Fresh American Bistro: Philippe Ruiz Brings Elegance to Comfort Food

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Fresh American Bistro (FAB) quietly opened a few weeks ago in the former Alba Seaside Italian spot at Sole on the Ocean in Sunny Isles Beach.

Alba's quotes from The Godfather have been replaced by a casual seaside aesthetic. Also new and notable is the chef. Philippe Ruiz, the former top toque at the Biltmore Hotel's Palme d'Or for a dozen years, has returned to restaurant dining -- this time to bring his Michelin-starred background to American and Italian comfort food.

Assisted by chef de cuisine Diego Martinez, Chef Ruiz shows his formal French training in the details. Short rib is added to macaroni and cheese; edible flowers adorn a piece of fresh fish; and a simple fruit soup is turned into a complicated marriage of sweet and tart flavors.

New Times was invited to check out what Chef Ruiz and his team are up to. Here's what we ate.

Cocktails before dinner are a must. The Hot Razz combines the cool heat of fresh jalapenos with sweet raspberries ($12).

Each table is greeted with a freshly baked loaf of rustic bread, accompanied by an olive tapenade. Chef Ruiz says that baking the bread is simple. The payoff is worth it to cut into this crusty bread, made spicy by the addition of caraway seeds.

Roasted organic beets sit on a bed of green lentils and are accompanied by speck prosciutto ($12).

Seared ahi tuna is rolled in zucchini to form a colorful "cannelloni" ($16).

Freshly caught Florida hog snapper is served over a vegetable stew with basil beurre blanc ($25).

Braised short rib is artfully surrounded by pumpkin gnocchi ($29).

Lava hot chocolate cake is accompanied by banana compote and vanilla bean ice cream ($12).

No room for cake? Order the exotic fruit minestrone, a sweet/tart fruit soup, made creamy with a touch of coconut ice cream ($10).

Fresh American Bistro is open seven days a week, beginning with breakfast service at 7:30 a.m. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., dinner is served from 6 to 10 p.m., and Sunday brunch is offered from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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