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Nov 16, 2007 03:12 AM

Maison d'Azur (SoBe)

Has anyone ventured over to Maison d'Azur at the Angler's Hotel?

Blurb in Velvet Underground's column today
"Instead, there's Maison d'Azur, another Casa Tua-esque seafood brasserie with a fabulous French accent but surprisingly little attitude. The food is stellar and the vibe is very St. Tropez"

Caviar sliders and 75 wines by the glass (scared to look at the prices..


Angler's Boutique Resort
660 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL

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  1. Damn, that menu sounds hella good! Youre lucky you didnt look at the prices though... I did and they are pretty high. Comparable to Prime 112, unfortunately. I love French food so I may give it a shot anyways sometime soon.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Blind Mind

      Interesting menu. I was a little dubious when I saw the idea of a "seafood brasserie," but having looked at it, I sort of get it.

      Edited to add - during my terrifying tour of Ocean Drive last weekend (something I try to do no more often then every 2-3 years) I noticed that the last "seafood brasserie" type place on South Beach, Les Deux Fontaines, has become a Hosteria Romana.

      1. re: Frodnesor

        Isnt that the italian joint on Espanola Way?

    2. ok, Chef Le Pape is a protege of Anthony Bourdain and was the executive chef of the Les Halles restaurants and cooked at Django. (NYC) Looks like his last stop was European Union (aka EU)in Manhattan. Is anyone familiar with him? TP?

      2 Replies
      1. re: Sobe

        I love Anthony Bourdain, think he's one of the most eloquent and funny writers and speakers about food of our generation, but for some reason the idea of a Frenchman being a protege of Bourdain makes me laugh. He's the first one to tell you that the top guys working his kitchens in Les Halles all come from Mexico.

        1. re: Sobe

          nope but I will try out this place pretty soon...

        2. Thanks for the tip, we tried this tonight and were glad we did.

          The Angler is in one of the old Spanish Mediterranean style hotel/apt buildings on the west side of Washington Ave. between 6th and 7th, and it appears they bought some surrounding lots and have built some more modern buildings around it. You sort of walk right into the restaurant area upon entering, which feels a little awkward but is typical layout for a lot of the older buildings on the beach. Inside seating is mostly cozy banquettes, we sat outside on a nice patio area with keystone tiles and nice wood outdoor furniture.

          The menu is very much French brasserie style but with a strong focus on seafood. There's a caviar section with "caviar sliders" (a brilliant marketing idea - caviar is always classy; sliders are ever-so-popular; why not "caviar sliders"?). Despite the clever name, they are basically blini w/ American sturgeon roe, for a fairly reasonable (relatively speaking) $40. Then there's a selection of more exclusive caviars with correspondingly higher prices. Then a raw bar / shellfish section with the increasingly popular "seafood plateaus" or you can pick by the item among oysters, clams, jumbo shrimp, king crab, langoustines, lobster, even whelks (sea snails, pretty much like a baby conch) and periwinkles (little sea snails about the size of your thumbnail).

          There's a fairly short selection of apps and entrees. The entrees are almost all old school French brasserie fare - moules & frites, bouillabaise, coquille st. jacques, steak & frites, steak tartare, etc., and then there's another portion of the menu devoted to a variety of fish, all simply prepared w/ your choice of sauce. The fish they say is all flown in daily from around the world and includes brittany sardines, dover sole, tazmanian ocean trout, red mullet, etc.

          We started with a soupe de poisson (fish soup), along with some whelks and periwinkles. When was the last time you got to have some whelks and periwinkles, after all? The fish soup was done in the traditional style w/ grated gruyere cheese, rouille (red pepper aioli) and croutons on the side. Good but not the best I've had.

          The whelks and periwinkles came out on one of the showy seafood towers together with some wheat toast and a selection of sauces (cocktail sauce, mustardy mayonaise, a tarragon sauce, and something else). The whelks were OK, much like a more tender conch. The periwinkles were a lot of work but quite tasty. You have to use a toothpick to fish the little buggers out of their shells, scrape off a little "hood" on the foot of the meat, all to get a little skinny bit of snail. A little bowl of them is easily a good 20 minutes work, but it tastes just like essence of the sea (and is a good excuse for dunking in the tasty sauces). They must have been pretty good, because Mrs. F, who isn't big on snails, was happily digging in.

          Here's a pretty good description of how to eat periwinkles ->

          Bread was brought with a nice herb butter and a green olive tapenade - which again, must have been good because Mrs. F doesn't like olives but nonetheless liked the tapenade. The parker dinner roll style bread was a bit of a surprise given the whole French brasserie theme.

