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Maison d'Azur Lunch

Five of us met yesterday at Maison d'Azur for our end of year lunch and we had a wonderful time. Two of us had been at other lunches together, and there were three new faces.

I actually have eaten lunch at Maison d'Azur once before. My colleague and I shared the Dover Sole with Champagne Sauce ($72) and an Arugula Salad. Dover sole is a delicious fish. If you've never had it, you really must try it sometime. But their Dover sole has some sort of heavily salt-based dry rub on it which totally overpowers the fish’s delicate flavor. You can choose a sauce to go with it and we chose a Champagne sauce. It was watery and practically tasteless.

Yesterday, I ordered the Classic Mediterranean Fish Soup with Grated Cheese & Saffron Aïoli
($11) and the Pressed Duck Confit Sandwich with Frisée Lettuce and Pommery Vinaigrette ($14).

The fish soup, while redolent of a rich fish stock base was heavily salted. The bits of seafood in the soup were dry and overcooked. The saffron Aïoli again was so salty that the flavor of saffron was imperceptible. I hate to be a total grouch but I believe that the grated cheese had been pressed into a little ramekin and forced to live in the refrigerator overnight. When it came to the table, it was like a clump of little shavings soldered together.

The bread is excellent and is brought to the table with small dishes of rosemary butter and tapenade. Both times that I have been to this restaurant I could tell that the rosemary butter had come straight from the subzero refrigerator to my table. It too was hard as a rock.

The Duck Confit Sandwich is a puny little thing. Two grilled pieces of bread (rye?) imprisoning a few scrapings of smeared duck confit and a few droopy leaves of frisée lettuce. It comes with fries which everyone agreed were very good and a fatigued green salad, also heavily salted.

Have I neglected to mention that the food in this restaurant is consistently heavily salted? It's really shameful.

On a more positive note, the Goddess Parkina was with me yesterday and found me parking spot right in front of the restaurant.

My lunch mates will be filing their reports shortly.

Happy New Year to all.

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  1. I was one of the three new faces at our "Farewell 2007" lunch at Maison d'Azur. Because I really appreciate well done renovations of old Miami Beach buildings, I have to say the Hotel Angler and the restaurant are both beautiful. The decor in the restaurant is lovely, all in golden yellow and blue with lots of fresh flowers, fresh white linens and I think the floors are reclaimed old wood planks.

    That being said, the food is fine, but for the prices, no. I had a small piece of good french bread with the olive tapenade accompaniment , but I did notice the rosemary butter was hard as a rock. I had the salmon salad ($16) , which was lettuce, sliced hard boiled eggs and tomatoes and about 3 oz. of salmon. Good, but I can make a better grilled salmon salad! I took a nibble of the seafood soup and vichyssoise (yes, the seafood soup was oversalted) and the sandwiches (duck confit and chicken) of two other guests, and enjoyed them.

    We had a nice two hour lunch and I really enjoyed meeting everyone in the group. I hope to meet more South Florida chowhounds at the next outing.

    The desserts are $12, which only one of our diners tried. I took a taste of the pistachio ice cream filling one of the profilteroles, and as much as I like pistachio ice cream, it had a texture that seemed a little powdery.

    1. LH, if you didn't like the place why did you plan a "lunch hound" lunch there???

      1. You had $72 dover sole and you didn't really like it? Yikes!

        3 Replies
        1. re: moonsea

          Spent $72, didn't like it and suggested it to a chowhound group. PRICELESS.

          1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

            I'm sure you are both intelligent people Moon and AKA and not to feed your fodder, but what I wrote were my feelings about the place. I suggersted it along with 4 other places and the people who corresponded with me made the final selection.

            Please join us for a lunch next year and we all look forward to your suggestions and insights.

            1. re: Lunch Hound

              LH,

              I like that you took initiative and brought together some local hounds. Also, like the saying goes: "I'll fight to support your freedom to have an opinion even though I may not agree with it."

              But, having said that, even you gotta admit, that Chow's comment above is "PRICELESS". Not at your expense mind you, but when I saw it I started roaring in laughter.

        2. I was also one of the new faces for yesterday's lunch.
          While I am from Boca, I was excited to make the trip to South Beach and try this restaurant. I did not know anything about any of these places and went with the flow.

          All of these choices cannot be perfect...and this one was far from it.

          Decor-wise, it was pretty- not overdone but just right...Not my idea of a dinner place though,,,the worse thing about the restaurant was the NOISE LEVEL--there were only 2 tables of 6 and we were right across from each other....You could not hear the person at the end of your own table talk unless you were severely loud.

          Meeting all the people was a definite plus and I know I will be back for more lunches.

          Ok- I had the lobster salad- which the hostess highly recommended-- it arrived picture perfect complete with a large stalk of watercress sticking out of it...the frisee salad was larger than a side salad but nowhere near as large as the lunch portion should have been..My 2 oz of lobster meat, including one small claw meat section, 2 slivers of avocados and a rhubard vinegarette were delicious but I had to eat slowly as it was so meager a portion( $18 !!!)The bread and tepanade were delicious- had to ask for a second basket..the butter, as described by everyone else, was hard as a brick.

