By Nancy Ancrum
At Jean Sebastien Bailly’s 2-month-old bistro, The Boutique Kitchen, comfort food, no matter its culture, is king. His mother is Haitian, his father Sicilian, his menu global: churrasco steak with black beans and rice; meatloaf and garlic mashed potatoes; coconut curry chicken; paella; oxtail with polenta; spaghetti with calamari; peach cobbler. Patrons can eat in or, as most do, take it home, where comfort food works best. Bailly, 36, works alongside his mother, Evelyne Dominique, 55. He wanted his own place, and mom made the investment. We’ll let them tell their story:
Bailly: I studied in the school of hard knocks in New York City. Mom had me go to a private culinary high school. I was accepted to the Cordon Bleu in Switzerland and Johnson & Wales, but Mom didn’t have the money. That forced me to decide how badly I
wanted to do this. When you’re a kid, you just want it; you don’t know what it’s going to take. Then I met my mentor, [Manhattan chef] Matthew Kenney.
Dominque: I was a single mom. I felt that dinnertime was the only time I had to really find out what they were doing, the projects they were working on. I made macaroni au gratin with a béchamel sauce, roasted chicken with mashed potatoes, a lot of salads. I loved to make soups, potatoes and leek, and so does Jean.
Bailly: My background has been in fine dining. But at the Boutique Kitchen, it’s more like family meals. People are so happy to come here they keep menus in their cars. If it’s raining, if it’s a Blockbuster-movie night, they want good takeout. They can come in, play a game of dominoes, a game of checkers, have a beer.
Dominique: Working with my son is an interesting experience. I love him as a mother, I
respect him as an artist. But just because he’s my son, I won’t say that I like everything. The boundaries are clear so we can evolve. It’s so hard to maintain the right balance
because he’s my kid. But I’ve got a business to run.
Bailly: My mom is a foodie. She wanted to invest in something to support me out of love.
We started looking for spaces. Now people can come in here and have anything they want. There’s warmth and energy — mother energy.
The Boutique Kitchen, 6815 Biscayne Blvd, Miami; 305-756-0089; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon-Thurs; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri and Sat; salads and sandwiches $4.75-$8.75, entrees $8.50-$11.75, desserts $2.75.
FYI: Wine and beer only. Parking behind restaurant and on street. VS, MC.
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