          For entrees we had the tazmanian ocean trout w/ a champagne sauce, and the dourade with sauce vierge, and a side of ratatouille. Presentation was completely minimalist. The fish are grilled, sauce is in a bowl on the side, and the plate is otherwise completely bare. It's all about the fish, and this is OK because the fish was great. I am not big on flaky white fish, but the dourade was wonderfully tasty, basically the whole fish is filleted and opened like a book, served tail on but head off, skin on (skin having been nicely crisped on the grill). The sauce vierge enlivened it nicely, almost like a more delicate chimichurri loaded w/ green herbs and capers. The ocean trout was also quite tasty. The fish were nearly outshined by the ratatouille, though, which was delicious.

          Having had such a healthy dinner, we skipped dessert, though the thoroughly old-school dessert list was tempting - tarte tatin, crepes suzette, creme brulee, profiteroles...

          The wine list was, unsurprisingly, very French-oriented, but there were a surprising number of reasonably priced wines, including several under $40. We went with a 1997 Leroy Bourgogne Blanc which was probably around 3x retail. Almost everything on the list was available by the glass, I believe.

          For a place that has only been open a few weeks, everything was running like clockwork. We were seated immediately for our reservation, our food came out exactly when it should have, everything was prepared right, and all of the staff were exceedingly friendly and gracious. Spent a little time talking to one of the hostesses, who said she came down from NY where the group running the restaurant have 2 other places. I believe most of the staff have been imported, which would explain the absence of typical South Beach attitude and flakiness.

          Prices are not cheap. A seafood plateau for 2 is $100. Apps can go into $20+ range for luxury items like lobster. Fish mains start in the $30s and get way up there for certain items like the dover sole ($70+!). As a result we were over $60 each without including wine or tip. But it's a classy place and there's certainly nothing else like it on the beach. For good fish and seafood including some items you're unlikely to find anywhere else locally, I'd say it's worth a try.

          45 Replies
          1. re: Frodnesor

            Great report. AltaMar is my go-to place on the beach for fish but looking forward to trying something new. Nice to hear about good service on South Beach.

              1. re: Frodnesor

                It sounds like you enjoyed the food, but your rapturous recap doesn't really make the place sound worth it. No snooty service? What, I'm supposed to be humbled because they're not spilling gravy on me? And at $60 each, which I interpret as approximately $20 app. and $40 main course, those periwinkles better be made of gold. Your tab, with tax and tip, was probably over $300, NOT including dessert, coffee, or after-dinner drinks. That is not 'not cheap', that is outrageous. my friend. Additionally, I'm all for having wines under $40 on your list, but throwing on bottles that I can get at my local liquor store for $8 and then charging $34 for them is certainly not reasonable. Your Leroy, incidentally, is a $22 bottle retail. At $76 on the list, I can not fathom how this is not pure gouging. Three-and-a-half times retail; or to put it another way, at least $60 over cost. I don't see one bargain on this expensive AND overpriced wine list. Sounds like another over-hyped South Beach rip-off to me.

                1. re: Miami Danny

                  MD -

                  - you've way overshot the bill. $60 x2 + $75 wine + tip (generously pre-calculated at 20%) = $235. No dessert, etc., but we probably also spent more on the wine than was "necessary" to have a decent meal.

                  - I've become so inured to ridiculous markups that 3x retail seems reasonable. It needs to get to 4x+ before I consider it gouging these days. And I would call it 3x, not 3.5x, since Wine Searcher prices on the Leroy range from $20-30 and I'd use the average.

                  - overall I didn't find the wine prices particularly outrageous. They only have the whites and roses on the website, not the reds, but the markups are generally 3x retail and under - some much closer to 2x. And the lower priced wines are not necessarily slouches. Without getting into a debate about merits of point ratings, but just using them as a handy benchmark, the Pichot Vouvray ($40), for instance, was a 90 pt Spectator and 89 pt Parker (and is on winesearcher at $20). The Baumard Savennieres is a 90 pt Spectator and 91 pt Parker, and at $55 is under 3x retail (prices range $18 - 26). The Verget Chablis at $49 retails for $30 which would seem eminently reasonable. Of the wines on the website list, over 1/3 are $50 or under - not a bad selection. (Mind you, they just opened - I'm sure they'll move up once they get a feel for what their competition is doing).

                  - Those periwinkles most definitely were not made of gold. Overall the prices were no more or less outrageous than any number of high end (and not-so-high-end) steakhouses, for instance.

                  - Over-hyped? Dunno, hadn't heard much about it other than the posting here which referenced a tiny blurb in the Herald. That blurb, by the way, would seem to be more the product of a good PR person than anything else. I was there last weekend on an absolutely perfect Saturday night and inside & out the place was only about 3/4 full, hardly "standing room only".

