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The Hungry Black Man at Buena Vista Bistro with Co-owner Claude Potel

If cameraman Korey (@KoreyDavisPhotography) doesn’t shoot it, I won’t eat it.

Our foodie journey has led our team to some really interesting locations throughout the United States, most notably amazing Black and minority owned restaurants.  The Hungry Black Man also celebrates non-minority owned restaurants where ANYONE can enjoy a wonderful meal, feel welcomed, and not have to deal with stares, glares, and relentless judgement. Buena Vista Bistro fits the bill because it embraces diversity, beginning with a phenomenal wait staff that is informative, patient and attentive. They totally get it. I had the privilege of discovering this spot when I was invited to a tasting. The restaurant has a chic Parisian cafe feel, with classic French movie posters on the walls, velvet seating, mirrors and white china.

Located in the Miami Design District, this French eatery serves up classic French bistro dishes.  Owners Claude Potel and Corentin Finot wanted to provide the French experience for the everyday folk, and every menu item, except the Curry Chicken, is French in origin.  Claude added the item as a gift to celebrate his wife’s, Julie Mansfield, Jamaican heritage. How lovely…..#lifegoals.

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The French Table with The Hungry Black Man

After speaking with Claude, I realized that I was in the presence of greatness. He is a super accomplished chef whose family traces their cooking lineage over 200 years when his ancestors were in the service of the French Royal family as chocolatiers! Yes, this guy’s family served the French Royal family until their demise with the French Revolution. Claude is an experienced restaurateur, owning restaurants on Ocean Drive, Montreal, and abroad. (The team recently opened their latest spot, Café Crème, in North Miami). His wife also shared Claude’s amazing talent, even showing us a homemade oven that he built from scratch at their Miami home. I was expecting nothing but greatness from the food and I was not disappointed.

I started with ordering what else, but FRENCH FRIES ($5)! So yeah, why were these some of the best fries I’ve had in this area?  Each fry was unique because each was obviously hand-cut.  The taste can only be described as a perfectly fried bare potato with skin on and salted to perfection. When you dipped these suckers in ketchup, you will taste a little piece of bliss with each bite. I enjoyed the fries so much, I ordered two.

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Buena Vista Bistro French Fries (pictured at the bottom center)

After the French Fries, I heard that voice in my head saying “Don’t start this s%^@ today.  At least get one healthy item.” I decided to oblige the angelic side of my palate and ordered the Endive & Blue Cheese Salad ($11).  This was an interesting decision. So Endive (pronounced “On-dive”) is a leafy green that kind of looks like a yellow romaine, but tastes like a damn sour patch kid.  This s#@& was so freaking bitter that I worried my face would be stuck in that position. According to Claude, this green is quintessentially French.  I told him, that they can quintessentially keep that!  I imagine if you are used to eating bitter greens, you would love this.

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Endive & Blue Cheese Salad

Needing something sweet to remove the bitter taste from my mouth, I ordered all of their desserts. What a GREAT decision this was.  I am not exaggerating about the bitterness of that salad. I really needed my palate renewed, and what better way than incredible dessert.  Because I had the quintessential French veggie, I needed the quintessential French dessert to kick it off, so I ordered a Crème Brulée ($7)—a dessert of custard topped with caramelized sugar and served at room temperature. The custard base was flavored with vanilla and hints of sweet cream.  I enjoyed this dish and would definitely get it again. It’s pretty sweet, so if you like custard and sugar, this is your go to. The burnt crystallized sugar at the top forms a thin layer of crust that you have to break in order to get to the custard at the bottom, so enjoy breaking that dessert version of a frozen lake!

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Creme Brulee

My second dessert was the Crepe Suzette ($13) –a thin dessert pancake with a brandy and citrus sauce, that was literally set aflame right before it came to my table.  I definitely looked like a boss when this was brought out on fire creating a deserving spectacle as the commoners looked upon my exquisite dessert.  In the words of Future, it was “too much sauce” for one restaurant, so I stepped outside to cool off and returned a little less exalted.

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Crepe Suzette

At this point, the lingering taste of the bitter Endive leaf was wearing off and I put in for one more dessert.  The Homemade Apple Tart w/Ice Cream ($7) was a remarkable dessert that was pretty much a refined apple pie with homemade vanilla ice cream. The flavor was grown as f$%@ with the apples being fresh and deliciously caramelized woven together by a homemade pastry dough served warm with  that ice cream setting it the f$%@ off! These three desserts are my favorites for sure; with my top two being the apple tart and the crepe.

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Homemade Apple Tart w/Ice Cream

Drinking a glass of wine, I was now ready for my food.  The first order was the Pan Seared Jumbo Scallops ($26), that came with homemade mashed potatoes. Each scallop was flawlessness seared releasing amazing flavor that was simplistic, yet absolutely delightful. The texture was nice and soft on the inside, but firm on the outside.  The mash potatoes were nice and buttery with the right amount of salt to make you smile, in addition to having those little lumps that I absolutely love sprinkled throughout the mashed goodness.