          I did taste the fish soup and salty was an understatement..I , personally, for $11 , would have sent it back...However , the Vichysciosse (sp) was delicious-- I loved that taste. I did taste the duck confit sandwich and it was good - I also tasted the chicken and cheese sandwich and it was also good- the frites were delicious...

          Still a little hungry and having read the dessert menu when I saw the regular menu ( hence the decision for salad) , I was the piggy who tried dessert- I had the profiteroles with 4 different ice creams- vanilla, caramel, run raisin and pistachio...set in fantastic chocolate fudge sauce and whipped cream ( $12)..the ice cream balls were the size of small cantelope scoops - the run raisin was the best flavor, in my opnion...but all in all , this dessert was not mind-blowing, esp for the cost.

          Service was slow- do not go there if you need a fast lunch from work- it did not bother me, but I had nowhere else to be that afternoon.

          One word of advice- when they ask if you want sparkling water, and you say NO- they bring regular bottled water- it was opened before I knew what hit me...at $7 for bottled water ( which I know is the going rate), I was annoyed that they assumed I wanted any bottled water when I asked for regular water...the 2nd time they brought water, after the bottle was used up, we got TAP water- which I have now learned to ask for by name....

          All in all, a pleasant experience to meet all the people , but food-wise, a DEFINITE I will NOT be BACK......

          O)K Guys, next month let's get creative and more realistic in pricing...I know I saw the menu on line but for the price, I acutally expected food to go with the high price--lol!!

          5 Replies
          1. re: Andy

            Unfortunately more and more in our society price doesn't always equal product.

            1. re: Andy

              Man, I had 3 great meals there, and the last time they fixed the butter thing. Their lobster boulibasse and their scallops were great. I was not impressed by the profiteroles either but their creme brulee is easily the best I had in miami. Their strip steak is great too.

              1. re: tpigeon

                TP,

                Were your meals lunch or dinner? If both did you detect a difference? Many times, as we all know, the lunch vs dinner thing can be tricky. BTW, over salting is usually an attempt to cover-up past its prime food (not saying thats what they experienced but ....).

                1. re: eatnbmerry

                  I did both and the food was consistent. My boulibasse and scallops were not oversalted and neither was my steak. WRT bread and butter, the first time I went they had dinner rolls and rock hard butter, second time french bread and rock hard butter, third time - a week ago, they had hot french bread and soft butter.

                  1. re: tpigeon

                    TY,
                    To be honest, I think the hard butter negative is minor at best. As to the salt issues, perhaps one of the line cooks had a bad hangover and shaky hand :).

            2. kudos to lunch hound for attempting to get local chowhounds together.Being too busy doing 5 double shifts in a row this week to attend the last luncheon,i hope the new year brings me the ability to meet others on a sunday or monday.

              1. I was one of the five hounds who lunched recently at Maison d'Azur. I started my meal with a cup of Vichysoisse ($7). The chilled potato-leek soup, which I've enjoyed many times in various restaurants, was the only real disappointment in my meal. One of my dining companions thought it was delicious, but I was surprised by its consistency (a bit thin), its color (green – our server explained it was the chive-infused oil added to the soup) and its flavor (slightly tangy and lacking the sweet cream flavor of Vichysoisse I've enjoyed elsewhere).

                Although I was tempted by the Lobster Salad ordered by one of my fellow hounds, I think I lucked out with Le Sandwich au Poulet, or Chicken Sandwich ($14). A fresh, chewy baguette was layered with thick slices of fresh, moist roasted chicken, sliced tomato and avocado, lettuce and herb mayonnaise. I thought the flavor of the sandwich was excellent and the portion size generous. The sandwich was served with perfectly cooked, fresh-cut French Fries – crispy on the outside, moist and chewy on the inside – and a simple green salad (tossed with a light vinaigrette and too much salt) that was more decoration than substance.

                I had a taste of a fellow hound's Fish Soup and agree with the assessment about it being too heavily salted. I sampled the Duck Confit Sandwich and, although it didn't look all that impressive, I enjoyed the flavor of the duck, grilled onions and rye bread – a French interpretation of a Reuben, perhaps? I sampled the Lobster Salad and thought it was good but not remarkable, and was glad I had ordered something different. I also had a taste of another hound's dessert – Profiteroles – and thought it was a fairly pedestrian version of this typically French dessert.

                Maison d'Azur's setting in the beautifully renovated Angler's Hotel made for a nice place to spend a couple of hours over a leisurely lunch. Our server was friendly but, as noted, service was slow – perhaps because she was juggling an office holiday lunch with 8 or 9 guests at another table. Had I been in a hurry to get back to the office that day, I would have started stressing even before my sandwich had arrived.

                I don't know if the overall value was worth the high prices at Maison d'Azur. If I did return, it would only be for an encore of my Sandwich au Poulet. I did enjoy meeting some new hounds, and thank Lunch Hound, our instigator and organizer, for making the time and effort to get us all together. Looking forward to our next lunch, wherever that may take us...