2.5 stars for Doré South Beach

Maybe all that glitters at Doré, the ambitious new addition to the South Beach scene, is not gold — but the place sure is stunning. This elegant, 7,000-square-foot tenant of the Ritz Carlton is also a bit scattershot. Though the name is French, the menu includes Euro and Asian flavors starting with tapas such as chicken satay and hamachi tartare, as well as fresh oysters, croque monsieur, beef tataki, gazpacho, foie gras, pastas and risottos.  It’s the kind of international menu that’s meant to appeal to an equally international crowd. However, in some ways it panders with predictable offerings from frisee salad to seared salmon with coconut rice.

Ambience: Doré, or gold, certainly describes the sexy gilt interior that is little changed from its brief life as David Bouley’s Evolution, which closed in 2007 after less than a year. The Art Deco design, an elaborate display of curves, sexy fluted lamps, glittering chandeliers and mosaics, was created by Jacques Garcia, the celebrated Parisian designer. The gorgeous linen-dressed tables are set with substantial white china and a simple spray of magenta orchids. And, though the cooking is mostly top notch, some disappointing glitches can mar an otherwise delicious night on the town.

What Worked

  • Golden orbs of fried goat cheese croquettes served with a thyme-infused honey
  • Deliciously balanced silken, house-cured duck bresaola with a thick fig jam
  • A prettily arrayed platter of gently seared beef tataki lozenges that’s gently drizzled with a creamy peanut sauce and showered in fresh micro greens
  • A gorgeous hunk of sea bass that is tender, moist and plump with flavor enhanced by a sweet nutty sauce draping a tiny tower of sticky, brown koshihikari rice
  • Gorgeous and outrageous, so-dark-it’s-nearly-black chocolate fondant topped with a ball of thread-thin spun sugar, salted caramel ice cream and shatteringly crisp shards of praline

What Didn’t Work

  • Uneven service that had dishes landing in front of the wrong diners and waitresses yanking down their too-mini black dresses and disappearing for long stretches
  • A bread basket loaded with warm slices on top and frigid ones underneath
  • A bright butter lettuce salad left drowning beneath a champagne vinaigrette loaded with herbs
  • Unexciting orecchiette Nicoise with zucchini, tomato, asparagus and olives
  • Porcini risotto with white mushroom foam with too much truffle oil and not enough truffles
  • Disappointing wines by the glass