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Jumbo Scallops

Having those mash potatoes put my pallet in the mood for steak. Yet another great decision!  I tried the Onglet Steak ($21) – which is simply a hanger beef steak widely praised in France for its flavor. I had it cooked medium-plus. It comes with a side of those delicious French Fries, so you can’t go wrong with this at all. The steak is mildly seasoned using traditional French herbs and sea salt. Great option if you’re hungry. Even though I loved the fries, I prefer the mash potatoes with this.

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Onglet Steak

Next, I had to order something for Cameraman Korey who’s trying to eat right, and constantly making me feel bad about my diet choices.  I ordered the fish of the day. Sorry guys, I do not remember what type of fish this was, but it was good as f#%$. It had sautéed spinach and a delectable cream sauce at the bottom. Nice and thinly cut. Now this, you definitely want to order a side of fries with. The cream sauce at the bottom of the plate had me licking the people’s plate. How low class of me! It was worth it though. Just take your phone with you if you go and show them the picture. Do not judge me for not having the name. We all have our own challenges! The fish was market price ($26).

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Market Price Fish

Keeping in the “healthy’ ordering, we put in an order for their award-winning Tuna Tartare ($17). When you taste it, you will know why it’s award winning. The tuna comes chopped into chunks with a lite soy and citrus taste, which acts as a cooking agent for the dish.  The tuna is not cooked, so if you like sushi, this is definitely a MUST HAVE!

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Tuna Tartare

Last but not least is the SHOW STOPPER! I put in an order for the Duck Confit ($18), and I went into prayer again.

Lord, I thank you for the sacrifice of this duck.  I thank you for allowing me to enjoy this amazing dish inside this beautiful restaurant and paying only ($18) for something this tasty. I thank you for keeping my knees from buckling, resulting in me crashing to the ground outside of this smooth blue velvet booth. Yes, Lord, the booth is made with velvet, very soft and comfortable. I thank you for these things and your continue blessings to keep The Hungry Black Man fighting the Good Food Fight!

Duck Confit is a delicious duck that is prepared in a centuries-old process of preservation that consists of salt curing a piece of meat and then cooking it in its own fat.  Claude explained that the duck is rubbed with salt, garlic, thyme, and other herbs, covered and refrigerated for up to 36 hours, and again, COOKED IN ITS OWN FAT! Now you know good and damn well that if something is cooked in its own fat, that s#$% is going to give you hella life!  I was given so much damn life from eating this duck that I almost got hit by a car running outside the restaurant in a fit of joy!  I enjoyed this duck so much I took one to go.  This dish is nice and salty with a super tender texture allowing for the meat to literally fall off the bone. If you never had duck, then this is your lucky day!  Order this damn duck if you want a good meal.

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Duck Confit

I was super impressed with this place.  Great food, great service, beautiful atmosphere and motherf@%$&*# velvet damn seats. Where the hell can you get soft velvet seats from? From my experience, our people love velvet. That s$%@ is comfortable and honestly, you find yourself vegetating after eating, but you need to hurry up and get yo ass up because this place is pretty popular and there will more than likely be a wait. I give this place a 10 out of 10 and it definitely receives The Hungry Black Man’s Approval.  Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram @thehungryblackman.  You can visit this spot at 4582 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33137. For reservations, call 305-456-5909.

Written by thehungryblackman

Starex Smith is an accomplished and experienced public administrator, fundraiser, foodie, and culinary business developer who has committed himself to maximizing the Black experience in the United States! He currently serves as Vice President of Strategy and Development for Black Tech Week with over twelve (12) years of experience in managing public/private partnerships, large scale events, and nonprofits. He has successfully raised over 20 million dollars in funding for various governmental entities, food companies, and individuals. Starex has assisted countless food industry businesses successfully obtain funding, taking mom and pop storefronts to scalable businesses. His success in working with restaurants sparked a passion for food and entrepreneurship which led to the launching of Sothern Bytes, a teaching platform food business dedicated to an ever evolving food industry with a focus on technology, culture and innovation. Having constantly run into stereotyping negatively affecting his dining and vacationing experiences, Starex decided to curate great destinations, restaurants, and discuss issues surrounding being a hungry Black man. Starex completed both his Bachelor’s and Master’s coursework in Public Administration at Florida International University where he served as president of the Black Student Union and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated, Lambda Tau Chapter

3 comments

  1. Hi Julie! Hi Claude . . . best brandade I’ve had, and I now live in Paris . . . I left a letter for Claude when the brandade was taken off the menu . . . he called me at work (J&W) and said he would make it for me. I wish you were in my quartier (Le 3ieme, Les Marais) . . . Patricia

    Like

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