Focaccia Bistro is an Italian and French inspired restaurant, that appears to also occasionally dabble in Peruvian cuisine. It is a tiny and unassuming little bistro-style restaurant located on one of the main streets in Coconut Grove. It is difficult to spot on the busy street, unless you know what you are looking for. Armed with an appetite, and my love for Italian and Latin foods, I dove right in.
Not long after being seated, they bring out a bread basket.
The bread was crusty and soft in the middle. The oil and balsamic vinegar that they served for dipping was incredibly flavorful. The vinegar did not have that unpleasant bitterness that some vinegars have. Since I don’t like olives, I didn’t touch the bowl of marinated olives. My friend enjoyed them, though.
For our appetizer, we ordered the Parmesan scallops. Parmesan scallops are actually a popular Peruvian dish, which I have largely ignored until this point. After all, seafood and cheese rarely ever work well together. But, given my recent experiences with seafood and cheese (Lobster Mac and Cheese, anyone?), I decided to keep an open mind. I have to say, this dish was pretty exceptional. Underneath the blanket of Parmesan cheese was a perfectly cooked, tender scallop, kissed with a hint of white wine. Squeezing a little bit of the lemon really brightened up the flavor profile, but wasn’t even necessary.
My companion ordered the filet with peppercorn sauce, which was spectacular. The meat was tender and juicy. The side of potatoes au gratin were not short of cheese, which is a good thing. I would have nabbed another forkful of those potatoes off of her plate, but that would have been impolite.
My dish was the shrimp risotto. Yes, it’s as fabulous as it looks. The luscious, creamy risotto is chock full of nice, plump shrimp. The shrimp were perfectly cooked, not rubbery. They add something special to the broth that they cook the rice in for the risotto that I can’t quite put my finger on. My best guess would be saffron. Still, you can’t beat a bowl of creamy, cheesy rice with shrimp. That is a horrible way to describe risotto, I know. Nothing can really do it justice. You just have to try it for yourself.
I was pleased with my experience at Focaccia Bistro. The food was great, and the servers were very friendly and attentive. The owner even came out to greet us and thank us for coming, which was a nice touch. This is a great little spot for intimate dinners with close friends, or for a date. Large groups might have a tough time fitting into the small space, though. I will definitely be coming back!
For more information on Focaccia Bistro, visit http://www.focacciabistro.com
UPDATE 3/28/2017: this restaurant has permanently closed