by Thomas Miller – Food Blogger / Restaurant Critic for Vero Vine
Next restaurant on my follow up from the Taste of Vero is Cobalt. Located in the Vero Beach Hotel and Spa on Ocean Drive, and the #12 out of 227 restaurants in Vero Beach on Trip Advisor, this is one dining experience I’ve been looking forward to for a while now.
Parking is limited at the hotel, so they offer free valet parking, or you can park on the street. Walking up to the hotel, it is very beautiful and has a nicely manicured exterior. There is a separate entrance for Cobalt and their in-house spa. Upon entry, you are greeted with an elevator, and a winding staircase to head up to the second floor of the hotel, which is where the restaurant and spa are located.
As you enter the restaurant, the large wall of windows at the back of the dining room grabs your attention immediately, as does the ocean view. The dining room has a comfortable elegance to it with dark stained wood paneled walls, beautiful lighting fixtures, and very comfortable table and booth combinations with tons of pillows. There is also outdoor seating for those of you that want that direct ocean view.
We arrived around 5pm on a Thursday for an early dinner and the dining room was quite empty. As the evening progressed, it filled up as did the outdoor seating area. We were greeted shortly after taking our seat by the Executive Chef Daniel Traimas. An Illinois native, he joined the team here at Cobalt in January 2016 and brings lots of experience and his mid-western cooking influences. I spent most of my life in the mid-west, so I should be familiar with the flavors and his style of cooking.
Now on to the food! Let’s jump right in and see what we had to eat and drink!
Christopher Huarte, general manager at Cobalt came to our table to introduce himself to us and take our drink orders. I asked what some of the more popular drinks were that we could try, and he recommended that we try the following two drinks.
Grapefruit Fizz – ($12.00) – This is one of their most popular drinks, and I can see why. It’s a mixture of grapefruit infused grey goose vodka, St. Germain, rose water, grapefruit juice and soda. It was very refreshing!
Pineapple Crawl – ($12.00) – This was my favorite of the two drinks I had. It has milagro silver tequila, ancho reyes chili pepper liqueur, agave nectar, lime, and a pineapple juice ice globe in it. As the ice globe melts, the drink starts to get sweeter from the additional pineapple juice. The only thing that was confusing was the orange slice for a pineapple drink. Perhaps they were out of pineapple slices? Maybe we should introduce them to Nature Farms.
Bacon Wrapped Dates – ($12.00) – Chef Daniel presented us with this amuse-bouche to start the evening with. It’s a bacon wrapped date, stuffed with Boursin cheese. The bacon was slightly crunchy and smoky, it was sweet from the date, and creamy from the cheese stuffing. All three of these ingredients are favorites of mine, so even before I took a bite, I knew it was going to be great.
Escolar Ceviche – ($15.00) – Our second course was this wonderful white tuna ceviche, with cucumber, red onion, orange slices, cherry tomatoes, served with wonton crisps. It was slightly chilled, very fresh, and the tuna was very tender. It was seasoned with a lime ponzu salt. My dining companion and I thought it was a little bit under seasoned, but as we got closer to the bottom of the dish, the liquid at the bottom is where the salt settled and was better when we tossed it in the juice.
Grilled Jumbo Prawns – ($18.00) – Next up was this show stopper! The chef told us that he had a few larger than normal prawns that came in so he presented us with one of them. This prawn is a U-4, meaning there are only 4 of them per pound. As you can see from the picture above, it was plate engulfing in size. It was dressed with a sriracha aioli, then torched to add a slightly smoky flavor. It was very flavorful, with just a touch of heat from the sriracha. It was perfectly cooked, and seasoned to perfection. The prawn was laid on a bed of farrow, and lemon arugula to garnish.
Braised Short Ribs – ($30.00) – I can definitely see the chef’s mid-western influence in this dish. A classic meat and potatoes dish that has been elevated to a whole new level. It’s braised short ribs with a poached farm egg on top, white truffle hollandaise sauce, roasted baby potatoes, over grilled asparagus and garnished with chopped chives. The meat was fall apart fork tender, the white truffle cream sauce added a touch of elegance. I cut the poached egg and the yolk was still runny and added an additional richness to the dish. The roasted baby potatoes tasted like french fries, and were nice and salty! I think this was my favorite dish of the night.
Turtle Brownie – ($ n/a) – Last but not least, was the Turtle Brownie dessert presented to us by Chef James. This is not a usual menu item, so price was not available at the time this article was written. The brownie was made with dark chocolate and walnuts and was very moist. It was topped with vanilla ice cream. The plate was garnished with caramel drizzles, chopped walnuts, whipped cream, and a solid dark chocolate turtle and was fantastic! For each dessert they sell, they will donate $1.00 to the Save the Turtles foundation.
What a fabulous dining experience we had while visiting Cobalt! The chefs took very good care of us and gave us a nice variety of dishes to try and we were more than impressed with their offerings. While the prices might seem high for some, consider the value you get here. You are dining at one of Vero’s upscale hotels, at a fine dining restaurant at the beach, so I think the value is incredible, considering all that you get. If your budget does not allow you to dine at Cobalt, then I suggest you check out Heaton’s Reef. The outdoor bar next to the pool has a full menu of lower priced appetizers and entrees that will fit any budget, and it still has the same ocean view.
Stay tuned next week for our full review of Heaton’s Reef. My dining companion this evening was my new friend, neighbor and culinary student Eden Colonna. She is a first year culinary student and is interested in food writing. She will be writing the review of that restaurant, so be sure to check back for her full review.
Have you tried Cobalt? 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 email@example.com with your questions or comments.
Atmosphere – 5 Forks
Service – 5 Forks
Food – 5 Forks
Ratings Scale Legend:
1 to 5 Forks – 1 Bad to 5 Excellent
3500 Ocean Drive, Vero Beach, Florida 32963