                  - Rip-off? Look, to each his own. Some people can't fathom ever paying anywhere close to $100 for a meal, ever, and I fully understand that. Some people do it every night without batting an eyelash; I don't understand that quite as well. And the place certainly won't make everyone happy. The food is pretty simple. Indeed, it's not a place I'd be going to every night even if I could - there's only so much plain fish I can take, after all, no matter how fresh it is. But I thought it was an interesting concept, overall I thought they did it well, and the service was top-notch. I'd certainly rather have this than yet another steakhouse.

                  1. re: Frodnesor

                    I'm familiar with the 'concept' of expensive meals. What we're talking about is blatant gouging. 3X or more retail? If you are willing to accept that, then you probably think a teaspoon of sea snails is a bargain at any price. I don't, and I won't.

                    1. re: Frodnesor

                      ...and the wine is $22 locally, and paralelle 45 is $8 at my local liquor store. Prices only matter on the ground.

                      1. re: Miami Danny

                        I wasn't remotely suggesting the wine I had was a bargain, only that (1) the markup was not outrageous compared to other local restaurants and (2) the wine list had some other decent and more reasonably priced options - several of which were well under a 3x markup.

                        Look, 2x retail used to be the norm, but other than in wine-growing regions and in really wine-friendly restaurants, I just don't think that's the case any more, particularly in the lower price ranges. Now it would be an uncommon bargain. I sure can't come up with anyplace in Miami that has a good wine list that is generally pricing at 2x retail. Timo probably comes closest. I have no clue what would be next on the list.

                        But I don't think it's just Miami, I've seen much the same just about everywhere I've been except Northern California and Oregon. And since I know you won't just let it go at that, here's a not-so-scientific sampling (mostly based on where I can find wine lists online) ->

                        Tru (Chicago) ->
                        - Babich 2005 Reisling $33 list / $12 retail (2.75)
                        - Craggy Range 2006 Sauv Blanc $50 list / $18 retail (2.8)
                        - Alvaro Castro 2004 Dao $60 list / $17 retail (3.5)
                        - Petalos de Bierzo 2005 $50 list / $20 retail (2.5)

                        Blackbird (Chicago) ->
                        - Dagueneau 2005 Les-Pentes Pouille Fume $53 list / $20 retail (2.7)
                        - Joly Savennieres 2004 - $121 list / $37 retail (3.3) - same wine at Maison d'Azur, 2003 vintage, for $99 BTW
                        - Domaine La Bouissiere 2004 Gigondas $69 list / $25 retail (2.8)
                        - Andezon 2004 Cotes du Rhone $34 list / $10 retail (3.4)

                        Lumiere (Boston) ->
                        - Frog's Leap 2006 Sauv Blanc $49 list / $16 retail (3.1)
                        - Marcel Deiss 2004 Reisling $59 list / $22 retail (2.7)
                        - Castano Yecla 2005 Monastrell $32 list / $8 retail (4)
                        - Ridge 2005 Three Valleys Zin $58 list / $17 retail (3.4)

                        Veritas (NY) ->
                        - Blanck Schlossberg 2002 Riesling $55 list / $30 retail (1.8)
                        - Anthill Farms 2005 Tina Marie Pinot $95 list / $43 retail (2.2)
                        - El Seque Alicante 2004 $60 list / $13 retail (4.6)
                        - Vieux Telegraphe 2001 CDP $145 list / $50 retail (2.9)

                        The Modern (NY) ->
                        - Grgich Hills 2005 Chard $70 list / $20 retail (3.5)
                        - Ch. Montelena 2004 Cab $89 list / $35 retail (2.5)
                        - Graillot Crozes Hermitage 2005 $72 list / $30 retail (2.4)

                        Bouchon (Las Vegas) ->
                        - Martinelli 2004 Gewurztraminer $63 list / $22 retail (2.9)
                        - Au Bon Climat 2005 Chard $53 list / $16 retail (3.3)
                        - Bethel Heights 2005 Pinot $71 list / $23 retail (3.1)
                        - Vieux Telegraphe 2004 CDP $135 list / $45 retail (3)

                        It's the same all over, my friend. 3x retail is the new reality. And yes, I know you're working on a piece on wine lists and I hope this helps. Sunpost or elsewhere?

