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Anniversary Dinner - Palme D'Or vs Maison d’Azur

What would you guys recommend? On the one hand, we know our French food and assume that Palme D'Or will probably be better. On the other hand, we don't want to be the youngest people (or the only people for that matter; being that our anniversary is on a Thursday) in the restaurant and assume that Maison D'Azur will probably be more lively.
Please let me know...
Thanks.

p.s. Can you get into the The Cellar Club at the Biltmore if you're eating at Palme D'Or?

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  1. I just wanted to mention that price shouldn't be an issue. Thanks.

    1. Palm d'Or is not a strict French restaurant. It has small plates and high prices, but everyone who has ever gone there that I know has enjoyed it. I would say Maison D'Azur, in its original rendition would probably a more enjoyable choice, but have not been since it reopened in its new location. Just to confirm, it is reopened? Also any news on Brasserie d'Azur?

      2 Replies
      1. re: Icantread

        Palme d'Or is about as French as it gets this neck of the woods. Philippe Ruiz is native French and worked there (and Geneva) for several years before coming to the Biltmore. His menu shows some Mediterranean and other influences but no more so than many other French chefs. He even got a froufy-sounding award from the French government - the "Chevalier de l'Ordre du Merite Agricole".

        I've not been to Palme d'Or so can't comment on it. For upscale French I think Pascal's (on Ponce) does some things very nicely.

        I've not been to Maison d'Azur since it reopened in the Astor. There's already a lengthy thread from the original incarnation which has my comments (as well as what may be the longest off-topic digression on wine list prices ever).
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/461145

        While commentary on Md'A was mixed, it is somewhat astonishing giving the parochialism of our local dining scene that nobody was bemoaning the absence of wings and burgers on the menu. Maybe because it was a spinoff of a NY restaurant group, that made it OK for us yokels.

        1. re: Frodnesor

          Re: Palme d'Or's Frenchness - since I have not been, and the OP claimed to know his (her) French food, I know from the menu it's not strictly French and Maison is(was) very French. Then again neither is Pascal's (again, very French in technique, but not always in cuisine). Then again, I turn a blind eye to any transgressions because he ironically makes a mean burger.

          Btw, I am considering a petition to have him bring back his pistachio island dessert.

      2. Regarding French restaurants, although perhaps a little more casual than you'd like for this occasion, La Goulue in Bal Harbor can be quite nice. Also I think Au Pied Cochon is opening in the South Point area.

        I believe restaurants like Pacific Time and Michael's have a local, dedicated, present chef/owner in the house most days and nights of the week.

        8 Replies
        1. re: midmit

          My visit this past week to MGF&D was one of the first times I've NOT seen Michael there, in what's likely a couple dozen visits. Jonathan Eismann is also almost always at PT when I've been there.

          1. re: Frodnesor

            Thanks for the replies, midmit and mmitchell. I think we will go to Maison after all. I have to admit, I like Cafe Boulud and Bourbon Steak, even though neither Daniel Boulud or Michael Mina are ever there. On the other hand, Frodo, Michael Schwartz and Jonathan Eismann have nowhere else to be but at their only restaurants. Now, there's absolutely nothing wrong with having only one excellent restaurant (and both MGF&D and PT are). That's always better than two mediocre ones, like that over-hyped and overrated chef, Michelle Bernstein.

          2. re: midmit

            We shouldn't forget Pastis in South Miami when talking about French. Very good food, though I haven't been there in some time

            1. re: Icantread

              Le Croisic on Key Biscayne is the best French I have had in Miami

              1. re: nikklos

                Thanks for the rec's. I will definitely try Le Croisic and have heard that Pastis was still good and will check it out.
                By the way, we ended up going to Maison d'Azur. It was excellent and I would highly recommend it (probably great for Valentine's).

                1. re: drmtk674

                  How's the space for Maison set up? I know there's also a Morrocan/Med restaurant at the Astor as well but don't remember the place being big enough for 2 places.

                  1. re: lax2mia

                    You probably already know this, but both restaurants are from The Fortier Group (which really means nothing to me, but they are related restaurants). They are both downstairs, but Layla was actually closed for the evening. It was in an adjacent small room with it's own bar and a lot closer to the kitchen. Strangely enough, there was also a boutique for women's beachwear that was actually open after we finished dinner. There is also a nice small bar at the lobby level and an impressive outdoor area (too cold that night). We would go back and want to try it for Brunch.

                    1. re: drmtk674

                      I think Fortier is a NY-based group. That space has always been sort of split in 2 (when Johnny Vincenz was briefly there, a big glass wine cellar ran in between). The bar in front is a very nice little space, with the water-wall behind it.