It's a warm, humid day in May, and the Brickell area is buzzing. There are plenty of high-end dining options: Italian, Chinese, Cuban, and everything else -- except French.
Enter Dominique Bistro co-owners and brothers-in-law Jose Sigona and Gerardo Barrera. We know what you're thinking -- they're not French -- but nowhere does it say you have to be French to offer French food. Named for the tie that binds them (Gerardo's wife and Jose's sister), the restaurant drew the pair from a chain based in Mexico City called Ciudad Tinto.
Barrera, who will serve as the executive chef, graduated from the esteemed Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts School in Paris and has always been in love with French cuisine. Sigona, a graduate of the Berklee College of Music, brings his expertise to the slogan "French cuisine with a music program." During dinnertime, classic French songs are remixed with gentle electronic music. When head chef Maria Teresa Muñoz is done cooking and the kitchen closes, the space doubles as a nightclub.
With their grand opening less than a month away, Dominique is currently open to patrons in order to train the staff. Short Order recently sampled a dinner for two. We asked to taste dishes most representative of the restaurant, and our waiter brought us salmon tartare ($14) and moules marinière (wine-braised chicken and mussels in
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white wine with garlic and parsley, half $12, full $21) to start. There was also chicken fricasée ($17.90) for a main course. For dessert, we were served fondant au chocolat ($10), a delicious lava cake with caramelized sugar and vanilla ice cream.
The salmon tartare is prepared using Dijon mustard and lemon. It sits on a bed of capers and diced cucumbers. The taste and texture suggested the salmon was fresh, and the blend of flavors worked well with a light balsamic drizzle on each side. The dish is Chef Muñoz's favorite appetizer, especially with a glass of champagne.
The mussels in the moules marinière are steamed and sautéed in clarified butter, with white wine, fish stock, shallots, and mushrooms. We effortlessly removed the meat from inside the mussels and took advantage of the subtly flavored sauce. The bone-in chicken is seared in a stovetop pot and then slow-cooked in the oven. Vegetables and white wine are added to the pot used to sear the chicken; then the bird is reintroduced to the resulting combination. Served with a side of champagne risotto, the chicken came right off the bone and had a delightful flavor.