                        1. re: Blind Mind

                          Frod you have been suckered into thinking that wine list prices are going up-yes, perhaps they are at the most famous and expensive restaurants in the country that you cited-but they have always been high at these places-Tru, Bouchon? The top chefs in the world creating at the peak of their powers? And you're comparing them to this place? The trend, my friend, is for more customer-friendly lists at all but the super expensive haute temples, which are all you cite, and of course, over-hyped tourist joints on the beach. Maison is certainly not the former, and does not even aspire to be one of them. There are bottles at Michael's, Michy's, and even at the Vix on South Beach (not exactly my favorite restaurant) which are at or less than 2X retail. Good wines, too. I'm afraid you and BM have been hoodwinked. Incidentally, I don't want anyone to think I am anti-beach. I am not. I eat out at least twice a week there, and there are some great little places, with some decent, reasonably priced beverages Why would I spend my money at a place run by a company known for its mediocre food? Additionally, as I said previously, I try to get my info directly from wine retailers and actual wine lists-the internet is helpful, of course, but a lot of info is either wrong or misleading.

                          1. re: Miami Danny

                            If you have been, how would you rank the quality of wines and their corresponding prices at Clarke's, for example (a neighborhood restaurant on the beach).

                            1. re: mikek

                              I've not been but their wine list is online and is pretty nicely done. Here's a sampling ->

                              Martin Codax Albaraino $29 list / $12 retail - 2.4x
                              Groth Sauv Blanc $43 list / $16 retail - 2.7x
                              Bonny Doon Pacific Rim Riesling $25 list / $11 retail - 2.3x
                              D'Arenberg Hermit Crab Viognier blend $34 list / $12 retail - 2.8x
                              MacMurray Ranch Pinot $26 list / $14 retail - 1.8x
                              Amisfield NZ Pinot $52 list / $29 retail - 1.8x
                              Willakenzie Pinot $45 list / $20 retail - 2.3x
                              Hedges 3 Vineyards blend $40 list / $18 retail - 2.2x
                              Bogle Petite Sirah $24 list / $10 retail - 2.4x

                              Pretty nice selection of good QPR wines and pretty reasonable markups on average. Not sure if MD would consider anyone hoodwinked by the +2x markups on several bottles - I think overall it's a pretty fair wine list.

                            2. re: Miami Danny

                              MD -

                              It's not a matter of being suckered or hoodwinked. In general, wine list prices are going up and it's not just at the most famous and expensive restaurants.

                              I have definitely seen some customer-friendly lists, but other than in wine-producing regions like Northern CA, I would call it an anomaly rather than a trend. The trend is surely in the opposite direction in Miami, that much is clear to me at least.

                              I like the wine list at Michy's. Michael's wine list I actually think is something of a weak link for the place. Though there are some fine choices, there's very little which gets me excited. Both places - like Maison d'Azur - have some wines at around 2x retail, and some that are well in excess of that.

                              Examples from Michael's list:
                              Falesco Vitiano Rosato - $30 list / $10 retail (3x)
                              Dutton Goldfield Chard - $69 list / $32 retail (2.2x)
                              Pascal Jolivet Pouille Fume $45 list / $17 retail (2.6x)
                              Phelps Cab 04 - $99 list / $38 retail (2.6x)
                              Ridge Three Valleys Zin - $34 list / $16 retail (2.1x)
                              D'Arenberg Footbolt Shiraz - $43 list / $14 retail (3.1x)
                              Felsina Chianti - $34 list / $17 retail (2x)

                              In other words - some reasonable prices, some exceeding the 3x retail which you've characterized as "pure gouging." Michael's, much as I love it, is also certainly not a 'haute temple" either.

                              The reason for the restaurant examples I chose was b/c they are the ones I could find which had wine lists with prices online. Some (such as Veritas) are certainly places that are wine-centric where you would expect fairer markups (and often get them, but generally on the higher priced bottles).

                              As for internet prices - winesearcher directly links to online retailers and you can click through to verify the prices on the retailers' websites (and I've done so on at least a sample basis to confirm these retail prices). That is the "price on the ground" that I can buy those wines at.

                              1. re: Frodnesor

                                Really, with the accolades Michaels gets on this board, one would think it is the new Taillevent :).

                                1. re: tpigeon

                                  I'm still unclear what opinions are about Maison d'Azur. I'm trying to decide between this and Table 8. Food, atmosphere, service and overall enjoyable experience are the priorities.

                                  Opinions please.

                                  1. re: ems

                                    I've been to Table 8 twice now and have been underwhelmed both times. I'd go back to Maison d'Azur before I'd return to Table 8.

                                  2. re: tpigeon

                                    Frod-I don't know where you got your numbers, but as of today, and I am scouting retail stores every day, the Ridge Zin is $18 at Total. Phelps Cab-$45 These are outstanding wines at outstanding prices to name just two of my favorites on the list at Michael's. Your figures are simply incorrect, and this skews your whole theory, my friend.
                                    Frod, by 'on the ground' I mean available locally right now.
                                    Through the magic of computers, on-premises, paper wine lists can be 'updated' every day, whereas web wine lists, including retailers', are notoriously, how shall I say, not. My point was not that Michael's or other places have wine lists where every single bottle is priced well-my point is that there exist some great/good bottles at great/good prices on some lists, and on others, there is nothing, or close to it. And on MdA's, I see the latter.

