It's the time of year when DB Bistro Moderne goes a bit casual Americana and bizarre things happen. Among them: six types of house-made sausage floating around three-course whole-hog feasts for up to eight people, and pistachio and raspberry baked Alaskas flambéed tableside. In other words, the DBGB pop-up is back.
Daniel Boulud's ode to casual American cuisine — burgers, bangers, and sundaes — with French flair, DBGB has been a New York City staple since 2009. And just last summer, Boulud took his tavern-meets-brasserie to the nation's capital by opening a second DBGB in Washington, D.C.
Though Miami doesn't yet have a permanent outpost of DBGB, we'll settle for its limited run, which is through July 31. If you got a taste last year, you share our excitement. If you didn't, shame on you (and good thing Boulud has given you a chance to make things right).
We'll stop teasing and get straight to the offerings.
DBGB takes its beer selection (more than 20 drafts on tap and more than 75 bottles) seriously. So to stay on brand, they've tapped none other than local master brewer J. Wakefield to bring three of his best suds to the table. They include the Desperado (Russian imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels); Hop for Teacher IPA (deep orange Indian pale ale infused with citrus and tropical fruits); and a dragon-fruit/passionfruit Berliner weisse made exclusively for DB Bistro Moderne. If you're one of Wakefield's sour-brew lovers, the last is for you.
Calamari with romesco, white beans, and jalapeño-lime vinaigrette ($13) has summer written all over it.
"Since Washington opened after the pop-up last year, we just had dishes from New York," chef de cuisine Jason Pringle says. "This year, we wanted to introduce new dishes from D.C." One of those is grilled kale with sweet potato, pickled water chestnuts, and buttermilk dressing ($13).
Sweet-and-sour honey-baked eggplant ($14) is brought to life with sherry vinegar, sumac yogurt, mint, and chickpea socca. A beautiful mix of flavors and textures, it will be a favorite of the evening.
If there's one thing DBGB is known for, it's artisanal sausages. Pro tip: Dine with a group of friends so you can try all six, beginning with the Beaujolaise ($13). Links containing pork, mushrooms, bacon, and red wine are served alongside fragrant lentils du puy; it's unlike anything you've ever tasted.
Thai sausage — a blend of pork, lemongrass, and red curry — is making a comeback from last year ($13). It arrives with a side of basil fried rice with chili sauce and a quail egg. Whatever you do, order the Vermont ($13). A savory pork-and-cheddar link is served alongside hash browns and red onion crème fraîche. It's a DBGB party in your mouth.
Scarpetta who? Daniel Boulud gives Scott Conant a run for his spaghetti and basil with spaghetti alla chitarra ($21). It could be the "drum-punk" Brooklyn tomato sauce that's among the best you'll ever have. Or perhaps it's the subtle lemon ricotta and the pungent taggiasca olives and capers that come in for the finish. It's all that and more.
Besides suds and sausages, there are DBGB burgers. Last year, diners got to nibble the piggie ($19), which tops a seven-ounce patty with barbecue pulled pork, jalapeño mayo, lettuce, and coleslaw on a brioche bun. And though it's still available this year, try something different: the Frenchie (a beef patty with pork confit belly, arugula, tomato compote, and Morbier cheese on a brioche bun).
If you like your ice cream in a sundae, DBGB has two seasonal flavors to choose from: peach melba (peach, chantilly, raspberry, and almonds) or Black Forest (cherries, chocolate, and cookies 'n' cream).
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And if you like your ice cream in a baked Alaska, opt for DBGB's signature, which wraps sponge cake around raspberry sorbet and pistachio ice cream, tops it with Italian meringue, and is flambéed tableside with Grand Marnier. Three words: Best. Dessert. Ever.
DBGB also offers three-course whole-hog feasts for parties of up to eight people ($495). Guests start with traditional tarte flambée and charcuterie before digging into a suckling pig stuffed with pork loin, Swiss chard, tomato confit, and olives. (Piggies are accompanied by Swank Farms seasonal vegetables such as roast corn, grilled asparagus, and decadent grand-mere potatoes.)