High style and diverse culinary offerings are front-and-center at this truly beautiful new venue; the latter is an expansive menu of continental delights – from charcuterie and high-end seafood to flatbreads and burgers with bite.
The restaurant's spacious, inviting bar welcomes patrons for a drink, a bite or both — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson
“We’re very familiar with this area and we realized it was missing a homey and familiar neighborhood restaurant,” says owner-operator Jaafar Choufani of the venue’s parent company, Boulevard Restaurants.
“The American brasserie – it has become something of an en vogue term,” he says, “much like the gastropubs of a few years back – but we thought we could mesh that together with old Florida and European continental sensibilities and make something special.”
While the vibe here is decidedly upscale, the feel remains casual, comfortable, homey – a nice glass of wine or craft cocktail, along with the live music, only serves to relax patrons who pop in to unwind. Outdoor seating adjacent to the courtyard’s truly stunning fountain offers an entirely different POV for good times with friends or family.
French expat Jean-Stephane Poinard, a fifth-generation chef and stalwart supporter of the slow-food movement is the captain of Urbain 40’s culinary ship. Each dish, he notes, is hand-crafted.
Among his personal favorites, the Bolognese – with housemade pappardelle – comes in the form of rustic slow-roasted beef and pork. In this delight, tender meat disintegrates on the palate while wide ribbons of hearty pasta counter with a lovely, firm chew.
The Striped Bass Meuniere features brown butter, cauliflower potato purée, fennel and lemon confit — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson
Seafood aficionados will marvel at the ocean bounty of Prince Edward Island mussels for which they can choose their own dining adventure: white wine and Pernod butter-steamed or cast iron-skillet roasted and served with drawn butter. A sparkly, salt-encrusted presentation on the latter is evocative of gemstones…though these you can eat. Larger parties may want to go for variety, ordering one of each.
Poinard’s version of Billi Bi Soup, gets an American South makeover. Amid saffron cream broth and smoked paprika oil, “a Prince Edward Island mussel beignet,” he notes. “It’s a New Orleans twist on a French classic.”
Patrons will be awash in musical classics, as well, as performers pay homage to the likes of Sinatra, Piaf, Gershwin and more. Jazz plays a role, both vocal and instrumental. The cuisine, however, may take center stage.
“The idea is that Urbain 40 is not a place for anniversaries,” says Poinard. “You don’t have to wait for a special occasion to come here. You only have to be in the mood to have a good time in a good place with good food and good friends.”