                                    1. re: Miami Danny

                                      I told you where I got my numbers - Multiple online retailers have the wines at the prices I've listed, and often for less. I've clicked through to verify the prices and availability. I've typically taken averages of mulitple prices available, some higher some lower. I regularly buy wine online and have never had any difficulty having prices given online honored.
                                      Examples ->

                                      In any event, we're not talking about differentials so significant as to materially skew the underlying premise - the restaurants you refer to have some good values and some 3x+ wines.

                                      Circling back to MdA, I've already given you examples of wines on their list that would fit your definition of value ->
                                      Pichot Vouvray 2002 $40 list / $20 retail
                                      Verget Chablis 2006 $40 list / $30 retail

                                      Are they all bargains, or even reasonable? No. But I don't think it's much more out of whack than anywhere else. I found it more reasonable than, for instance, Talula's wine list, which has just gotten out of control - much to my chagrin, as I still love the food.

                                      1. re: Frodnesor

                                        Seems this post got hijacked!!! :-) and as such....I will continue the tradition.

                                        The gouging begins with the ??? per foot, operators have NO choice but to go for 2.5x and up on their vino. When you get to 3 and 4x it's rather ridiculous. They should blend it to achieve an acceptable markup while at the same time entice their guests to BUY. Why not do a buy one get the second one at 50% off or some such gimmick? This would definately spawn sales which would achieve more cashflow for the establishment and at the same time get the multiplier down to a more palettable number for the diner/s.

                                        One thing MD said was that caught my eye was: "I don't want anyone to think I am anti-beach. I am not. I eat out at least twice a week there, and there are some great little places, with some decent, reasonably priced beverages"

                                        Can you please provide some of your beach favorites...I'm dying over here and could use that formula!

                                        Frod, you are a vino guru for sure. Have you been to the sobe Novecento on Tuesday nights for their 50% off on wine bottles yet? That place looks like it could use a little every time I drive by it - it looks empty. I have had some solid meals there and never felt gauged. It's not too fancy, which suits me fine.

                                        1. re: netmover

                                          NM-My problem is not necessarily with markup, as I've explained-it is with the ridiculous markup of average or below-average wines, forcing you (all too often on the beach, but not always) to order another beverage when you'd prefer wine. This isn't a tragedy, mind you, I just don't like paying $40 for an $8 bottle of wine.I certainly don't mind paying $40 for a $20 bottle, or $90 for a $45 bottle OF GOOD WINE (Some wines, particularly French for some reason, are often already overpriced at retail, and thus, while a 2X retail markup seems good, it's really not (see Frod's two examples above).. It can be done, but if people keep being suckered into believing that it can't be done, then restaurant prices will continue to balloon, and we all end up suffering.
                                          On a happier note: Le Bon (beers, esp. at happy hour), A la Folie (cheap plonk by the glass), Zeke's (all beers $3)-try the microwave popcorn (really, it's just a bag of popcorn they microwave). I mostly drink beer on the beach, or cocktails. There really isn't a lot of decently-priced wine, so why kill yourself?

                                          1. re: Miami Danny

                                            MD -

                                            What do you mean by "overpriced at retail"? That retailers are taking a higher markup over wholesale on French wines than on domestics? I actually suspect the opposite is the case. As the exchange rate for the dollar against the euro becomes less and less favorable (for us), I think there's been more pressure on retailers to reduce their margins on European wines in order to hold their retail prices steady. This isn't the case for Bordeaux and Burgundy in good years, where market mania takes hold, but for the rest of the European wines I think it's true. Nonetheless I still think some of the best wine values around come from the Rhone and Spain despite the lousy exchange rate.

                                            Also not sure why you suggest the 2 examples I gave from MdA's list are either not good wines or not good values. The Vouvray is at 2x retail and got 90+ reviews from both Spectator and Parker. The Chablis is from a very solid producer in what's supposed to be a good year, and is at 1.5x retail. What's wrong with that?

                                            In any event, I've never suggested that I think a reasonable wine list "can't be done" - only that with increasing frequency it is not being done, particularly on South Beach. Net is probably onto something that the high rents pressure the restaurateurs to up the margins, and I think that's easier to do on the beverages than on the food.

                                            Outside of the Beach there are many places I can think of that have good wine lists. Michy's wine list has some values (and some overpriced items), Michael's as well (though as noted earlier there's often nothing on the list that really gets me jazzed), Timo in Sunny Isles does a very nice job with their wine program, Graziano's ... I just can't think of many on South Beach and I don't think that's going to change any time soon, particularly at upscale places. So if I can find an upscale place on South Beach that isn't marking everything up 3x+, on a relative basis that's not so bad.

