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db Bistro Moderne's $7 Happy Hour (and Three-Course Dinner for $38)

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When it comes to after-work happy hour, db Bistro is advantageously located smack dab in the middle of downtown (in the JW Marriott Marquis).

The deal is this: Monday through Friday, from 5 to 7 p.m., select cocktails, wines, and small plates are offered for $7 apiece in the bar and lounge area. The "Lucky 7" started a few weeks ago, and the bartender told me the place is "getting busier all the time". There were quite a few patrons in for a Monday evening.

The good news: The bar snacks are among the very best I've had.

The not-so-good news: The $10 you'll pay for valet in the difficult-to-park neighborhood cuts into the bargain, especially if you only stay for a drink and couple of bites.

But the food really is worth seeking out. Starting with the duck rillette, which is a stellar version and also the answer to yesterday's Where It At?

Duck rillette is made by cooking the meat in fat and cooling it in the same fat. The duck is traditionally very well-seasoned, and often arrives too salty for my tastes. This one is not too salty, and is flecked with diced Turkish apricots, fennel seeds, and pink peppercorns.

​A petite brochette "d'Argentine" brings two short wooden skewers with tender, delicate, really delectable beef threaded with pepper, zucchini, and mushroom. Amazingly, the yellow grape tomatoes on the side are peeled! That's called paying attention to detail. Chimichurri comes alongside, which if you haven't figured out is the d'Argentine part. Peruvian ceviche excelled as well, Florida-caught grouper taking a citrus bath with avocado and Fresno chile.

Dishes and drinks change often. Beverages the night I visited were Negroni; blackberry mojito (a little on the small side as well as the weak side); Four Roses Manhattan; Pierre Henri Chardonnay; Domaine de la Petite Cassagne Rosé; Château Thomas Laurent Bordeaux. Other snacks were Galician empanada of tuna confit, potato, and Cerignol olive; falafel with harissa yogurt; shisito peppers with sea salt and lemon; and olives marinated with Marcona almonds, chickpeas, and lemon confit.

(You might note that I ordered the three highest-end offerings. It's these sorts of things that separate the professionals from the lightweights.)

​Want another db deal? How about a three-course menu for $38 per person? It gets billed as a special for Heat game nights, but it's actually available any evening from 6 to 7 p.m. and from 10 to 11 p.m.

Now DB himself won't be in the kitchen, but $38 for a meal in his house is pretty darn good. Or at least I think it should be -- haven't tried the deal yet myself.

db Bistro Moderne
JW Marriott Marquis Miami
255 Biscayne Blvd. Way, Miami
305-421-8800

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