by Thomas Miller – Food Blogger / Restaurant Critic for Vero Vine and Vero Beach Foodie
My next tasting experience review takes me down to Fort Pierce and to 121 Tapas on the Water! I first met the owners, Chef Jason and Hallie Alfonso earlier this year at the Hope for Families Center’s Top Chef event in April. They made some of the most amazing potato gnocchi that I’ve ever tasted, so I knew that I needed to pay these guys a visit and see if the other items on their menu were just as amazing!
The restaurant is located at the corner of Melody Lane and Orange Avenue in Fort Pierce. If you are not familiar with the location, Melody Lane is the street that runs along in front of Gazebo Park where the Fort Pierce Farmers Market is held. There are lots of parking options all around, but be sure to arrive early if you want to find one easily, plus you can take advantage of their Happy Hour. This area tends to be quite busy with lots of events, different markets, Sailfish Brewery, and lots of other businesses close by, so the parking spots tend to fill up fast. Walking up to the restaurant you notice the beautiful view of the intercoastal waterway just across the street. They do have a few tables in front of the restaurant if you prefer to dine outside. The interior is tastefully decorated with dark and light-colored walls, a few booths and tables in a dark cherry stained wood, and a large bar takes center stage on the left upon entry. Lots of unique and colorful artwork adorn the walls.
Let’s jump right in and see what I had to eat and drink!
Jumbo Lump Crab Bisque – First up for us to taste is this wonderful Crab Bisque! It’s a cream based bisque with a generous portion of lump crab meat. The bisque was very smooth and creamy. The crab meat was quite a generous portion and was tender and sweet. The crostini was soft on the inside and had a slight crunch on the outside. The wine pairing that Chef Jason chose for me was a Butternut Chardonnay and was light and fruity, and paired perfectly with the bisque.
Meat and Cheese Charcuterie Board – ($15.00) – I love a good charcuterie board, so I was happy to see this when it was brought to the table. It has olives, a sweet and spicy grain mustard, Port Wine, Manchego, and Charmont cheeses, thin slices of hard salami and chorizo, slices of Granny Smith apples and honey (behind crostini), and several crostini. The board had a nice variety of meats and cheeses, the olives were not as salty as I had expected them to be and were quite good, and the sliced apples and honey added a nice contrasting flavor and texture with all of the fatty and salty items on the board.
Sliced Filet – ($13.00) – Filet tends to be a very popular cut of meat for most people due to its tenderness, but for me, it lacks flavor due to the low-fat content. Chef Jason cooked this via the Sous Vide method and was able to further tenderize and increase the flavor potential of this cut of beef. The meat was so tender it was almost silky in texture. The roasted Brussel sprouts were some of the nuttiest I have tasted and were cooked perfectly. A very good dish!
Rock Shrimp Gnocchi – ($12.00) – This is the dish that I first tasted by Chef Jason at the Top Chef event earlier this year and what actually inspired me to go visit them for this review. First off, the gnocchi are outstanding! Its silky smooth texture is some of the best I have tasted anywhere. The rock shrimp were perfectly cooked and the sauce was rich and creamy. One more element you don’t see is a sweet pea puree tucked underneath everything which adds a little sweetness to the dish. This is one that I will definitely order again and highly recommend that you try it too!
Scallops – ($13.00) – What a beautiful presentation! Three U10 scallops were seared and placed over a Corn and Jalapeno chutney. The scallops had a beautiful sear on them, but were just a touch over on the cook and were closer to medium well in the middle. The corn chutney was really sweet and had just a touch of Jalapeno flavor without any heat. (Note – The menu says two scallops, I was served three. The owners were not available at the time of writing for me to confirm the price difference).
Carrot Cake – Most people either love or hate carrot cake, there does not seem to be much middle ground with this dessert. I’m someone that does really enjoy a good carrot cake and that’s what we have here. The cake itself was moist and had some texture from the walnuts and raisins in it. This one also had just the right amount of frosting on it and it was not killer sweet. It added just enough sweetness to let you know it’s there, but not overwhelm you with the richness. This is one of the better versions that I have tasted in quite a while.
I really enjoyed my time here during the review. The atmosphere was comfortable and very relaxed, the food was exceptional, and they even have live entertainment on select nights. Happy Hour is from 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm and you can get half off any drinks or Tapas dishes which is a great deal! If you don’t mind the short drive to Fort Pierce, then stop by and give these guys a try, I know you won’t be disappointed!
Have you tried 121 Tapas on the Water? What has your experience been with them? Sound off in the comments below and let me know your thoughts, or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions or comments.
Atmosphere – 5 Forks
Service – 5 Forks
Food – 4 Forks
Rating Scale Legend:
1 to 5 Forks – 1 Bad to 5 Excellent
Address: 121 Melody Lane, Fort Pierce, FL 34950
Happy Hour Daily from 4:00 pm till 5:00 pm with half off drinks and tapas items. Tuesday is open mic night, Wednesday is $2.00 you call it beers, Thursday is Ladies Night with Live Music, and Sunday night two can dine for $49.00 which includes two appetizers, two entrees, and one bottle of wine.