By David Minsky
By Jen Mangham
By Bill Wisser
By Laine Doss
By Bill Wisser
By Dana De Greff
By Laine Doss
By Zachary Fagenson
-- Nisi Berryman, director of business development for Design District developer Dacra
"After a dinner at La Broche, I came home inspired and exhilarated by the creativity of the chef, by his subtle way of proving that there are no limits except in the mind, that not all that jiggles is a disgusting worm, and by the fact that even stuffy people can be enraptured by whimsicalities like the tingling bite of pepper in the delicious after-dinner chocolate.
"The young chef is shaking the foundations of fine dining in Miami in more than one way. While my taste buds resisted the far-flung combination of cauliflower vichyssoise with berry foam, I couldn't bring myself to actually hate it. And the next dishes reminded me that while the world necessarily divides in camps, La Broche is still a thrilling place to eat in.
"The remarkable turbot fillet with pork trotters over 'pil-pil' sauce and sea urchin accompanied by 'trout egg empanada' was superb. The jellylike (sorry!) wrapping of the 'trout egg empanada' just melted in the mouth as the fish roe exploded into a tide of sea flavor. Both my companion [food writer and author Carole Kotkin] and I smiled ecstatically after the first spoonful of a dessert, which combined delicate and robust flavors -- dices of exotically fragrant jellied (again, sorry) rose water were the 'fake spiced bread' soaking in the passion fruit mousse and the unsweetened natural fig sorbet.
"The chef may be young and experimental, but he dares to explore (or rather take calculated risks with) basic cooking techniques, [bringing to them] a deep knowledge of the taste and the strength of each ingredient, and ... imagination."
-- Simone Diament, editor and publisher of The 2003 South Florida Gourmet Guide to Best Restaurants & Wine List
"I have in my library a book called Cookery and Dining in Imperial Rome by a fellow named Apicius. [Apicius de re Coquinaria, reputedly the oldest known cookbook.] The recipes in there read much like La Broche's menu selections: variously weird, incredibly complicated, and annoyingly affected. Both book and menu could easily provide a source of harmless after-dinner amusement, to be read out loud to the company, while enjoying a glass of Calvados and some crisp almond cookies.
"Both book and menu also give the idea that the chef has way too much time on his hands, or thinks his patrons have jaded and corrupt palates. Couple that impression with La Broche's sky-high prices, and you can't but be slightly suspicious that the chef at that expense-account emporium is having a good belly laugh at diners' expense."
-- Doralisa Pilarte, food editor
"A heated debate -- this is exactly what makes great cities! One of the things I find so interesting is when we travel in a city where citizens become passionate, even heated in sending us to their favorite places to eat, whether the food is fancy or 'down home.' To witness a spirited game of will indicates true enthusiasm. The long-time problem with most cities is that people just don't care and they settle. [But] a Parisian, a New Yorker, or someone from Barcelona settle? 'Never!'
"The point of the matter is not initially whether you are intrigued with Chef Palacios's (or others that have inspired his) creations, but whether our 'body politic' is mature enough to simply go and experience it. Then, and only then, can one judge. I have traveled to Spain and dined at El Bulli and have had a great deal of time to consider the seemingly radical nature of this way of presenting food. Too much is made out of the foams and jellies. It is the same blunt instrument of oversimplification with which we are bullied within the fat-phobic neurosis that drives Americans to fear butter and cream. And yet, paradoxically, [we] have never been fatter.
"I say to La Broche, 'Bravo. Hang in there! At least you have their hearts beating.' And that is all an artist should ever hope for."
-- Norman Van Aken, chef-proprietor of Norman's