On a Sunday morning, Vida,
Fontainebleau's three-meal contemporary cafe, serves a breakfast from seven until noon. Swirls of mostly hotel guests are up
and about between buffet tables. We were greeted and our reservation was
recognized with efficiency; this was the smoothest part of our meal.
Escorted to our circular table, we were
left in the hands of a server who did little more than ask if we'd
like coffee or orange juice. He even got my simple "no" to
coffee wrong when he poured me a cup and left the pot in front of me.
We bypassed the cold buffet, which included items
such as cereal and fruits including watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, and
pineapple. There was also smoked salmon, and grilled vegetables. The hot buffet was
more plentiful and the items were presented well on the counter top, under
heat lamps. Unfortunately, items were not replenished
The house-made pastries, also presented
under heat lamps, were excellent. They included a double chocolate muffin
and crisp croissants dusted in powdered sugar and covered with almond slivers. The same almond slivers were on the majority of pastries including
cheese-filled ones with cherries or pear. The omelet station was
in the middle of the buffet, which confused the flow of traffic. Had
we known our egg-white omelet with mushrooms, spinach, and Swiss
cheese would come out oily and bland, we wouldn't have waited;
we'd have let the scrambled eggs suffice; they weren't terrible.
The chicken sausage with raisins was the best meat available.
The bacon wasn't bad. The fritatas, with vegetables and ham, were decent. The roasted potatoes were dry and bland. The eggs Benedict,
which were gone the first time we passed through the line, were fair. I asked for
eggs Florentine and was told to check at the omelet station. Only, the
cook at the omelet station couldn't understand what I was asking for
and simply said no.
The best part of the
meal, aside from the chicken sausage, was the fresh squeezed orange
juice. It's a shame our server shafted one of our party by offering
juice and not returning. Quoted $25 for the breakfast buffet over the
phone, we received a bill for $28 plus tax and 18% service charge. I
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promptly spoke with the manager and protested the automatic gratuity.
Telling him how lousy our meal was, he didn't offer anything to make
amends aside from wiping the tip off the check.
Vida at Fontainebleau Miami Beach
4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach