2 stars for "uneven" French at La Gloutonnerie on South Beach

 

2 stars for "uneven" French at La Gloutonnerie on South Beach

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Victoria Pesce Elliott

La Gloutonnerie, the Mexican import of an ambitious French brasserie, definitely got the name right. This low-key replacement for the kitschy Au Pied de Cochon is a friendly South Beach addition for those craving enormous portions of pricey French fare with some Italian and Latin flavors thrown in for good measure.

Ambience: The redesigned space in a gorgeous Art Deco building is pretty in a stage-set kind of way. It’s luxurious but cozy with its backlit wine wall, finely upholstered banquettes and rustic wooden tables set cleanly with gray paper placemats. Large globe lights shed a flattering glow. Servers are friendly, though not particularly well-versed in French fare or language. Ours seemed unable to make out my Parisian friend’s order (or mine, for that matter), and busboys were either overeager or absent.

What Worked

  • An irresistible basket of warm, crispy, butter-yellow baguettes, olive bread, chunky whole-grain peasant loaves and puffy, Gruyère-topped gougères
  • Exquisitely velvety foie gras terrine gorgeously plated with a dab of fig chutney and a delicate but unnecessary embellishment of tiny edible flowerswarm
  • Extra-flaky fennel biscuits
  • A bronzed, tender and juicy roast chicken half
  • A well-marbled, Fred Flintstone-sized entrecote cooked to a perfect medium-rare
  • A gigantic Grande Marnier soufflé with a perfect crème anglais

 

What Didn't Work

  • Overwrought, over-portioned offerings
  • Fingerling potatoes that could have used more crispness in the skin and less sweetness in the sauce
  • A beautiful looking gratinée Lyonnaise (classic onion soup) with a heavy-handed broth tasting of too much wine
    Bright and crunchy but drenched salade des cotes d’armor with lobster, asparagus and avocado 
  • Clunky porto brandade served on polenta squares with a smack of truffle oil
  • Thick & pasty cod balls
  • Dry escargots by the dozen served with a bland, chunky paste of parsley butter
  • A bordelaise sauce the color of molasses and twice as thick that detracted
  • Overcooked shrimp and shallots flambé with cognac
  • Tawny, stringy, salty and over-sauced duck confit 
  • A mélange of sticky, roasted carrots and shiitake mushrooms
  • Ggooey potato gratin
  • A “traditional, vintage crème brûlée” - three shot glasses: A stiff & spongy citrusy rendition with a perfectly caramelized top, cold & rubbery plain & velvety smooth chocolate

 

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