by Thomas Miller – Food Blogger for Vero Vine
Opening in 1935, the historic Patio restaurant has been a landmark of downtown Vero Beach for a long time. The restaurant’s latest proprietor, Bill Brown, brings a wealth of restaurant management experience with him from the Orlando area. The menu has been updated offering classic dishes with a new twist, and some of the old favorites from the past. Let’s dive right in.
A friend and I arrived for dinner around 7:00pm on a Thursday night. The parking lot was a little more than half full. There was no line at the hostess stand, and we were promptly seated. As I looked around, there were a few others dining close by, but not as many as I thought from the amount of cars that were outside in the parking lot. Being a 250 seat restaurant, they were probably spread out throughout the restaurant, which was nice, it kind of felt like we had the place to ourselves. The dining room was dimly lit, and the walls were a dark stained wood. Colored accent lighting was spread throughout and a small lamp/candle adorned each table. As we browsed through the menu our waiter came and took our drink orders. We decided to try two different appetizers and we each ordered an entree. Let’s take a closer look at what we both had to eat since I’m all about the food!
Crispy Buffalo Tenders – ($9.50) – The chicken tenders were coated with a tempura like batter, lightly coated with buffalo sauce and Maytag blue cheese crumbles sprinkled over the top of them. Ranch sauce was served on the side. They were outstanding! The batter was light, yet had a richness to it. The buffalo sauce was perfect, more flavor than heat, and the blue cheese crumbles added a nice tangy finish to them. The chicken inside was moist and very tender. I did drizzle each tender with the ranch dressing, and it was the perfect complement to them. I would definitely order these again!
Flash Fried Calamari – ($9.50) – These were made with a julienne cut calamari steak, tempura batter coated, and tossed with citrus beurre blanc, sriracha, capers & tomato sauce. Most people associate calamari with the fried chewy rings you get at most places, but not here. This is where Bill added his special touch of using strips instead of rings. When the dish arrived to the table they almost looked like shrimp, from the size and shape of them. These strips were cut from a calamari steak and were very tender! The sauce had a nice brightness to it from the citrus and the sriracha, but was not too bold or spicy. A side salad and lemon wedges were served alongside as the garnish. The only thing I would change is to have the sauce served on the side. I would have preferred to have more of a crunch to the coating, and been able to dip them or choose how much sauce I used with them.
RIb Eye Steak – ($31.00) – The steak came served over mashed potatoes, with broccolini on top, then finished off with onion straws. My dinner companion ordered the steak medium rare and it came out perfectly cooked. They grill the steaks over an oak fire and you could definitely taste the smoky oak flavor on the steak which was wonderful! The broccolini was cooked perfectly and had a strong, yet not overpowering garlic flavor to it. The onion straws are more for decoration than anything, but I did taste them and they were quite good. The balsamic reduction on the plate was sweet and tangy! I only wish there was more of it!
Sea Scallops – ($27.00) – Scallops are one of my favorite seafood dishes and I was not disappointed. They were seared and butter basted, then served with a yellow pepper coulis sauce on top. They were perched on top of wasabi maple syrup sweet potato mash. The vegetable of the day was green beans. The scallops were large, delicate and had a very smooth texture. Some of the best I have ever had! If they are not cleaned properly, you can get some grit from the sand in them, and there was none of that here. I’m tossed on the sweet potato mash because I am not a fan of wasabi. It was very subtle and no heat from it, just not sure it paired that well with the maple sweetened sweet potato mash.
As a fairly new resident to Vero, I did not have the opportunity to try the Patio restaurant previously, so I don’t have any experience to compare this one to. After reading some not so positive reviews and speaking to a few other people about the restaurant’s past issues, I understood their concerns. The building is older, looks a little bit run down on the outside, and some have said it did not feel very clean. I did not get that feeling at all while dining there. If you have not tried The Patio in a while, I suggest you give them another try. See for yourself the changes that The Patio has made to improve your dining experience.
Atmosphere – 4 Forks
Service – 5 Forks
Food – 4 Forks
Ratings Scale Legend:
1 to 5 Forks – 1 Bad to 5 Excellent
The Patio Seafood Tavern
1103 21st St, Vero Beach, FL 32960