Downtown Miami's Café Bastille serves up Mediterranean eats

 

Downtown Miami's Café Bastille serves up Mediterranean eats

Café Bastille

Linda Bladholm

Eloise Garcia is the hardworking chef at Café Bastille, named for the fortress that symbolized of the French revolution. The mother of three boys runs it with her husband, Christian Jouault.  Eloise spent her early years with her grandparents on Santa Cruz in the Canary Islands and then joined her restaurateur parents in Barcelona. After relocating to Miami, she worked at Le Bouchon in the Grove, and met her Paris-born husband at a food festival. He grew up in Normandy, where he did a baking apprenticeship as a teen.

The couple opened a crepe kiosk in downtown three years ago. A year later they moved across the street into the cafe space and expanded the menu. Sponged walls, vintage posters and framed maps create a Left Bank feel, with wine-barrel tables providing seating outside and an open kitchen running the length of the bistro.

Start with house-made foie gras with toasted brioche and onion jam, calamari sautéed in pesto or octopus Provencal, which combines grilled tentacle slices with roasted vegetables in a reduction of sun-dried tomatoes, basil and balsamic vinegar. Entrees include steak frites with caramelized shallots, pasta alfredo, curry chicken and creamy, saffron-infused seafood risotto made with arborio rice and clams, shrimp and salmon.

Try a savory crepe with mushrooms, spinach and Swiss cheese or skirt steak, onions and mozzarella. Daily chalkboard specials range from trout with black olive tapenade to pulled pork on ciabatta. At lunch there are also sandwiches and quiche. Christian bakes the breads and desserts including white chocolate bread pudding made with croissants and cream puffs with vanilla-lavender chocolate sauce. It is also hard to resist a sweet crepe with Grand Marnier orange butter.

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