Restaurant review

Island Bistro tries to fill casual niche on Brickell Key

 

If you go

Place: The Island Bistro

Address: 605 Brickell Key Dr., Miami

Rating:* *  (OK)

Contact: 305-364-5512, theislandbistro.com

Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 5-11 p.m. Saturday

Prices: Starters $9-$20, entrees $12-$45, desserts $9

FYI: Full bar. Although gated, the island has public access. Limited street parking. Courvoisier Centre garage parking available for $3 with ticket validated by restaurant. Brickell Key delivery available. VS, MC, Amex.


jmailander@MiamiHerald.com

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.

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.

A complimentary basket of warm French rolls with butter starts the meal on a positive note, as does an appetizer of firm shrimp and seafood in a Basque pil-pil sauce of oil and garlic, a rosemary sprig saluting from the dish.

Other appetizers, however, fail to impress, particularly a pricey one our waiter recommended, foie gras with onion jam that came ice cold and hard and did not warm to room temperature and bloom into flavor until our entrees arrived.

Seafood entrees were hit-or-miss. A moist, nut-crusted corvina special was light and buttery, with a pleasing lemon sauce seeping into side dishes of truffle-mashed potatoes and snappy, sautéed zucchini, squash and onions. Grilled mahi mahi, however, was overcooked and tough. Its accompanying mango salsa was bitter, not juicy, and the mashed potatoes were cold.

The lobster, scallops and shrimp in the seafood linguine were soggy and chewy, as if frozen and thawed one too many times.

It’s best to stick to the French classics. A creamy chicken fricassee with fingerling potatoes and French green beans was silky and straight-forward. A rosemary veal chop also was respectable, but failed to live up to its price point.

Large portions make it easy to opt out of desserts, which may be wise. Our bread pudding — two thick slices of French toast with a crème anglais dipping sauce — was soggy and undercooked.

Our waiter on both occasions was ham-handed, with a tableside manner so overbearing we didn’t mind when he disappeared. (The couple next to us who spent 10 minutes trying to wave him down would disagree.)

A restaurant that bills itself as a bistro shouldn’t smack diners with entrees just shy of $50, especially if it can’t deliver the dishes or service to match. The Island Bistro seems strangely quiet and empty amid the hustle and bustle of Brickell Key. Now we know why.

Read more Miami-Dade Dining stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category