I have to admit, although I’m a Delray Beach gal at heart, I have a slight love affair, or really more like an obsession with Miami, and in particular, the Brickell area. And though the traffic is more than enough to keep me from moving there permanently, there is something magical about that place that keeps me coming back for more. I’ve passed the JW Marriott Marquis Miami plenty of times (mostly when driving in circles searching for the cheapest parking which clearly doesn’t exist), but I had never gone in. I was insanely stoked to be invited for a one night stay that included dinner at Chef Daniel Boulud’s modern French-American restaurant, db Moderne.
I can’t go any further without talking about my favorite thing about hotels: bathrooms. I have an oddly weird obsession with bathrooms. Any time I’m out, I need to check out the restroom. I love funky sinks, or when restrooms have good smelling lotion, great selfie mirrors with killer lighting, and all kinds of special touches. No joke, I have plans in the future to start an extension of this blog called Fashionably Flushed, focusing on critiquing restaurant and hotel bathrooms. I hope this isn’t getting creepy. I just freaking love bathrooms. If you think I’m excited now though, just wait until I start describing the food. Anyways, the above picture (courtesy of Marriott) barely does this grand bathroom justice. The lighting surrounding the mirror is fit for a movie star, and while you’re looking at the mirror, you’ll notice that there is a TV IN the mirror! That’s right, you can lounge in the bathtub while watching your favorite show! Seriously, bathroom goals AF.
If you’re able to tear yourself away from the bathroom, you’ll definitely want to check out the ginormous pool with a badass view. I unfortunately didn’t have time to luxuriate as there was food that needed to be eaten, but even standing up there for just a few more minutes brought on the feeling of, “Momma, I made it!”
Before the meal at db Moderne even started, they brought us the gem that is pão de queijo – a Brazilian cheese bread that is highly addictive, and definitely worth taking about. It’s so doughy and light with that cheesy flavor, and so comforting that it feels like a hug from your best friend. Enjoy it, but restrain yourself, because you need to save room for what comes next.
And what came next was the Smoked Salmon, topped with Avocado, Tomato, and garnished with Horseradish Crème Fraîche. Gorgeous? Yes. Tasty – OMG yes!! Maybe it’s because I only discovered that I actually like smoked salmon in the past year but there is something about it that makes my heart swoon. The horseradish crème fraîche really pulled this dish together for me with an original twist.
One of my all-stars of the night was the Mushroom Flatbread, made with Leeks, Wild Mushrooms, and Béchamel. Just look at the beauty of it – it’s like a garden of exotic mushrooms that you expect to pop up in the land of Alice In Wonderland. Each different kind of mushroom was unique in flavor and texture; it was definitely a different kind of experimentation with mushrooms.
Trying to get me to order Cauliflower off a menu over any other indulgent small plate is like trying to get me to watch a documentary on the history of knitting while an Eagles game is on. I would have passed right by this dish on the menu, and I certainly am glad that I didn’t! Just as with the dishes that had previously arrived, this plate was simply stunning to look at. The cauliflower is mixed with coconut curry and cashews, and so it packs a ton of flavor.
Since starting my food blogging journey (May 6th marked ONE YEAR!!), I’ve had my fair share of octopus, in fact, I’ve probably had more octopus in the past year than in my whole life! So I’d like to think that I really know what I am talking about when it comes to our 8-legged (tentacled?) friends. db’s version is served with Chickpeas, Piquillo Peppers, and Panisse (which is a fancy way for saying chickpea fries). Yes, chickpea FRIES are a thing. Clearly this dish had my attention already. The octopus had a decent char on it (although I’ve come to like mine heavily charred) and the perfect consistency. Once again, another db dish that is anything but typical.
Crab Cakes can go really wrong if they aren’t made right, which I find happens more often than not, so I typically stay away from ordering them, because a crab cake is like a Tinder date: you know not to set your expectations too high, and you still end up disappointed 9 times out of 10. But db Moderne’s crab cake is definitely a diamond in the rough, because hallelujah, there’s hardly any filler! You can see too that it’s baked to get that great crispness on the outside. It’s also served over a delicious Green Papaya Slaw, with Chayote (essentially a form of squash, per Google search) and Orange Aïoli, all which add a refreshing, tropical feel to the dish.
As for my favorite of the night? The Corn Ravioli, with Asparagus, Wild Mushrooms, and Corn Nage, secured a place in my heart at first bite. This is comfort food to a new level. I used to go to Boston Market and mix their sweet corn with their famous mac ‘n cheese, and this is essentially an ultra gourmet version of that. The flavor of pasta and corn together is a carb lover’s heaven. The sauce is rich and creamy. Every bite brought me closer to a euphoric state that would ultimately end in the comfort of the Marriott’s cushy, pillowy beds.
Okay, I said favorite dish, but of course, their fries stole a piece of my heart too. They’re an upscale version of boardwalk fries – hot and mushy on the inside, perfectly crisp and salty on the outside. These babies did NOT get shared.
Our last dish before dessert was the Local Pompano, served with Tomatoes, Fennel Confit, and Focaccia. Light, flaky white fishes are my favorite kind, and this fit that bill, with a deliciously seasoned sear, just by looking at it you can tell it’s another home run.
It’s taken me a few minutes to figure out how to describe how I feel about their basket of Warm Madelines. All I can come up with is that if it leaves me speechless, then that’s enough said. Because you know, I don’t often do speechless.
The platter of Bon-Bons and Macarons was something else that we were treated to – at this point I thought that life couldn’t get better, but it was like handing me a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, and then letting me play with some puppies on top. Just a complete field mine of happiness.
I bet you thought we were done here. But just like season after season of Survivor, somehow it keeps coming back. So I tasted the Arroz Con Leche, with Coconut Sugar Ring, Macadamia Nut Tuile, and Blackberry Sorbet, along with their signature Chocolate Bar, which didn’t stop there and involved Mango, Dulce de Leche Mousse
Passion Fruit & Banana Sorbet. If you’ve read this far, I applaud you, or actually I don’t, because why are you still reading and not making reservations?! db Moderne without a doubt takes the time to make every dish above and beyond what you would expect. Like I state in the title, it’s hard to make a blogger, especially a wordy, sarcastic one like me speechless, but what I experienced in their restaurant is beyond words. Experience it for yourself, and you’ll see!! (or taste!)
***I received complimentary noms in exchange for this post, however, you cannot bribe me with food, so all opinions are my own.