                                            MD - ever figure out how much the margin is on your $14 South Beach martinis?

                                            1. re: Frodnesor

                                              The wines I'm talking about are already priced too high at wholesale-and, yes, retailers will always take higher markups on 'hot' wines (see Super Tuscans) and I'm not guessing here-I was in the wine business for three years up until April of this year. "Overpriced at retail" means the retail price is too high. Period. Therefore judging the list price by the 'retail' price alone isn't valid. Parker and WS are just numbers, wrong seemingly as often as they are right. I agree that Rhone wines are great values, but not ALL of them. And not for much longer probably, after WS's #1 comes out widely...and getting sucked in to high wine list prices is like being happy that gasoline is 'only' $3/gallon.
                                              And when I get 5 ounces of Bombay Sapphire in my Martini, I know I'm guaranteed quality, taste, and a great buzz. I'm perfectly happy with the markup (and the last ones I had were $12, and two-for-one...10 ounces for $12-and a bottle of Bombay Sapphire is $24 retail-try that with premium wine!

                                              1. re: Frodnesor

                                                The really odd thing about Michael's sub-par wine list is, I am fairly certain, his business partner in the restaurant was a wine distributor in his last position.

                                                1. re: mikek


                                                  The wine distributers are part of the problem as they often urge the restauranteurs to charge excessive markups, in essence THEY are the ones who hoodwink the operators into charging these ridiculous prices! And WE suffer the consequences.

                                                  MD, that's all you got is a creperia, a belgium ?, and Zekes (which btw, I love and for all you winos out there you can get a split of woodbridge white for just 4 bux!) For brauhounds try the Moretti La Rossa(red) featuring doppio malto(double malt) and 7.2% ABV for only 3 bux(tax included)...I know they own the building and would like to thank them for bucking the sobe gauging trend, but I still wonder how the hell they do it? Gimme more for quoting Total for your retail wine pricing, that's about as far off as any magazine or web site out there. That place has the best pricing in the FLA, but unless you live in the NMB, or the FTL or make a special trip you ain't buying from them and henceforth not receiving their retail pricing!

                                                  1. re: netmover

                                                    Special trip? If one is not making a special trip to buy wine then none of this matters, anyway, NM. Because then one is only discussing this all in theory. And I'm sorry, but Total is a helluva lot closer than some wine store in Oregon that's listed on the 'net. It's a twenty minute drive from MdA, incidentally, which is at the south end of South Beach.
                                                    And, please, trash Michael's wine list if you like, but with specifics-I think they have a GREAT list. And his partner is the very well-respected Jim Clendenen, owner and winemaker at Au Bon Climat, not a distributor.
                                                    And I don't know where you get this theory that distributors force restaurants to gouge people-there are any number of factors for high prices, of which wholesale cost is just one. Ultimately the restaurant will charge whatever they think the customer will bear, and if you put up with 3X retail, that's what you get. I refuse.

                                                    1. re: Miami Danny

                                                      I have seen it countless times where the wine rep comes in and does an excel spread sheet, stating cost and what "he or she" thinks the restaurant "can" or "should" charge for the bottle. It perpetuates the problem....beleive me it does. They are not "the" problem, because as you have eloquently stated, there are many factors, including the wholesale pricing and the mind set of the operator or it's management.

                                                      As for Total, it is definately worth the drive, but I cannot go all the way up to NMB every time I need some spiked up grape juice. Their pricing is lower than most chain store's 'sale' is unbeleivable quite frankly and therefore not the best measurement for true retail pricing, certainly it's better than a wine store in Oregon I will concede you that.

                                                      1. re: netmover

                                                        NM-I have more than a few places with two or three specific great bottles-but if I reveal here, the sommeliers will yank them!
                                                        Agree that wine reps, like any salespeople, can be pushy, and I can't wait to try whatever restaurant started this thread-sorry for the hijackage.

                                                      2. re: Miami Danny

                                                        Having now taken a closer look at the Michael's wine list (at least the one available online), I'm starting to understand better why I don't get excited about it. It's not that there aren't good values. Indeed it is overall a very fairly priced list, though like many it has some bargains and some "sucker's bets." Rather, it's moreso that it really just doesn't appeal to my personal tastes.

