2 stars for Brickell Key's The Island Bistro

More than 2,000 people live on tiny, urban Brickell Key. On any given evening, you will find many of them strolling, jogging or watching their children learn how to dribble a soccer ball on the village green, surrounded by high-rises in the middle of the 44-acre, wedge-shaped island just outside downtown Miami. For such a small community, the dining choices are sublime, although pricey. This is home to the Naoe sushi shrine and Mandarin Oriental’s Azul.

The Island Bistro, formerly known as Fabien’s, tries to fill a casual, French-influenced niche by offering a wide-ranging menu of cream- and truffle-adorned classic dishes as well as pasta, risotto and small plates of calamari, chicken wings and mozzarella sticks.

Ambience: Open for about a year, the bistro is in a small strip of shops laced with white latticework just inside the entrance of Brickell Key. Diners can eat on a patio or inside, where a black-and-white cityscape of Paris papers one wall. Faux brick and warehouse-style shelves of wine line the others. Wood-grain laminate tables and a concrete floor are softened by recycled wine bottles made into charming oil candles.

What Worked

  • A complimentary basket of warm French rolls with butter s
  • An appetizer of firm shrimp and seafood in a Basque pil-pil sauce of oil and garlic
  • Light, buttery and moist nut-crusted corvina special with a pleasing lemon sauce
  • Truffle-mashed potatoes
  • Snappy, sautéed zucchini, squash and onions
  • Silky, straight-forward and creamy chicken fricassee
  • Fingerling potatoes
  • French green beans
  • Respectable (but pricy) rosemary veal chop

What Didn’t Work

  • Foie gras with onion jam that arrived ice cold and hard
  • Overcooked & tough grilled mahi mahi
  • Bitter mango salsa
  • Cold mashed potatoes
  • Seafood linguine with soggy and chewy lobster, scallops and shrimp
  • Soggy & overcooked bread pudding — two thick slices of French toast with a crème anglais dipping sauce
  • A ham-handed waiter with a tableside manner so overbearing we didn’t mind when he disappeared
  • Pricy entrees just shy of $50