Last week marked the fifth anniversary of the opening of mega-chef Daniel Boulud's Miami outpost of db Bistro Moderne. We sat down with Boulud to learn his thoughts on Miami's growing food scene, how his first half-a-decade in Miami was like and what he would have done differently if he could.
Does it feel like it's been five years?
You know, it's amazing, between fifteen years in Palm Beach and five years in Miami, that makes twenty years in Florida. But no, it does not feel like five years and I think I would say, DB was never to be a trendy restaurant, but I've seen a lot of places opening and closing in five years and the hotel [JW Marriott Marquis] has been a great partner. They have been committed to quality there and consistency and that was important for us.
As well all know, you have plenty of restaurants all over. How was the opening of DB in Miami, compared to other restaurants and your portfolio of restaurants?
Oh, if I had to redo it all over, I would have done things differently. I think we basically
I think today we have understood we can do a certain business at the bar and for light dining, in a way, and then there's the DB.
created two businesses there. We created the restaurant and the bar. At the time, we didn't know which one to promote, so there was only one. I think today we have understood we can do a certain business at the bar and for light dining, in a way, and then there's the DB. You know, overall we have been happy with what we have done there with that. I don't think that diverts too much from being French, and yet it's always an adaptation to where we are and what we can find as ingredients and what we like to do.
How is Miami's db Bistro different from your New York location?
In every one of my bistro's, there is always a touch of American into it. I love South American cuisine and there's a little bit of flirting in there with a South American touch. Or, using some local fish, local seafood, local suppliers, farmers, Swank Farm has always been a great supplier. In a sense, I think DB has its own little identity here in Miami and it's not a carbon copy of New York either, except for the DB burger.
That leads me into my next question. What would you say has been the most popular dish or dishes on the menu over the past five years?
Well, I think the DB Burger has been a staple of the menu. Steak frites, of course. We always carry quite a nice array of seafood, tuna. It depends on the time of the year, there is also either tuna or swordfish.
Obviously you're in Miami quite a bit. How would you say the food scene has evolved since you've opened the restaurant?
I think we are looking forward to the next five with certainly a little bit more gentrification
The more, better food we get, the better cooks, hopefully, we'll get, too.
around the place. Five years ago was a little deserted there, and I think, you know, the more restaurants open the better. Competition is better. People can compare the quality of service and food they can get. The more, better food we get, the better cooks, hopefully, we'll get, too. There are a lot of places where there is still that Miami sort of vibe. Is it about the booze? Is it about the girls? Is it about the food? Is it about the music? But you know, some of them are more successful than others. I think Downtown and South Beach is two different Miami's, also. I think Downtown has certainly a little more stability, often, and longevity, versus South Beach, where you have to be hot and let's see what we do next.
DB's a pretty consistent restaurant, but are there any sort of big changes in store for the next year or next five years or anything we can see down the pipeline?
Yeah, I think so. I think we definitely looked at the next five years now and sell food differently. Bring some alteration. We have not at all planned a revamping, a total revamping, but definitely keep evolving with the place, I think, absolutely.
Could you give us any hints what that might be or have you guys figured that out?
No, because it's only part of the talk right now. There's no decision on a designer or direction. But definitely, I mean, it will be cosmetic rather than structural, I don't think we want to move it anywhere. And I think we are waiting for the theater to come in, so early 2017, so in the next year we're going to plan what we need to do with DB in order to be a good thing for that corner there.