Thursday, February 12, 2015

Restaurant Week - Day 1 (No Not THAT Restaurant Week)

So apparently my last post on this blog was my 200th post.  Rather than commemorate the event, I wrote a post about getting a chair stuck in my car, which I feel like is true to form for this blog.  Also, I wrote significantly less posts last year (only 56) compared to the year this all started (139) so I should have hit 200 quite a long time ago.  But here we are, Post 201, so what can we do to make this blog all fresh and new?  THEME POSTS!

You may recall that Wednesday or Thursday was supposed to be take your questions day, but since nobody ever once wrote me a question, I've decided it's up to me to come up with new and interesting things to talk about.  So for the next blog week (different from a regular week since i don't post every day), I am dedicating this post to reviewing restaurants that I've been to over the years.  Keep in mind that I may get bored of doing that before the blog week is over.....or before this post is over given the tangential rants I tend to go on when I write.  But for now, enjoy this first installment of:

(I deleted 3 other better titles for that much more clear one.)

Le Bouchon Du Grove - Coconut Grove, Miami, FL.

Hidden between the Biscayne Bay and Highway United States 1, nestled amongst the old, large banyan trees lies historic Coconut Grove.  It's discovery a mystery, it was named by somebody who, much like Christopher Columbus, was probably lost and thought he found coconuts.  This small area of shops, bars and hotels is more a collection of tarnished dreams and a wasted youth, spawned by its proximity to the El Universidad de Miami, a private institution that requires much more money to teach you how to be a douche than other schools around the State.  I myself partook in many a late, drunken night when the bars were still open until 5 AM.  Of course this was in my youth, (2006), when I was carefree and the world was in front me.  Age and experience matured me and in my later years (2006 and a 1/2) I sought the ambiance of a decidedly more sophisticated crowd.  That's how, one late Saturday morning, I found myself entering Le Bouchon Du Grove, which literally means THE Bouchon Du Grove.  A french restaurant through and through, Le Bouchon Du Grove is an eye-catching restaurant along a strip of other shops and restaurants on the main drag of Coconut Grove.  Away from the monstrosity that is CocoWalk, and the touristy spots that surround it like Johnny Rockets, Le Bouchon Du Grove is a sly wink and a welcome nod to anyone who would take but a pause and look into the wonderfully kitschy decor within.  And with big beautiful windows that open, allowing small bistro tables to nearly spill out into the street, it's a wonder anyone wouldn't stop there. 

To understand this restaurant you must know that it attacks and fills all five of your senses.  The first sense to fall to its charms is the visual.  As you cross the black and white checkered threshold of the foyer of the restaurant (don't walk too far or you'll enter the college night favorite Sandbar), you enter into a chaotic scene of clustered tables, waiters maneuvering around families and strollers, and decor on the wall that reminds you that THIS IS A FRENCH RESTAURANT, in the same way that Applebees reminds you that THIS IS A GIANT CLUSTER OF CRAP WE FOUND AT ROSS.  The owner, who often acts as maitre'd escorts you to a small table where you squeeze in since there's typically no room to move your chair out with how many people are inside.  If it sounds awful, it's not.  While most American restaurants promote big booths or long tables, there's something about sitting in the middle of a busy restaurant amongst like-minded people that just makes it ok.  Not to mention, it's only a matter of a few minutes before the waiter comes by with mimosas and fresh bread and homemade rasberry jam.  That jam, oh man.  That jam.  On hot fresh baked bread, a smell which wafts out of the kitchen the moment you sit down.  And what to order at such a place?  The only thing I'd ever suggest are the banana pancakes, which really are light and airy, banana filled crepes, because that sounds more French than pancakes. 

But my favorite part of this restaurant has nothing to do with the food or the decor.  It is the staff.  Attentive? Not really.  Friendly? Hardly.   But isn't that what makes them so perfectly French?  They are authentic, and in a city of half-assery, finding an authentic table to eat at is something you just can't pass up.  Whether it's the fact that when Katy Perry comes on the radio, they crank it up and start passing out mimosas, much to the horrified patrons who are being ear raped by it, or when they laughed at my brother for falling from his chair, and refusing to bring him a knife because he just couldn't be trusted, or even when they are probably mumbling under their breaths that the restaurant is filled with "Les fat Americans!", the staff complete an experience that is wholly wonderful.  I suppose this restaurant is really meant for those of you, like me, that are willing to let a restaurant take you on an Epcot ride like journey to another country.  If you're not like that, Johnny Rockets is literally around the corner you jackass.

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