Last Chance Bistro

La Goulue aims at a better class of mall rat

Accompanying frites didn't make it to the table with the meat, but once we pointed out the omission, it didn't take long for the crisp, homemade, assertively salted fries to come and conquer our fancy. It did take quite awhile, however, to get our dinner plates cleared, and on another visit, it took forever for the kitchen to kick out our entrées; the waiter avoided us during the delay and eventually brought the dishes without comment. Servers are convivial, and there is no shortage of workers on the floor, but the staff members surely need a good deal more polish if they are going to pass muster with the fussy Bal Harbour crowd.

Steak/frites is timeless, but that's not true for frumpy French seafood selections such as grilled shrimp with a dish of eggplant "caviar" on the side, or a log of blandly seared tuna with red and green peppers (the aforementioned ratatouille minus zucchini). The sprightliest fish dish brought seared salmon with asparagus in citrus mousseline sauce swirled with a sweet pea purée. Meaty mussels steamed in robust mustard/saffron broth pleased as well, but $20, or just two bucks less than the hanger steak, is a lot for mussels and French fries. And not to quibble, but it would be nice if now and then they'd serve some of Florida's fine local fish.

Desserts are the best things here. Chiat-Mei Yow (a cat's meow of a name), formerly pastry chef at the Setai, infuses all five categories of postdinner sweets with a sparklingly light sensibility. Naturally we tried one from each section (did I mention that la goulue means "the glutton"?). Bright and brilliant flavors define the homemade sorbets and ice creams, the former refreshingly derived from orange, pineapple, and pink grapefruit; the latter via strawberry, Tahitian vanilla, and a terrific teaming of prunes with Armagnac ("cognac with an attitude," as a Gascon might put it). A dark chocolate soufflé was airy and architecturally correct, lemon tartlet with brûllée topping was just luscious, and if there were such a thing as a pudding hall of fame, the sumptuously soft arabica coffee pot de crème would gain admittance on the first ballot.

JOE ROCCO

Location Info

Map

La Goulue Christian Delouvrier

9700 Collins Ave., Ste. 135
North Miami Beach, FL 33154

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: North Dade

La Goulue Christian Delouvrier

9700 Collins Ave., Ste. 135
North Miami Beach, FL 33154

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: North Dade

Details

Open for lunch and dinner daily 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave, Bal Harbour; 305-865-2181

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