The French Perfection

Like a fine wine, Pascal’s has gotten only better with age

If, like a fine French wine, Pascal's has gotten only better with age, so too have the fine French wines: The restaurant nabbed its first Wine Spectator Award of Excellence this year. The United States, Spain, Argentina, and Chile provide the rest of the bottles, and half bottles, born of small vineyards and inclusive of distinctive, hard-to-find appellations. Prices are marked up as usual; if you choose to bring your own, the $25 corkage fee is waived on Mondays.

The middling nature of predinner bread stood out like an amateur actor in an all-star cast. It wasn't short on warmth or crustiness, but tasted like the par-baked frozen sort that gets finished on site. These pale in comparison to a fresh baguette or grain-laden roll.

Service is prompt and proper, the waiters trained to operate in professional fashion (including the placement of one hand behind the back when pouring wine and performing other tasks). It was therefore surprising to hear our server fumble when attempting to clarify certain menu items. Cheese descriptions were especially lax — and only a few are offered. The cheeses, however, were flawless, a fully ripened threesome that provided a varied breadth of sources, textures, and tastes.

Joe Rocco

Location Info

Map

Pascal's on Ponce

2611 Ponce de Leon Blvd.
Coral Gables, FL 33134

Category: Music Venues

Region: South Dade

Details

2611 Ponce de Leon Blvd, Coral Gables; 305-444-2024. Open for lunch Monday through Friday 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; dinner Monday through Thursday 6:00 to 10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday 6:00 to 11:00 p.m.

Prices have inched up in the past year: Appetizers are $9 to $14 (a couple of dollars more than before), entrées $27 to $37 (about $5 higher). Though not inexpensive, Pascal's stands as something of a bargain in Miami's inflated dining scene — especially for French cuisine rendered so sublimely. A tip of the pleated toque goes to the integrity of Mr. Oudin's cooking and to the influence his success has had in spurring others such as Michelle Bernstein (Michy's), Michael Schwartz (Michael's Genuine), Dewey LoSasso (North One 10), and Andrea Curto and Frank Randazzo (Talula) to likewise leave the corporate food world for their own greener pastures. These chefs give us some of our most gratifying grazing, with Pascal's on Ponce continuing to lead the way.

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