A French restaurant from Mexico, Gloutonnerie, will be taking over the former Au Pied de Cochon venue in South Beach. I heard this news from my source, Strep Throat, who reported that it would be upscale, "a Maison d'Azur type situation." I believe I picked up a trace of sarcasm in that description.
A quick double-check with another anonymous source, Google Throat, led me to this confirmation: "Gloutonnerie Vintage Kitchen. Mexico City/Miami. 81 Washington Ave. Under Construction."
The only other vital information on the page were four photos of sumptuous food platings, the cryptic photo to the right, and an even more cryptic quote from Jorge Luis Borges: "...what secret days the marble has not saved came the brave singular idea of inventing and joy?" That's Borge's question mark, not mine.
Some diligent detective work yielded more clues. Like, for instance, the phone number, written right after the address on the site. Alas, no answer, no machine message. So I contaced Google Throat again, and with a bit of pressure got him to cough up an Open Table review about the Gloutonnerie in Mexico City:
"La singularidad de Gloutonnerie radica en la mezcla de sus ingredientes, que a la vez son sentimientos, sensaciones, que se conjugan simultáeamente en instantes que desembocan en entrñables sobremesas, que nos hacen disfrutar del aquí y del ahora provocando deleite..."
It goes on, but I think you get the point: Gloutonnerie is a singular and radical restaurant that uses mesclun greens, and is both sentimental and sensational -- simultaneously! - as well as provocative.
The statistical info is given, for some reason, in English. The dining style is "casual elegant," the cuisine is "fusion/eclectic/French." The price is "MXN500 and over." That sounds pretty expensive. Thursdays through Saturdays there is a DJ "with various musical styles, including Chill Out, Downtempo, House Jazz, lounge, Bossa, etc." The dress code is "smart casual," which means I won't be able to wear my stupid casual shirt -- and that's too bad, because it's one of my favorites.
2Night.com writes of the Mexican branch, "Gloutonnerie is everything that in-vogue, attractive and elegant European dining should be." (does sound Maison d'Azur-ish, no?).
Then the big break in the case: Concierge.com gives the restaurant backstory, which includes the surprising news that "gloutonnerie" does not mean "place for gluttons" (although, in French, glouton does indeed mean "glutton"):
"This ritzy Polanco restaurant is named after a glouton, a type of sandwich invented by Marco Cooley for well-to-do chilangos (Mexico City residents) on the run." It goes on to say that Mr. Cooley started selling these in a small spot "on the trendy Campos Elisenos" but quickly expanded to a three-story place down the street. That's where the restaurant still is today. A less-formal bistro space downstairs serves the namesake overstuffed sandwiches. Upstairs are "French-leaning dishes like butterflied sardines on a pile of greens and steamed mussels in a light buttery broth, plus a stellar linguine packed with shrimp and langoustines." Here the entrees are listed as "$11 to $19" -- but remember, these are Mexico City prices, not likely to be precisely duplicated here.
There will be other differences, I'm sure, between the Mexican and South Beachian branches. I have put in a request for more specific information about Gloutonnerie through a tertiary source (the "for more info" icon on the web page). In the meantime, at the very least, I'm looking forward to trying one of those gloutons.
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