Cafe Margaux- Cocoa Village- 5.0-Stars
"Too many cooks spoil the broth" -- Anonymous
28 years. 28 years in the same spot says a lot about a restaurant. Namely, they cook damn good food. Cafè Margaux has been in the historic Belair Courtyard for 28 years. They have expanded, opened a sister steakhouse in the same center and even bought the entire building. They must be doing something right and I am fairly certain it is the food and not the "team service" experience. There is nothing I can say that has not already been said about the owner of this fine establishment, Alex Litras and his Executive Chef for more than 20 years, Chef Erol Tugrul. As such I shall not bore you any more than usual and get right to the food reviews.
I think our server was Michael, but with so many walking around with blinders on, it was hard to pinpoint one. Jennifer started out as the team leader and she was very peppy, happy and exuded enthusiasm. I got lost in the team service concept and if we here at BBDO included things such as ambiance and service in our ratings, this place would drop a star for sure solely because of the discombobulated service set-up. Alas, we do not and so I stand by the 5-star review.
Deciding to take full advantage of their bar we began with one Prince Reviver and a Glenlivet 18-year-old, neat. As for our meal, we asked for Coquilles St. Jacques, Escargot and Confit Duck Rillettes Focaccia to start things off and continued with an order of Walnut and Fig stuffed Quail and some Penne Pheasant Breast to complete the experience. Twenty-three minutes later and our drinks are still MIA. Maybe the order got lost in the team shuffle going on in the back, who knows? I had to corral a specific server to complete the 23-minute wait for the 20 servers not bringing our drinks. When they did finally arrive, I must say the Prince Reviver was unique and delicious and the Scotch had an extremely generous pour (making up for time lost?).
Thankfully, it wasn't another 23 minutes until our food arrived as Michael was soon seen approaching our table with a tray laden with delectables. The scallops in the Coquilles St. Jacques were tender and sweet, the mushrooms fresh cut and the white wine cream sauce reduced to a perfect consistency while holding its complex flavorings. It was superb, to say the least. The Escargot was cooked properly and I found them to be quite exquisite in their texture and taste. While I was still enjoying the memory of the recently devoured Escargot, I tried the last appetizer on the bill, the order of Confit Duck Rillettes Focaccia. This was also sublime. They were smooth and flavorful while the sauce was light and creamy.
Moving on to our accompanying salads before digging into the olfactory treasure chest that was our entreès was a smart move on my part. The Cranberry vinaigrette was bursting with flavor and the salad was clearly homemade. Sadly, the bread service was lacking and nothing to write home about at all. Bread service is the first contact the kitchen has with the guest and it should really set the bar for the following meal. In this case, the bread was the last one standing in a game of kitchen limbo and the rest of the food was setting a pole vaulting state record. Speaking of the rest of the food the order of Walnut and Fig Stuffed Quail had to be some of the most delicious fowl I have ever chewed upon. It was fresh, tender, juicy and the combination of the English walnuts and figs was crunchy and superbly executed. This brings me to the final item to be reviewed, the order of Penne Pheasant Breast. The pasta was obviously homemade and cooked to a perfect al dantè. The Pheasant breast, not unlike the previous Quail was tender, juicy and exploded with flavor on the palate. It might have been the freshly ground chorizo, or perhaps the Manchego Garlic Madeira cream sauce that made this dish so extraordinary, but whatever it was it was done to culinary perfection.
There is a reason Cafè Margaux is considered one of the top restaurants in the state of Florida year after year. The winning partnership of Mr. Litras and Chef Erol have not only churned out consistently divine delicacies, but they have constantly raised their own bar and more importantly, have surpassed it each and every time.
The Big Boy says, "If you can stand the "team" approach to service and possibly getting lost in the 20 people or so working your table, a meal at Cafè Margaux will more than make up for it!" #bigboydiningout #iamthebigboy