by Thomas Miller – Food Blogger / Restaurant Critic for Vero Vine and Vero Beach Foodie
If you are a regular reader of my restaurant reviews, you may recall my friend and neighbor, Eden Colonna, who wrote the review of Heaton’s Reef last year. She is attending culinary school down in Boca and was home for the summer. She had an interest in food writing, so I invited her to tag along and write the review. Check out the link below if you would like to see her article from last year.
My friend and manager, Will McKinnon invited me back to check out their brand-new summer/fall menu for 2017. I’m always up to try their food because it’s made under the direction of the culinary team at Cobalt, so their standards are set high by the same great chefs running that kitchen. Most of you know that Cobalt is one of my favorite restaurants on the island, so I jumped at the opportunity to review Heaton’s Reef again.
Parking is limited due to its location right at the ocean, but they do offer free valet parking (tip), or you can park on the street with only a short walk to the hotel and restaurant. The outside of the hotel is still nicely maintained and always beautifully landscaped. The greenery did take a hit from the hurricane, but it’s been trimmed and should be back in all its glory by springtime next year. Since there is not a separate entrance for Heaton’s like there is for Cobalt, you can enter through the lobby and ask one of the staff for the best way to get through the hotel to the restaurant. The atmosphere here cannot be beat when the weather is perfect. There are lots of tables outside, all with an ocean view, so there is not a bad seat in the house. If the weather does take a turn for the worse, you can cozy up to the bar and stay dry and you still have the ocean view. I had requested the “Tiki Hut” covered seating area that has the direct ocean front view.
Executive Chef Daniel Triamas happened to be working on the day of the review, so he came to the table to greet us before service. Now without further ado, on to the food!
Let’s jump right in and see what I had to eat and drink!
Sunset Point – It’s made with Coconut Rum, freshly squeezed lime, coconut water, club soda, and simple syrup. Coconut flavor was very evident in this drink due to the flavored rum and coconut water used to make it. The lime added a little zing, and the club soda gave it a nice subtle effervescence.
Florida Berry Sour – It’s made with Stoli razz, freshly squeezed lemon, strawberries, raspberries, pomegranate, and simple syrup. With “sour” right in the name, I wasn’t sure if I would like it since I tend to like my drinks sweeter. To my surprise, it was not as sour as I expected it to be. The strawberries, raspberries, and the pomegranate added enough sweetness to counteract the sourness of the lemon.
Chilled Seafood Salad ($17.00) – A mixture of shrimp, bay scallops, and calamari, diced red and yellow peppers were tossed in a lime vinaigrette and served over bibb lettuce. It was garnished with chopped chives. The salad reminded me of a ceviche, but only larger. The seafood was beyond fresh and a very generous portion. The lime vinaigrette was very fresh and quite delicious!
Grilled Shrimp Skewers – ($21.00) – The dish contains two shrimp skewers that have a mixture of peppers, red onion, pineapple, and shrimp on them. They were served over a citrus tabbouleh, and an herb yogurt sauce was served alongside. The shrimp were perfectly cooked and the veggies had a nice char and a slightly smoky flavor from the grill. The tabbouleh was new to me but reminded me of couscous in both flavor and texture.
Chicken Pesto Wrap – ($14.00) – It’s made with diced tomato, fresh mozzarella, grilled chicken, arugula, and pesto all wrapped up in a flour tortilla. French fries and ketchup served alongside. The chicken was perfectly cooked, the tomatoes were sweet, and the arugula was fresh and peppery. The tomatoes and the pesto were not that evenly distributed throughout the wrap, so a few bites I had without them were a bit bland, but otherwise, all the ingredients work very well together.
Heaton’s Burger – ($15.00) – It’s made with an all-beef patty and topped with bleu cheese, crispy onions, lettuce, tomato, maple mustard BBQ sauce on a brioche bun. The burger was cooked medium well which gave it a little texture on the outside but remained nice and juicy on the inside. The blue cheese was creamy and not too sharp, the crispy onions added additional texture and flavor, and I absolutely loved the maple mustard BBQ sauce. It really brought everything together quite well.
The menus at Heaton’s Reef change from season to season to help keep things fresh so you most likely won’t have the same experience that you had last time you visited. All the food is prepared under direction by the same culinary team that runs Cobalt, so you can count on the same excellent quality and freshness that you have come to expect from them. If you enjoy oceanfront dining, $5.00 daily drink specials, and lots of fun special events, then I think you should check out or rediscover what all Heaton’s Reef has to offer!
Have you tried Heaton’s Reef? 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
Open Daily from 10:00 am till 10:00 pm
Address: 3500 Ocean Dr, Vero Beach, FL 32963