During our stay in Miami a few weeks ago, we rediscovered the pleasure of gourmet lunches. Not only did it fit our new “with baby” travel schedule better than did going out at night, but also it allowed us to treat ourselves with fantastic food at a much lower cost. The lunch menu at gourmet restaurants is just as lavish and creative as the dinner menu is, and tables are often much easier to snatch. In fact, we simply walked into each restaurant without a reservation before rush hour, at around 11:45 a.m., and we were seated immediately every time. Although I usually like to handpick each and every restaurant (and book tables early) when we’re traveling, we did things differently this time, and I really enjoyed this spur of the moment attitude. One shouldn’t be surprised that a lunch at one of Daniel Boulud’s or José Andrés’s restaurants exceeds expectations, but we also made delicious and unexpected discoveries.
Here are my picks for gourmet lunches in Miami:
1 / db Bistro Moderne
We stumbled on this one while looking for a place for lunch on Easter Sunday. I had never eaten in any of Boulud’s restaurants before, so the opportunity was too good to pass up. After being seated in a corner of the elegant dining room filled with chic families celebrating together, we discovered that a three-course brunch menu was being served. Five to nine choices were offered per course, and everything looked so appealing that it took us a while to decide. I finally opted for the heirloom tomato salad (pictured) for the appetizer, ricotta gnudi for the main course, and rhubarb tart for dessert. Each dish was wonderfully intricate in textures, flavors, and presentation, without feeling overdone. I loved that they all showcased an unexpected accent that highlighted the star flavors: The tomato salad featured blistered padron peppers, which added an intriguing smoky and slightly spicy dimension to the dish; the gnudi sat on a fresh and silky nettle pesto to form a dreamy texture combination; and in the dessert, the zesty rhubarb flavor was complemented by yuzu in the form of a creamy curd that was dotted on the plate. It was an outstanding culinary experience, and for $49 per person, it was also by far the best value of the restaurants we tried in Miami. I will remember my meal at db Bistro Moderne as one of the best I’ve ever had.
The heirloom tomato salad at db Bistro Moderne