If Mister Collins were a man and not a restaurant, he'd be the kind to give red roses -- but never yellow tulips or a single orchid. He'd favor ocean views and tea lights over cityscapes and Dixon lamps. He'd drink Manhattans. He'd wear black leather loafers, lavish women with compliments, and occasionally smoke a cigar. He wouldn't set trends, yet he'd be quite fashionable. Mister Collins would be a gentleman.
But Mister Collins is in fact a restaurant. On a balmy Friday evening, in a narrow entrance located at the back of the ritzy One Bal Harbour Resort and Spa, a hostess praises a lady on her choice of clothing. She gushes over the woman's tawny wedges, black silk scarf, and tight pencil skirt. She graciously leads other guests to the candle-lit outdoor patio, which overlooks the crisp waters of Haulover Inlet; or she takes them to the sleek dining room, which is painted white and has plush leather dining chairs.
The waiter is similarly charming. A boyish 20-something wearing black horn-rimmed glasses, he recommends a 25-ounce bottle of Brooklyn Brewery's Local 2, "because it's a good deal and it tastes so good." He asks whether he can pour the beer. He then apologizes when there is too much head.
Toward the end of the meal, he enthuses over the five-chocolate flan, a stout tower topped with a quenelle of lightly sweetened whipped cream, layered with rich dark chocolate mud cake, smooth milk-chocolate custard, and a white-chocolate/Frangelico ganache. The beer head, the beer, and the flan are all satisfactory; the last two are particularly delicious.
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For nearly two years after its 2011 debut, the restaurant was helmed by Laird Boles, a toque who worked at San Francisco's Waterbar and Spire. But Boles left in early 2013. Adam Postal, director of food and beverage for the resort and a graduate of Johnson & Wales University, has always supervised the restaurant's kitchen and menu. Plans are to hire a new chef eventually. There is no rush. "Mister Collins has never been a one-chef show, nor has it been a chef-driven restaurant," Postal says. "Our identity doesn't really change with each chef. This is a team effort."
Follow Emily on Twitter @EmilyCodik.