Tag Archives: Avocado

Blue Star – Restaurant Review

by Thomas Miller – Food Blogger / Restaurant Critic for Vero Vine and Vero Beach Foodie

Beachiest Kids Photo Contest

For my next Tasting Experience, I head back to downtown Vero Beach and to Blue Star!  Even if you are familiar with 14th Avenue in Vero, how many of you know that Blue Star exists and where it’s located?  Just like everyone else, I have passed by it only a handful of times because it’s at the far end of the 14th Ave, a little bit past Pocahontas Park.  With a very unassuming looking blue building, I would never have guessed that this was a fine dining establishment.  Is this place worth adding to your fine dining restaurant rotation?  Keep reading to find out!    

Parking was quite easy since this is one of the few restaurants on 14th Ave that has its own parking lot.  Upon entry, you step right into what I would describe as a very intimate, romantic, dimly lit dining room.  There is a full-service bar with 6 stools, or if you prefer, a mixture of tables and booths throughout the dining room.  They also have a couch and a few chairs if you prefer a more informal seating arrangement to just have a glass of wine or just hang out and wait for your table to be ready.  There is a grand piano in the corner and they do have live performers most evenings.  Chef Kitty Wagner runs the kitchen and began her career as a Pastry Chef.  She has traveled extensively to further her career, working at many different restaurants to gain valuable experience.  She has owned a few other restaurants around Vero and has won many Readers Choice awards.  Most notably, the Indian River Chamber of Commerce Industry Award for Entrepreneur of the Year in 2013.  She also has participated in Dancing with Vero’s Stars in 2014. 

 

Now let’s jump right in and see what I had to eat!

Gazpacho – ($8.00) –  A chilled soup is a wonderful way to start your meal on a warm summer evening!  It’s made with tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, onions, tomato juice, and cubanelle peppers.  The gazpacho was slightly chilled and very refreshing.  While tomato was the predominant flavor, you could still taste all the other ingredients used to make it.

Blue Star Chopped Salad – ($14.00) – Wow, what a beautiful presentation!  This salad contains iceberg lettuce, red and yellow tomatoes, broccoli and topped with crumbled bacon.  The dressing is made with avocado and their house made Stilton blue cheese dressing.  Everything was beyond fresh.  The dressing was smooth and creamy.  You could most certainly taste the Stilton blue cheese in the dressing.

Coconut Curried Fresh Catch – ($36.00) – Fresh fish is one of the many reasons why I moved to Florida and this one confirms my decision!  Yellow Tail was the fresh fish of the day and was so moist, I had to check and make sure it was fish.  Never have I ever eaten fish that was this moist.  Middle Neck clams were served alongside with steamed Asian vegetables over jasmine rice.  The curry broth was both sweet and savory with a touch of heat on the back end. 

Gio Cato – ($9.00) – This Pinot Grigio is made from grapes hand-selected from some of the best sites along the Italian border in Slovenia. It is bright and crisp, with aromas of delicious green apple, acacia flower, and almonds. A perfect summer wine and pairs nicely with just about everything. We enjoyed the house suggestion with all of the dishes in this review.

Chinese 5 Spiced Duck Breast – ($34.00) – Duck is one of my favorite proteins, so I was happy to see this dish brought out for us to try.  The duck breast was seasoned with Chinese 5 spice seasoning and seared to a perfect medium internal temperature.  The fat was perfectly rendered and the duck was nice and tender.  The blueberry coulis sauce paired nicely with the duck.  The corn pudding served alongside was quite interesting.  It had whole corn kernels in it and had a similar texture to a Crème Brulee. 

Low Country Shrimp & Grits – ($32.00) – I’ve tasted several renditions of this around Vero, and I must say I think this is the best one I’ve had yet.  Two perfectly cooked and seasoned jumbo shrimps are placed over aged cheddar grits, then topped with sautéed bell peppers, onions, bacon, and dressed in a lemon and Sriracha glaze.  The grits were very creamy and had a bold cheddar flavor.  The peppers, onions, and bacon had a sweet, salty, and spicy flavor that we could just not get enough of.

Roasted Pineapple Brown Butter Tart – ($8.00) – I love pineapple, so my dessert choice was obvious!  Pineapple is roasted, then layered in the middle of this brown butter tart.  Vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and a raspberry was served alongside.  The crust was light and flaky and flavor-wise, it reminded me of a pineapple upside down cake.  It was delicious!

In Conclusion:

This place took me by surprise.  I did not know what to expect when I walked in the door since I’ve not seen any reviews about it and no one from our Vero Beach Foodie group has posted or talked about it before.  All of the food is freshly prepared from scratch and artistically plated, so it not only tastes great, but it also looks fantastic too.  If you are in the mood for something different, then head down to the Blue Star and give these guys a try, I know you won’t be disappointed!

Have you tried Blue Star?  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 thefoodguy@verovine.com with your questions or comments.

