Say you had a grandma in the countryside of the south of France who lived off the land and cooked nose-to-tail a century ago? You’d be eating these updated dishes at La Fresa Francesa Petite Café & Bistro. The little French Strawberry in Hialeah is complete with pistachio-tinted walls and antique crystal chandeliers hung from a vaulted wood ceilings in. Three years old, it recently expanded to include a dining room hung with string lights and a gourmet market where you can pick up French cookies, canned white truffles or duck pate.
Start with these dishes
Get the the Mezze Francais board with mortadella, salami, olives, cheeses, black pepper pate, roasted cashews, house pickles and a bit of honey comb with La Brea raisin nut bread and grilled baguettes. Or go with the assorted cheese board with house-made papaya jam and cows’ milk cheeses. They include firm sharp tome de savoie, soft-ripened Berthaut epoisses, semi-soft pungent morbier and a triple-cream delice de Bourgogne.
The Roquefort cheese is stuffed into bacon wrapped dates. Or get the boquerones, white anchovies with almonds and lemon. There’s also thick-cut garlic bread from the Little River’s Sullivan Street Bakery, grilled with olive oil and sea salt.
Share these dishes
Sharing plates include roasted bone marrow with garlic confit, fried crab cakes with spicy aioli and, in a nod to the Cuban neighborhood, a seared foie gras slab sandwiched between two Vicky Bakery pastelito slices with Redland guava jam from PG Tropicals. There are also fingerling potatoes sauteed in duck fat and escargots in garlic butter and parsley.
Split entrees such as pan-seared salmon with corn and smoked paprika aioli, grilled Australian lamb chops with Le Puy green lentils and roasted quail stuffed with ground veal, wrapped in bacon, atop a mound of butternut squash puree. There’s also duck leg confit with parsnip puree and pear mostarda.
Specials could include silky zucchini soup with a whisper of butter, pan-seared wild cod fillet with cauliflower, braised beef cheeks with oyster mushrooms, and vacherin cheese (a cousin of brie), baked and torched into fondue in a spruce wood box. It’s served with honey and toast.
Brunch includes banana flambe French toast made with medianoche egg bread and buckwheat crepes, folded up in melted raclette cheese with bacon, potatoes and onions. Be sure to start or end a meal with Violet Freres slightly bitter quinine aperitif.
Save room for dessert
Get the French crepe or raspberry tart with vanilla ice cream.
What makes it special
Sandy Sanchez grew up in Hialeah and is the welcoming front of the house with her partner Benoit Rablat, a self taught chef from Paris, in the kitchen. The two, who are both sommeliers, met at Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles five years ago, fell in love and moved to Miami.
Their little gourmet market is a foodie’s dream. It stocks mousse of foie gras, Italian nduja (spicy salumi spread), truffle butter, black rice from Camargue and wines made from organically grown Bordeaux grapes.
If you go
Place: La Fresa Francesa Petite Café & Bistro
Address: 59 West 3rd Street, Hialeah
Contact: 786-717-6886, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hours: Lunch Tuesday and Wednesday 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Dinner Wednesday-Saturday 6 p.m.-10 p.m., Brunch Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Prices: Cheese and charcuterie $18-$30, sharing plates $8-$20, entrees $23-$30, desserts $6-$9
F.Y.I. Live music Thursday nights with complimentary wine tastings