                                                        - the reds (and 9 times out of 10 I'm drinking red) are very much dominated by "bordeaux" grapes - cab, cab blends and merlot make up fully half the choices. I just rarely drink these.
                                                        - there are some wines that would seem to just be there for the name, from producers that haven't made good wines for some time - Opus One is a glaring example, I put Clos du Val and Clos Pegase in that group as well.
                                                        - there's virtually nothing Spanish on the list (4 wines out of more than 50). Granted one of them is Alion, the second wine from Vega Sicilia, but it's a $109 wine from a lesser vintage (2002). Not a bad markup, but also not a great showing from a strong wine-producing region (and, I should note, one which I think actually would pair much better with his foods than the cabs and cab/merlot blends that dominate the list).
                                                        - there's even less Rhone - 2 bottles total. Again, a tremendously food-friendly wine region. To be generous, I suppose you could also add the Provencale from Jade Mountain and the Betts & Scholl grenache as "Rhone-style" wines.
                                                        - Italy also seems underrepresented. No Brunello at all, only one "bargain-basement" Barbera, nothing else from Piemonte, much less something a little more interesting from Sicily or Campania, for instance.
                                                        - the couple Oregon pinots are from middling producers and the California ones don't get me very excited either. Also weird that the list has a half dozen Bordeaux but not a single Burgundy from France.

                                                        But for what they have, generally the prices are pretty good. So I'll concede it's a matter of personal preference and not value for me. Incidentally I brought my own wine there earlier this week and they were tremendously gracious about corkage ($15 and not even a hint of displeasure). Of course it helped that we also had drinks and shared a glass of our wine with our waiter.

                                                        1. re: Frodnesor

                                                          Frod...if you're not already a may want to consider it! It seems to be your calling...that and a food critic!!!

                                                          Bottoms Up and please hold the Boones Farm!

                                                          1. re: Frodnesor

                                                            Of the red wines listed by varietal, there are 20 Pinot Noirs, Syrah's and Zin's, as opposed to 26 Cab, Merlot, and Cab blends. I wouldn't consider this 'domination by Bourdeaux grapes. I'm afraid you're missing the point of the 'breadth' of this wine list. There are good, cheap wines, both red and white, and some higher priced bottles for those who want to spend the money, but nothing that is really going to need a lot of cellaring. If someone only wishes to drink Pinot Noirs/Chardonnays from Burgundy, I can certainly understand that, as they are some of the best wines in the world, BUT, that is a personal choice, which one can solve, as you did, by bringing your own bottle. May I guess that that is what you brought?

                                                            1. re: genuinechef

                                                              Back on the subject at hand. I went for lunch and did anti seafood. My overall impression is, while overpriced (mostly because it is in a hotel), I found the food to be very good. WARNING - they automatically tip 20% on the bill. Watch it folks...

                                                              1) Ditto Frod's comments on the bread butter and olives. I wish the butter was a little softer though...

                                                              I had:

                                                              Steak Frites - costs $29 but I must say I enjoyed it very much. I think the steak is quite a bit better than Prime 112's which is admittedly not saying much.

                                                              Mac and Cheese $11- I went here to test the mac & cheese out being the addict that I am. I was not disappointed. I have to say that this was excellent and I suspect it is in the same class as P112's. P112's is much heavier and has more types of cheese in it. So if you want to stuff your face go to P112. If you want a lighter (but still no wimp) somewhat smoother tasting mac & cheese, azur is the place. It is easily better than the Mac they used to serve @ cafeteria. I am going to have to do a Mac off between P112 and Azur some day soon to determine the true champ of Sobe.

                                                              Creme Brulee - holy heck was this good. They knocked it out of the park with this one. Some chopped up lemon ice came on the side which you could put on. I was afraid to at first but tried it and came to the conclusion that combining them was even better. For all you brulee fans, this is a MUST go place. The brulee was just like they made it at home -- if your home is Paris, that is. It is that good.

                                                              Overall, this place is no bargain but I enjoyed the food very much and will return. They should add Onion Soup to the menu, I understand that onion soup is much more of an american tourist thing but if you are already doing mac & cheese...also, the bread is not what I would call authentic french anyway, might as well go all in.

                                                              1. re: tpigeon

                                                                ahhhh I was heading there for lunch yesterday and switched to Michael's Genuine last minute. I need to get over there and try the Mac. (by the way the Pulled Pork Sandwich at Michael's is very good)

                                                                1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

                                                                  gonna have to try that sandwich. I am hoping for something as good as river oyster was.

                                                                  1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

                                                                    How was the lunch at Michael's. The menu looks great but still have not had the chance to make it over.

                                                                  2. re: tpigeon

                                                                    TP - That's quite a lunch!

                                                                    When we were there I commented to one of the staff that there weren't many successful restaurants focusing on seafood on the Beach, and wasn't sure if this was good or bad for them, and she was quick to point out that their menu was not exclusively seafood but had steaks, etc. too.

