In Miami, there are two types of French restaurants: those that simply offer good food and service and Le Bouchon Du Grove, which offers great food, great service and blasts French mid 2000’s techno music during a mid-afternoon lunch hour.
This Coconut Grove French-Lyonnaise bistro has an intimate, unpretentious atmosphere– so homey that I suddenly yearned for a French-onion soup, even in sweltering Miami heat. Its storefront is unassuming, the text on the front door is written entirely in French and you may begin to question if this is really the place you meant to look up on Google Maps. But once you sit at one of the 16 small, dark-stained wooden tables topped with simple red-checkered table mat, you soon realize you weren’t meant to dine anywhere else.
There were two servers on shift during the weekday lunch hour– which ends at 3 p.m.– who did not hesitate to rattle-off their favorite dishes from the lunch menu. It is clear that the servers are not only familiar with the food, but admirers of the food, which helps diners to envision what’s great about a particular dish. Go ahead and ask them about the red-wine dressing on their warm goat cheese salad, and then find yourself writing a confessional love letter to red wine dressing on a warm goat cheese salad.
The breakfast menu also ends with the main courses, but the servers are so nice that they won’t judge you, even if you order a traditional French breakfast an hour before they begin to serve dinner. Other breakfast items include French-style omelets, pancakes and soups, but the jackpot item is a pot full of steamed mussels in white-wine, moules marinières.
Menu items vary in price from around $14 for traditional French sandwiches such as ham-and-Swiss croque monsieur to $30 for a main course, such as perfectly tender duck leg confit with sautéed potatoes. If the servers tell you what their favorite menu items are, order one or more of them, because chances are they’ll be delicious.
Their wine selection is also substantial, as much as you might expect from a restaurant, but perhaps not as much as you’d expect from a traditional French restaurant. The list makes up for its brevity with descriptions of each of their red, white and rosé wines, averaging $10 a glass. Their red wines are divided by French regions in case you prefer a Bordeaux to a Southern-French.
There are plenty of reasons to love Le Bouchon Du Grove. Their exceptional food and service makes the dine-in experience absolutely enjoyable and the menu is refreshingly transparent. So, there’s no worry about getting less than what you expected. In fact, you receive so much more than what you expect from the restaurant and its menu, that it’s worth going back to dine again, and then again a few more times. The next time you’re walking in Coconut Grove and hear a techno-beat somewhere in the distance, follow your ears. It will surely lead you to the right place– your temporary French home.