NORTH MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Just off Biscayne Boulevard and 139th street in North Miami Beach is a place known for decades as “The Gourmet Diner.”
That was until 6 months ago when chef and restaurateur Danny Serfer opened his second location of his seafood inspired eatery – “Mignonette.”
“We really believe in this neighborhood of North Miami Beach. I grew up here, live around the corner. I am really happy to be here and have the support of the neighborhood,” said Serfer.
From the outside, it hasn’t changed much, but on the inside, the charming space that seats 90 has a vibe that’s both relaxed and upscale.
“There’s no hiding the fact that we are in a diner. It looks like a diner. It was a diner that was shipped here in 45 pieces from New Jersey. We just wanted to make the inside a little fancier, make it seem like you can come here and have a nice time. We’re not a greasy spoon,” Serfer joked.
And the food?
“It’s a casual seafood place where you come and get fish, great vegetables or meat, or we have celebratory stuff like oysters, champagne, and caviar,” Serfer explained.
The oysters’ names decorate the walls like “Movie Marquis.” The name “Mignonette” itself is a sauce for the oysters — red wine vinegar, black pepper, and shallots.
“If we shucked it right, it should slide down real smooth without you having to do any work,” Serfer told CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo as she was trying out an oyster.
“It slid down really smooth and I don’t have to be afraid anymore. That is super fresh and delicious,” Petrillo said.
“Butter basting is a fun trick every cook likes to do,” the chef said as he added melting butter to scallops in a frying pan.
Back in the kitchen, Danny butter bastes Lisa’s buffalo scallops. He sears them only on one side and then bastes them repeatedly so they are crispy on one side and juicy and tender on the other.
“The two textures makes it. It’s crunchy, the softness when you bite into and then that crunch, it’s a little sweet and a little savory,” said Petrillo after tasting.
And let’s not forget the crispy chicken skin on top.
“The crispy chicken skin, it should be shatteringly crisp,” Serfer added.
“Shatteringly crispy,” laughed Petrillo. “I have a new vocabulary!”
Next, Nordic salmon on top of orzo, tomatoes, and peas.
“What I was going to simply say is it’s one of nicest pieces of salmon I’ve had. It’s delicious and I’m in love with the crunch on the other side,” said Petrillo.
He serves a veggie plate with roasted fennel, sautéed kale, roasted cauliflower and roasted beets with blue cheese and hazelnuts.
And a very fancy Branzino with fennel potato hash and shrimp scampi sauce.
And just when Lisa couldn’t imagine taking another bite of anything, out comes the Peanut Butter Elvis Pie. It’s peanut butter cheesecake with caramelized bananas and a hint of bacon.
“Wow! That is just spectacular,” said Petrillo, after tasting the dessert.
Petrillo’s advice? Look for the shiny diner on the outside and come inside!
It’s opened every day for brunch, lunch, and dinner.
For more info: www.mignonettemiami.com