb shank braised for three hours delight palates and imbue patrons with the strength to climb the Arc de Triomphe. As diners sip wine, they admire paintings along a café au lait-colored wall or take in sunlight on a sidewalk patio.
With the deft hands of a veteran baker, Vincent Benoliel keenly measures almonds, eggs, and sugar, because accuracy is essential when making macarons. The ephemeral sweets come in a rainbow of colors and might taste of chocolate, rose petal, or lemon, but every single one has that je ne sais quoi of a macaron made by a native Frenchman. Vincent grew up in France's ubiquitous restaurant industry, ascending to the rank of sous chef in a Parisian brasserie when he was only 18. In 2005, he brought the richness of French cuisine to South Florida by importing the Eiffel Tower in 3-pound chunks and by opening Le Boudoir in Miami. His handiwork includes delicacies such as escargot, steak tartare, and fresh pastries.
It's not just the ingredients that make a great cr?pe. It's also the method and materials. At Cr?pe Connection Caf?, a chef ladles the thin batter onto one of the traditional French irons, then methodically sweeps the batter in a graceful, exacting swirl to create a large, flat, and incredibly thin cr?pe. The result wraps around a variety of savory and sweet fillings?including a number of showy treats, such as the flamb?ed strawberries-and-Nutella cr?pe, doused in Grand Marnier and set aflame. Visitors can also enjoy coffee, espresso, beer, and wine in the cafe's charming and quaint interior, complete with sparkling lights and French artwork adorning the walls.
Le Café Bistro treats Francophile tastes with classic French dishes served in an eclectic, cozy atmosphere. Diners can choose from a slew of starters populating the varied bistro menu. Begin with authentic escargot ($7), or savor the french onion soup topped with a baked cheese-and-bread beret ($5). Classics, such as croque-monsieur sandwiches ($7), rib-eye steak with crispy frites ($15), and succulent braised-beef bourguignon served with mashed potatoes and rice ($14), give this spot a je ne sais quoi that's particularly difficult to describe. Crack through the caramelized sugar crust of a vanilla-bean crème brûlée ($5) while sipping a beverage from the drink menu, which touts various wines, beer options, and Segafredo coffee and tea.