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Le Cafe, Miami

Miami Danny

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Bruce and Lucia Brill, owners of Asia Bay Bistro in Bal Harbour, have re-energized the old Cafe Le Glacier, now called Le Cafe, which is located in a small strip a few blocks north of Michy's, at Biscayne and 73rd St. (305-754-6551). The idea for a French place came from the fact that their sushi bar is located next to a French bakery, and, almost by osmosis, the aromas of fresh-baked goods began to permeate their thoughts. The result is a low-key spot with mustard-colored walls, framed French posters, lazily turning overhead wooden fans, and a small bakery in the back turning out fresh baguettes and croissants every day. Every neighborhood needs at least one or two good bakeries to be taken seriously, and the Upper Eastside finally has its first. The whole-wheat loaves are crusty outside and fluffy within, and are great plain or with a little butter alongside the Segafreddo coffees they serve. The croissants are crusty without being too much so, and their healthy aroma is mostly of butter. The chocolate croissants, however, are beautifully over the top, with the filling oozing out-no need to take a few bites to locate a measly bit of filling-it's everywhere. Bread and chocolate as only the French do it. And although Bruce hails from Holland, and Lucia is from Colombia, their chef is from France. All of the soups and quiches are made from scratch, and the 'lorraine', loaded with ham, has a nice custardy zing to it, with a light crust holding it together. The 'vegetarian' is mostly spinach, which is a healthy but substantial alternative. I wasn't too fond of the lackluster seafood quiche, as I'm not a big fan of 'surimi', or imitation crab, and it would probably taste better at room temperature, rather than reheated, in any event. But something as pedestrian as chicken salad really tasted refined tucked into a slim, fresh, baguette. The entrees are not too bold, with Messrs. Salmon and Snapper leading the way. But for $14, I'm sure there are a lot of folks in the neighborhood who would rather have someone else do the cooking, while they sit out on Le Cafe's little patio, enjoying their $25 bottle of 'Vivir, Vivir', and snacking on some Escargots in Garlic Butter Sauce.

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