by Thomas Miller – Food Blogger / Restaurant Critic for Vero Vine and Vero Beach Foodie
For my next Tasting Experience, I head to South Vero and to Fire and Wine! This restaurant has been on my radar for quite a while now. I’ve seen pictures and heard many great reviews about it, so I was anxious to check it out for myself. Executive Chef Chuck Arnold and Front of House manager Roger Lord opened this place a little over a year ago in June 2017. With an already strong following from Chef Arnold’s days at Bijou in Vero’s Old Downtown, they were hoping this out of the way location would still draw their loyal customers to their new location. This apparently does not seem to be an issue because reservations are recommended for every day of the week if you want to guarantee yourself a seat. So, does this new restaurant live up to the hype I’ve been hearing about it? Keep reading to find out!
Located in the Winn-Dixie strip mall off Oslo Road and 27th Ave, you would never guess that a fine dining establishment is in the old Oslo Diner location. From the outside, it looks the same other than they removed the Oslo off the signage, leaving just the word diner on the marquee above the entrance. As you get closer to the front door, you know you found something unique. Upon entry into the restaurant, you step into the small foyer and are warmly greeted by Roger and his staff. On your right is a bar with the six best seats in the house. They have an open kitchen so you can sit and watch as the evening’s meals are expertly prepared by Chef Arnold and his culinary team. The dining room is long and narrow, tables line the walls with a walkway in between, and a large booth near the back of the restaurant if you prefer a more intimate dining experience. The wine list is extensive, so don’t be afraid to ask Roger for a recommendation if you’re unsure what to choose.
Now let’s jump right in and see what I had to eat!
Escargot ($10.00) – Sauté of Escargot, Country Ham, Tomato and Zucchini over a House made Boursin Cheese Tart with Basil Vinaigrette. The tart was light & flaky, the Boursin cheese added a nice creaminess to the dish, and the sauté was slightly smoky and sweet from the ham and tomatoes. The escargot was some of the most tender I’ve ever tasted.
Pepper Seared Ahi Tuna ($16.00) – Pepper Seared Tuna Sashimi on a Crispy Wonton and Wasabi Slaw with Soy Honey Glaze, Coleman Mustard Sauce, and House Pickled Ginger. The tuna was very fresh, thinly sliced, and perfectly seared. The slaw and wontons underneath provided a nice crunch and some heat from the wasabi dressing. The sweetness of the soy honey glaze balanced out the heat from the pepper and wasabi quite nicely.
Pan Seared Diver Scallops ($34.00) – Pan Seared Diver Scallops on a Shrimp Mousse and Crab Pancake with Fire Grilled Asparagus, Marinated Heirloom Tomatoes and a Lemon White Wine Reduction. While the scallops may look a little on the dark side, they were seared perfectly. Tender and moist inside, they just melted in your mouth.
Fire Grilled Canadian Salmon ($27.00) – Fire-Grilled Canadian Salmon on A Crispy Fontina Polenta Cake with a Warm Baby Green Aioli Salad, Oven Dried Shiitake Mushrooms, and Charred Tomato Jus. My first time trying Canadian salmon and it’s just as good as Norwegian. It was light, flaky, and fatty as one would expect from a quality piece of salmon. The crispy mushrooms provided a nice texture variation, and the sauce on the asparagus was quite delicious.
Fire Grilled Beef Tenderloin ($30.00) – Fire-Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Kentucky Bourbon Sauce, House Cut Fries, and Truffled Gruyere Cheese Fondue. The steak was seared to a perfect medium rare and had a nice crust on the outside. The fries were nice and crispy and paired nicely with the cheese fondue.
Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad ($9.00) – Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese, Basil Vinaigrette and a Beet Hummus Crouton. This dish took me by surprise. I’m not a big fan of beets, but these were quite good. What I think I enjoyed the most about this dish is the beet hummus crouton. The flavor was bold with notes of chili powder and cumin.
A Chocolate Trilogy ($10.00) – Peanut Butter White Chocolate Semifreddo, Dark Chocolate Pudding, and a Pure Chocolate Tart. One of the best parts of any meal is a sweet finish, and one item on this plate ended up being my favorite item of the evening. I’m a huge peanut butter fan and the large round tan disk in the bottom right of the picture above is PURE HEAVEN! It was smooth, creamy, rich, and had a bold, yet mellow peanut butter flavor that was out of this world good. My dining companion for the evening does not like peanut butter, and even she said it was good.
There seems to be a trend lately of high-end restaurants opening in unassuming locations without much signage to alert you to what is there. They want to you seek it out, feel like you found something special, and possibly keep the secret location to yourself as to not get so busy you can’t get a table. Unfortunately, the secret is out, and people have discovered this restaurant, and it’s good, I mean REALLY GOOD. The kind of good you would expect to find in a place like New York city or another large metropolis area good, not in the small town of Vero Beach. I’ve been blogging and writing about food for almost three years now, and I’m always on the lookout for the best of the best. Have I found it right in my own backyard? Only time will tell because I’ve not been to every restaurant in Vero yet, but this one is a VERY STRONG contender at the moment. If you have not tried them yet, what the heck are you waiting for? Give them a call and make a reservation because I know you will not be disappointed!
Have you tried Fire and Wine? 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.
Please Note: Some items provided to us were smaller tasting portions and may not represent the dish you receive when ordering it at the restaurant. Additional items were also included for us to taste on the dessert plate, so this picture does not represent exactly what you will receive.
Address: 2950 9th St SW, Vero Beach, FL 32968
Hours of Operation: Tuesday – Sunday, 5:00pm till 9:00pm, Closed on Monday