French import Plethore & Balthazar lands in SoFi

The who: Restaurateurs Fabien Charlard and Julien Geliot have imported their France-based chain Plethore et Balthazar to SoFi and tapped Chef Diego Amat Lopez (La Estrella de Plata in Barcelona) to helm the kitchen. The grand opening is set for October and this is currently a “preview period.”

The space: The former De Rodriguez Cuba dining room at the Hilton Bentley South Beach has been glammed up with leather walls, cushy mustard-colored chairs and soon-to- be-painted graffiti columns. An outdoor patio provides poolside seating.

The dishes: Traditional French and Spanish-inspired cooking. The menu comprises flatbreads, tapas, ceviches, paellas and largers mains. Prices are on par for SoFi with starters $13-$19 and mains $24-$48.

Small tapas plates include patatas bravas and cast iron pots of gambas al ajillo shrimp in garlic sauce. More robust starters include the steamed mussels a la Française, delectable mussels served in a fresh tomato sauce with basil, Sauvignon wine and pernod and pan con tomate topped with Iberico ham. Seafood is the focus with a grilled octopus salad with cumin carrot, cucumber and tomato and a salmon papillote with kalamta olives. Paella with chicken and seafood is offered, as is a roasted chicken stuffed with mushrooms, 14-ounce Prime NY strip and a burger topped with Emental cheese.

Desserts include key lime pie, bourbon creme brulee and chocolate fondant cake.

Bottom line: A flashy French newcomer hopes to revive the De Rodriguez space with tapas and French classics.