                                                                  3. re: genuinechef

                                                                    "the wine list posted on the michaelsgenuine website is quite old. the current list is much more interesting and getting better all the time"
                                                                    Maybe someone can tell the webmaster....

                                                                    1. re: Miami Danny

                                                                      MD - I think I made clear that I agreed the list has many good values, indeed I'll go so far as saying one of the best in town from a value perspective - just not much that to my taste screams "drink me!" And indeed, I think a big part of the reason is that more than half the list is filled out with 2 varietals either singly or in combination, neither of which are my favorites. Though I guess based on last post I need to take another look at the current list, which I didn't do last time since I brought my own (but will do on next visit).

                                                                      I should also add that one of the things I love seeing (and which they have a few good examples of) is wines that have some bottle age on them rather than all current releases. In a place of this size that means they're finding some older wines from the distributor, since I suspect they don't have the facilities to really store and age properly, but still quite welcome.

                                                                      And I am not remotely the Burgundy snob you seem to make me out for - in fact I very rarely drink Burgundy and don't know them very well, b/c it's among the more cost prohibitive wines. Though in fairness I should probably confess that it was in fact an Oregon pinot I brought, so I guess you weren't too far off the mark!

                                                                      Random marginally related (to the hijacked post, not the original post) comment - went to Talula tonight, that wine list continues to be an outrage. The Ridge Three Valleys zin you love is a whopping $52! The menu has gotten a pretty thorough and interesting update though, will post separately on it at some point.

                                                                2. re: netmover

                                                                  The wine distributors (notably the largest one) do not necessarily charge every account the same price at "wholesale". The finger is apparently in the pie more here in Florida than other states -- for example., a bottle of wine that retails for $17 in California retails for $29 here in Florida... add the restaurant markup to it, and we have a disaster.

                                                                  1. re: karmalaw

                                                                    No doubt "wholesale" prices vary, often significantly, even within the state from one account to another. I've not seen the kind of spread you're referring to very often, though, except on rare hard-to-find bottles. For the most part when I compare to retail I'm comparing to local retail prices or an average of generally available prices.

                                            1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

                                              Lee Klein apparently agrees with me. He's got good taste :). Seriously folks, that creme brulee is out of sight...

                                              1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

                                                Congratulations to Maison d'Azur! I'm feeling a bit excited now - decent, top notch French fair sounds great right now!

                                                Of course, though, I'll have to study the menu to figure out how I could eat there without going bankrupt so easily... did anyone see their $1000 plate for breakfast? Mon dieu! But everything in the menu sounds delectable!

                                                1. re: mialebven

                                                  It has 2 or 3 ounces of their most expensive caviar. I am not going to take one for the team on that one, even I have my limits :).

                                                  1. re: mialebven

                                                    Not everything is so pricey, though you'll have to stay away from the caviar and most of the raw bar items. You can get a soupe de poisson for $12 and moules & frites for $22. Several of the fish are in the $30s. Most of the veggie sides are under $10.

                                                    1. re: Frodnesor

                                                      Yeah, the prices are almost like a tale of 2 menus. You can go absolutely outrageous or you can go not terribly expensive, especially for a hotel restaurant. Lots of options for both...

                                                      1. re: tpigeon

                                                        For those of you who have been, do you recommend indoor or outdoor?

                                                        1. re: ems

                                                          I'm generally not a huge fan of outdoor seating but I enjoyed their outdoor area. It happened to be a perfect night for it.

                                          2. Made it over for lunch today and really enjoyed it. The staff was friendly and very efficient.
                                            I had the pressed duck confit sandwich and it was "couldn't put it down" good. ($14) The accompanying fries were solid too. I ordered a side of ratatouille which was also very good. I also enjoyed the bread and olive spread. (Frod, it was French bread and not a dinner roll)
                                            Looking forward to going back for lunch and trying dinner. This is a nice change of pace for the beach.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

                                              sobe you need to try the brulee. I can't stress enough how awesome it is.

                                              1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

                                                Frod did have dinner rolls, they recently changed their bread to French bread. I know this because I had dinner rolls the first time I went, and I just came back from dinner there tonight where they served the improved French bread. Butter is still too hard.

                                                My current perception is this place is just about as good foodwise as sardinia but is a bit more expensive (if you partake in their reasonable offerings) and does not have the diversity of dining. Still a really great addition to the Sobe dining scene. I hope they do very well, they deserve it.

                                                Their mac n cheese is not as good as P112 but it is the new second place and is better than cafeteria was.

                                                To sum up, an upscale french bistro with food quality of sardinia.

                                                1. re: tpigeon

                                                  Haha I wasn't questioning Frod's ability to identify bread... I'm sure he received a dinner roll.....
                                                  I was Just pointing out that they were serving French bread now. Sorry if that was confusing.