Name: Jorge Carabelli
Occupation: Real Estate Investor
Lives In: El Portal
Restaurant Pick: Palme D’Or at the Biltmore
Reviewed Palme D’Or: March 11, 2008
After parking in the parking lot, you walk along a palm tree lined sidewalk until you reach a Mediterranean courtyard with a lively fountain. You pass under the Poinciana framed arches alongside the gigantic pool, realizing that this is some place special. We entered the restaurant and were greeted with lovely smiles by the greeter, Kelly, and the manager, Sebastian. The restaurant is elegant with polished wood floors, beautiful carved wood moldings around multiple mirrors, and lit by many glass chandeliers. The feeling is one of old world elegance. We were seated at a linen covered table along the windows overlooking the pool and the Japanese tourists walking the promenade. The photograph of movie stars from the 60’s were great for passing the time by trying to figure out who they were. The waiter enthusiastically greets you in a very warm and friendly manner.
Water and 3 different breads are quickly brought. The manager came over, and we discussed wines I had brought and possible dishes that would go well, eliminating one dish as not being a good match for the wines. From the menu, we could choose 3 or 4 dishes. I chose 3. But first there was a gift from the chef, an amuse bouche -- a shot-glass portion of various sea foods in the bottom of what looked like an upside down glass. Beautiful presentation and a tasty start.
The next dishes were Roasted Langoustine with mushrooms, lovely creamy sauce and very flavorful mushrooms; Mushroom cassoulette with foie gras was also excellent, presented in a cast iron dish, very savory and flavorful. Last was Buffalo Brochette, ordered rare and presented with a flourish under shiny metal dish covers. In spite of the small size, the meat was cooked perfectly with two types of potatoes, and the béarnaise sauce was very light, foam-like, full of flavor, and a nice accent to the beef.
We asked for one dessert and the waiter brought two. One, he explained, was his gift to us. Coffee and espresso came before a final dish of various sweets, all original and very tasty.
Incredible attention to detail in all aspects of the night. Every dish was delicious and perfectly displayed. All ingredients were fresh and cooked the way they should be. The bill was surprisingly small, $130 for two (without drinks): the best deal in all of Miami. You would think that this place is one you would go to only for special occasions, but it is so friendly and affordable that you’d want to come more often.
Name: Angie Arduz
Occupation: College Student
Lives In: Pembroke Pines
Restaurant Pick: Penon Limeno
Reviewed Palme D’Or: March 15th, 2008
The Biltmore is a beautiful hotel with a lot of history. It has a romantic ambiance about it (The Biltmore use to be a hospital during WWII and was one of, if not the first, hotels in Miami.) I recommend going in the evening. The center plaza-area feels like you’re in Italy with its beautiful, antique-style architecture and accent lighting (the pool is beautiful too). Palme D’Ore has a very nice, formal dining room. The service was extremely attentive and you could tell that a lot of time was put into making the food. I ordered the Wild Mushroom Cassoulette, Seared Foie Gras & Creamy Spinach (not as good as I had hoped), Monk Fish Cheek (Special): Sauce was over powering. The monk fish itself was lacking flavor (lobstery texture), Duck Choucroute Alsatian Sauerkraut with Duck Sausage (the duck was very flavorful, crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. I did not care for the way the sauerkraut was prepared, it had a very bitter aftertaste, but the waiter explained to me that it was typical for that regions’ style (?)). The portions were very small, but we were totally full nearing the third course. The sauces were very rich! The chocolate dessert was uniquely appealing with its crispy, thin, chocolaty sugar shards on top. Overall, it was a lovely dining experience, but not the best French cuisine I’ve had. (I personally liked my mother’s selection better: Heart of Palm & Stone Crab Napoleon Lemon Mayonnaise, Fresh Tomato & Lemon Oil Vinaigrette).
Name: Claire Hutin
Occupation: Photo Editor
Lives In: Hollywood
Restaurant Pick: Hiro’s Yakko-San
Reviewed Palme D’Or at the Biltmore: March 13th, 2008
I walked through to the Palme D’Or and was greeted by a welcoming hostess and the Maitre D’/ Sommelier who was expecting us and who quickly switched to French, which always pleases me. Without droning on, suffice it to say, service was everything it should be at this caliber ala resto: attentive, helpful, great at up-selling, yet unobtrusive. Romeo and the Maitre D’/Sommelier were so kind and classy. Chef came out which is always nice.
They were out of the champagne they poured by the glass, but they substituted Veuve Rose for the same price! Sent out amuse-geule (ballsy, as it was mussels, but delicious) and gorgeous petit fors. Between my mother and I, we had both foie gras appetizers and they were superb, and we were very glad that our server suggested a glass of Lafaurie Sauternes. It was divine!
Crab napoleon and lobster bisque -- gorgeous, refined and delicious. I was especially happy that the portion was appropriate on our entrees, and for my oxtail, the beef was sumptuous, and the polenta, stone-ground and creamy, but the reduction was nice and light. Not too reduced and overpowering. That was a major plus because so many people overdo reductions and they are too rich. Bravo!
I love that the restaurant only has prix-fixe menus to choose from. It’s just like France. Well-done! A steal! We’re going back with my grandma this Friday!
Phillip, is one of the best French chefs that we have in South Florida. Palme D’or does classic French cuisine with a fresh new approach with some of the best ingredients that you can fly in from everywhere in the world.
Location: 1200 Anastasia Ave. Coral Gables, FL 33134
Type of Cuisine: French
Meals Served: Dinner
Dining Style: Fine dining