A lot has changed since the last time we were at db Bistro Moderne in Downtown Miami. Most notably, former Executive Chef Jason Pringle departed the restaurant earlier this year and was replaced by Clark Bowen, who served as sous chef at the Miami restaurant for the past five years. The recently launched spring menu, which debuted back in May, is Bowen’s first big opportunity to add his creative flair to the restaurant’s flair.
But that’s not all that’s new at db Bistro. From now through the end of July, guests can take part in the Boulud Sud popup that recreates fan favorites from Chef Daniel Boulud’s popular Mediterranean restaurant. Regardless of what you decide to eat, you’re in for a good time.
To get the best of both worlds, we opted for a mix from each selection. Starting with the spiced lamb flatbread and the shrimp al ajillo, our meal was off to a great start. The shrimp, which were thick and earthy, came in a simple preparation of lemon, garlic and pepper. It didn’t need anything else; it was perfect. We’re on a labneh kick since discovering it at Cleo a few weeks back, and the lamb flatbread mixes up our favorite spread with eggplant and pine nuts for a scrumptious dish; the dough is addicting.
Another standout on the seasonal menu: the Florida tomato salad. The basil, sherry vinaigrette and watercress combined with plump, juicy tomatoes is exquisite. Because the salad is lightly dressed, the freshness of the tomatoes is at the forefront of this dish. Also, the salad was the perfect light dish before our mains, which included arugula cavatelli, shellfish paella fideua and local snapper.
The arugula cavatelli, which features tomato, peas and ricotta, is a solid offering that’s a lot lighter than it looks. The half portion is a steal; we easily split it between the two of us. On that note, take advantage of db Bistro’s half-portion pasta offerings. It’s a great way to mix and match pastas and get a taste of everything. #shamelesspug
As for the shellfish paella fideua, it’s not your typical rice dish. In fact, there’s no rice — just noodles. Keep that in mind when ordering since it is an acquired taste. We were split on our feelings about the noodles, but all the other elements on the dish — shrimp, chorizo sofrito and scallop — got our tastebuds’ unanimous votes. The local snapper was also an uncontested favorite: hefty with a crispy skin and a deliciously creamy polenta cube.
Dessert at db Bistro is an experience. The chocolate soufflé with passion fruit and banana gelato is a must; dunk the gelato into the soufflé and swirl until you can’t swirl anymore for a killer combination. Aside from this winner, the deconstructed cheesecake with an aerated strawberry along with thinly sliced strawberries and a strawberry flavored crisp was impressive. Yes, it’s a lot of strawberries but it’s not overwhelming at all (unless you hate strawberries, you monster). And of course, you can’t leave without the Madeleines. Take them home if you have to, but make sure to get an order.
Since both of these menus are only available for a limited time, we can’t stress enough how important it is to visit db Bistro as soon as possible. Both menus have outstanding items that your taste buds need to try. One final piece of advice that’s worth repeating: mix and match like we did. You’ll want to try a little of everything.