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When I read about this new Michelin pedigreed chef in Miami, who used to work at Pre-Catalan and at  Paris’ Crillon Hotel where I had one of the best meals in memory, I took note and moved a visit to the top of my list.It turns out that the restaurant, Nothing but the Best, is in the Miami Brickell/Roads area, (2525 SW Third Avenue, T.305-8582525) which needed another top restaurant.

Which top French interior designer did the décor asked I, noting the chic ambiance with silk upholstered chairs, lacquer tables, niches with tufted leather banquettes enclosed by gauzy curtains and a marble bar. It turns out the chef himself, Yann Rio, did everything from the décor and flower arrangements to sensual down sculptures.  Art infuses every aspect of Nothing But the Best.

And now the food. On Yelp every one of  nine reviews was five stars, highly unusual. But, having been there, I can firmly say, well deserved and living up to its name.  The cuisine is French fusion, the fusion being global influences, from Italian and Indian to Spanish and Thai.  At the hands of less than a top chef, French fusion can be precious. But at Nothing but the Best Miami it all works to create exciting flavors and presentations. We started with the ubiquitous tuna tartar, but this rendition has  confit ginger that subtly compliments the tuna. Served with a garnish of quinoa, the presentation looks like a painting by Catalan great Bernard Tapies. Mr. W had the turmeric flavored crispy goat cheese, novel in that at first glance it looked like a flatbread, served with mesclun salad and lavender dressing.  Then came the foie with julienned vegetables, done as the French know best.

For entrees we chose the hard to find bay scallops flown in from France, resting on a bed of creamy champagne risotto with Thai sauce. The Italian influence was front and center with coppa (ham) lasagnette with gorgonzola sauce and arugula garnish, a favorite.  This being a French chef, we had to try the duck magret with a tamarind sauce which didn’t disappoint, nor did the presentation, again recalling great art — that of David Salle. Service at Nothing But the Best is warm, attentive and professional, what you would expect from an owner/chef who is a great professional. Starters range from $14-$27 and entrees from $23-$38. The restaurant name comes from an album by Frank Sinatra. Frank would have been pleased. Yann does him proud. Lunch specials are accessibly priced at $8-$21, designed to attract local business people and neighborhood residents.

Photography by William Oberheiser

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