The Biltmore's Palme d'Or soars

The setting is ancient, but the cuisine is firmly anchored in the here and now — and, wow, is it good.

Olivier Rodriguez took over as pastry chef a year ago, and there is no letup come dessert course — which, like the preceding ones, stylistically stretches from classic French to imaginative global without missing a step. The former: a warm, weightless chocolate soufflé that released steam as the waiter poked a hole in the center and poured velvety chocolate sauce into it. The latter: a shallow bowl of cool coconut broth buoyed by ginger and lemongrass and bolstered with diced lychees, raspberries, kiwi, mango, papaya, and a quenelle of jasmine rice sorbet that dissolved in the mouth like mist.

We closed our meal with glasses of a 2006 Côteaux du Layon, a distinctive dessert wine with a heady nose and complex honey and mineral notes (from Clos du Pavillon in the Loire Valley). Veteran restaurant manager and sommelier Sebastien Verrier is peerless in matching cuisine with appropriate picks from the extensive and worldly wine list. And service was super. The well-schooled dining room staff displayed textbook etiquette and seemingly materialized from thin air anytime we needed them.

Joe Rocco

Location Info


Palme d'Or

1200 Anastasia Ave.
Coral Gables, FL 33134

Category: Restaurant > French

Region: South Dade


Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables; 305-913-3201; Dinner Tuesday through Thursday 6 to 10:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 6 to 11 p.m.

To sum up: There should never be a conversation about Miami's best chefs that does not include Philippe Ruiz, nor one concerning our finest restaurants without mention of Palme d'Or.

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