This week I had my fair share of burgers in honor of National Burger Month and visited my favorite imported restaurant in miami, db Bistro Moderne.
What do you do when you find out that Daniel Serfer and Joshua Marcus are cooking a burger together, at none other than Pincho Factory, for an event curated by none other than the Burger Beast? You buy the damn ticket that’s what! And so that is how I attended the Beast’s closing party for Burger Month. Pincho Factory themselves and Swine were also on the agenda so the probability of not having some great food was very low.
Swine’s offering was a small and tasty beef slider with plenty of bacon in the patty which made quite a rich bite. Pincho Factory had me at “harissa”. Their North African take on a burger which included a ground lamb patty was terrific and hopefully will be added to the regular menu.
But the wild, monstrous creation by Dan and Josh, dubbed the “Voltron” burger stole the show both in presentation and taste. It was only a glimpse into what these two boys can achieve when they join forces and hopefully will be a precursor to future ad hoc joint ventures between them. “Voltron” had more layers and complexity than I can possibly remember, but what I do remember clearly is my “wow” after first bite (as well as Johnny’s “wow” who happened to be sitting next to me).
Why would I try to ruin the masterpiece with my guess on what I thought was in it? Here is the textual description from the creators: “It was a pastrami patty stuffed with Munster cheese on house made rye hamburger buns topped with roast pork; the middle bun was Danny’s portuguese muffin topped with brisket, mustard and a pickle”. Clearly a mouthful, as you can see and as we all witnessed.
Congrats to Burger Beast for putting it together and to all the participating chefs/restaurants. A great way to end a great tradition.
The other burger I had this week, and one that merited the new number one spot in my Miami Burger Ranking was the one from The Cypress Room, Michael Shwartz still relatively new, fine-dining focused restaurant in the design district (previously visited here).
Now, why on earth would one go to great lengths with respect to describing a burger? It’s just a burger right? Well, not this one. This baby has few components (4 to be exact) but each of them was so perfect on its own, and added such great value towards the final product, that yes, I feel compelled to say a few words about each.
First, the bun. People love those sweet, soft potato rolls that you would find in great burgers such as the shake shack one. But these can be clumsy if the burger is too big or is not a thin patty burger; as the moisture from the contents permeates the bun it starts to break apart. A thick patty burger requires sturdy bread that helps keep everything in place throughout. The TCR burger bun, which is homemade, has the flavour profile of french baguette but with a lighter texture. I believe the perfect bun for a perfect burger.
Second, the patty. A beef burger patty that is out there to win it should give you the same deep, strong meat flavour than your favorite steak. This is the case with the TCR burger, thanks to their secret mix of ground chuck and ribeye trimmings.
Next, the cheese. Rarely is a burger complete without cheese, it’s the glue that brings it all together and provides that extra fatty flavor we all love. Bland cheeses just add nice texture and extra calories, but the cheese in the TCR burger, Jasper Hill Landaff cheese is sharp! Bordering with Roquefort sharpness and therefore providing extra depth of flavor that makes every bite better than the previous one.
Finally, those onions. This is where the burger aims to make sure you understand this is no regular burger joint, but a fine food establishment. They have been sauteed to Thomas Keller’s Bouchon’s onion soup sweetness, adding a final and very welcome opposite flavor to the mix.
This is the Ultimate burger, the “no sauce required” queen, my new number one burger in Miami and no doubt one of the best I’ve ever had. Great job Schwartz, Alcudia & Co.
Imported restaurants risk failure in the translation of the execution. How is this dish going to taste exactly the same as in the sibling up in New York or out in Los Angeles? This is where chefs like Daniel Boulud rely heavily on management skills and less on technical skills, since delegation and cloning require more talent brewing than anything else. Since its inception in 2011, db Bistro has counted among its chefs some great Boulud alumni, like Jarod Verbiak who is now in China and Mathieu Godard, currently heading the kitchen along side pastry chef Jerome Maure. These young guns are the ones making sure your meal is as great, probably greater than at any of the db Bistro Modernes, be it NYC or Singapore.
There is no french fine dining competition in town. Every dish, every single time has been a pleasure to eat and a joy to devour.
You are greeted with warm gougeres, the cheesy staple of savory french pastries. Warm from the oven, fluffy and divine. The charcuterie board, an adventure of homemade pates, rilletes, hams, sausages and pickles is the perfect “discovery” dish, as you try each element after another and find new textures, great versions of known meats, and different combinations altogether (bread + mustard + pickle + saucisson sec = BOOM).
A pea and ricotta ravioli dish had an almost equal diversity of flavors and demonstrated the level of detail and expertise in the kitchen. A small dolop of thick green sauce here, a bit of white onion foam there, a carefully placed herb, and a perfectly braised, I mean perfectly braised veal cheek nested in the middle of the soft, sweet ravioli.
The cote de beauf for two is presented sliced into tender, 1/2 inch thick slices and comes with a peppercorn bernaise that screams textbook perfection. The sides, beautifully roasted asparagus, mushrooms and some bite size “dauphinoise” balls, create an altogether brilliant experience for the most demanding of beef lovers.
This is the place to go when I really feel like a treat. The elegant room, knowledge and serviceability of the entire staff and best in town food make it probably the best if not the best, fine dining establishment in town. Daniel Boulud, wherever in the world he happens to be globe-trotting at, should be proud.
Write to you next week!