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Mediterranean Makeover

BY Jen Karetnick | April 24, 2018 | Feature Features

Chef Daniel Boulud spices up his Downtown Miami presence with Boulud Sud.
The mezze platter is an ideal way to begin any meal at Boulud Sud Miami.

With great change comes both excitement and disappointment. That’s why I had mixed feelings when news broke that chef-restaurateur Daniel Boulud would be revamping his signature French eatery DB Bistro Moderne. On the one hand, it was time; DB had been around since late 2010, and it was practically elderly in the eyes of regional diners. On the flip side, I knew what turning DB into Boulud Sud Miami would mean: no more DB Burger, Boulud’s mouthwatering combination of ground sirloin, short rib and foie gras.

Fortunately, this singular frustration over what has disappeared is far outweighed by the benefits of what has arrived. After all, the DB Burger, though thrilling to the palate, was far more likely to have inspired a nap than a jaunt to the beach. With its current emphasis on what the team, which includes onsite executive chef Clark Bowen, calls “coastal cuisine inspired by flavors from the Côte d’Azur, Spain, Italy, Greece, Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, Turkey and beyond,” Boulud Sud is actually a better fit for Miami’s climate, roster of global visitors, lengthy fall-to-spring growing season and aquaculture.

The sophisticated yet inviting redesign by CallisonRTKL also seems more reflective of the city’s tropical pace and grace. Boulud Sud is spacious and vivacious, distinguished by latticed walls, a Moroccan tile floor, natural woods, off-white hues and original artwork by Vik Muniz. It’s exactly the kind of place where you want to relax with a platter of mezze: piquant Moroccan-style hummus, smoky baba ghanoush and a quartet of crisp falafel balls that steam when broken open. If you request it, the server will also bring a ceramic dish of refreshing tzatziki. This is one of four sauces that partners the simply grilled yet exceedingly high-quality proteins—Madagascar prawns, spiced swordfish, lamb chop, filet mignon—on the main course portion of the menu. But the real treat is the muhammara, which is available on the bar menu but not the dinner menu. Ask for a bowl of this spread, which mixes the sharp sweetness of roasted red peppers, pomegranates and spices like cumin into a base of ground walnuts.

Adding depth to this attractive array, lamb flatbread is an open-faced oval of lightly toasted dough, strewn with meaty nuggets, eggplant, pine nuts and dollops of creamy labneh. The octopus a la plancha, which is served over a fluff of baby arugula, Marcona almonds and a backdrop of tahini, also gels well with this, especially given that the whole dish is tied together with a lacing of sweet-tart sherry vinegar.

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