Monday, October 10, 2016 at 10:30 a.m.
By year's end, the space that once housed Gourmet Diner — the polished-steel Biscayne Boulevard eatery serving steak frites and butter-drenched escargots — will become home to Mignonette's second location, offering nearly a dozen oyster varieties, along with a menu of simply pan-roasted fish and a handful of more gussied-up offerings.
The first Mignonette opened in Edgewater in late 2014, becoming a fast hit and helping kick off the city's oyster-bar obsession thanks in part to chef/owner Danny Serfer's reputation at Blue Collar and its comforting, high-low bill of fare. Where else could one find popcorn shrimp and oyster loaves on the same menu as lobster tails and caviar? Now the partnership between Serfer and attorney/former food blogger Ryan Roman hopes to replicate that success in a new neighborhood.
"I think I know this neighborhood. I grew up my whole life there, and then I worked there at Chef Allen's for five years," Serfer says. "It's a real neighborhood, it's families, and I think it's underserviced when it comes to restaurants that are everyday affordable."
As for the menu, there will be some cross-pollination between the original Mignonette and this one, as well as Serfer's homestyle haven Blue Collar, but don't expect a carbon copy. The lengthy list of vegetable sides, a hit at both current spots, might offer the same nightshades, tubers, and legumes, but in different preparations. With a larger kitchen, the 70-to-90-seater will also have an expanded meat offering. Mignonette's prime rib, which was discontinued after the restaurant's opening but clearly missed given the way it sold during Miami Spice, might return alongside other cuts.
Serfer says he has yet to hire a chef de cuisine, who will likely be the driving force behind the menu. Since the original Mignonette's opening, chef de cuisine Bobby Frank has spun the menu in a New Orleans direction with a seemingly endless rotation of gumbos and plates such as crisp-skinned rainbow trout perched atop red beans, rice, and pickled chayote.
Finally comes dessert, which will pay homage to the old-school diner via a rotating, fluorescent-lit case featuring cakes and pies, we hope mounded with skyscrapers of burnished meringue.
For more, follow Zach on Twitter or Instagram.