Blue Star Website  |  Blue Star Facebook Page

Address2227 14th Ave, Vero Beach, FL 32960

Phone(772) 492-9057

Hours of Operation:  Monday – Saturday, 5:00 pm till 12:00 am, Closed on Sundays

Station 49 Pizza – Restaurant Review

by Thomas Miller – Food Blogger / Restaurant Critic for Vero Vine and Vero Beach Foodie

Beachiest Kids Photo Contest

For my next tasting experience, I head over to Vero’s newest, and the only wood-fired pizza place that I’m aware of in town called Station 49.  Located in what was once known as Garage Pizza, Station 49 has only been open for a few months.  I’ve been hearing wonderful things from our foodie group about it, so I could not wait to check them out for myself.

Located in the 1800 block of Old Dixie Hwy, they are not that far off the beaten path of downtown shops and restaurants.  Owners, Jay and Joan McLaughlin have been dreaming about owning a pizza place of their own for a while now.  When Jay’s longtime Executive Chef Dino from Island Restaurant in New York was looking to move to a beach town in Florida, they jumped at the opportunity to try this new concept with him.   If the McLaughlin name sounds familiar, they also own a clothing store and Citron Bistro located a short distance north of Vero on A1A.  Parking was better than expected for a small place like this and the lot was not too full even though the restaurant was.  From what I remember about Garage Pizza, the interior has been greatly improved and is contemporary, yet with a few modern touches.  The space was very comfortable and they have a few different seating options depending on your preferences.  Sitting at the bar is always an excellent choice if you like to watch an active kitchen and see your food being made in front of your eyes.

Now let’s dive right in and see what this place has to offer and what I had to eat!

Arancini – ($9.00) – While they might have a strange name, and even if you cannot pronounce them, just point to it on the menu and order them, because they are delicious!  They start with a cube of mozzarella cheese in the middle, then wrap it with risotto rice, then it’s coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried till golden brown.  San Marzano tomato dipping sauce was served alongside.  They are a little larger than a golf ball and have this wonderful crunchy and cheesy flavor.  The dipping sauce was light, flavorful, and a little bit sweet.

Chopped Kale – ($12.00) – Kale is not usually a favorite for most people (including me), but what Chef Dino does with this one might be just short of a miracle.  The kale is chopped finely and tossed with strawberries, avocado, toasted almonds, quinoa, shaved pecorino cheese, and dressed with a citrus-poppy vinaigrette dressing.  Kale can tend to be bitter, but I did not detect any bitterness in this salad at all.  It was light, fresh and quite delicious.

Cavatelli Sausage + Broccoli – ($16.00) – Such simple ingredients, yet they work so well together.  Cavatelli pasta was mixed with chunks of sausage, broccoli, then tossed in a garlic white wine sauce.  The pasta was cooked al dente, the sausage was bold and flavorful, and the white wine sauce had the perfect balance of flavor to bring this dish together.  Most of my regular readers know I’m not a fan of broccoli, but it only added a subtle flavor and texture to the dish, so I was able to still enjoy it even though I’m not a fan.

The Works – ($16.00) – FINALLY, a pizza place in Vero that uses crumbled sausage!  As someone who has lived in the mid-west for most of my life, I’ve never seen so much “sliced” sausage on a pizza until I moved south.  It’s very hard to find a place that uses crumbled sausage, so I was thrilled to see they do.  Hand-tossed to approximately 11”, their pizza has a very thin crust which allows it to cook within minutes. This one has crispy pepperoni, sweet sausage, Grande mozzarella cheese, and San Marzano tomato sauce.  The crust was light and crispy, the sausage was wonderful, and it had just the right amount of smoke flavor from the wood-fired oven.  I can’t wait to go back and have another one!

Donut Holes – ($6.00) –  We wrap up our tasting experience with a little bit of dessert.   After the fantastic food we were just served, these were a bit of a letdown for me.  Appearance wise they looked to be over-fried but inside the cake was light and fluffy.  They were served with chocolate and caramel sauces but the dusting of powdered sugar was the perfect amount of sweetness for me.  They were good, don’t get me wrong, they just lacked the wow factor I’m always looking for, especially after what we already tasted. 

In Conclusion:

Did I forget to mention that they use “crumbled” sausage on their pizza’s?  Ok, so I said it already, but I think it deserves another mention because it’s so hard to find in Vero.  Their wood-fired pizza oven is 16 years old and imparts a wonderful, yet only slightly smoky flavor to the crust from the oak and mesquite wood they use to cook with.  I especially love the healthy twists on a few of the dishes they are offering.  Getting me to eat kale and broccoli in the same meal was a feat in it of itself.  So, do I think this new place will stick around longer than the last one that occupied this space?  Absolutely, and I highly recommend you stop by and check them out sometime, I know you won’t be disappointed!

Have you tried Station 49?  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 thefoodguy@verovine.com with your questions or comments.

Station 49 Website  |  Menu  |  Facebook Page

Address1802 Old Dixie Hwy, Vero Beach, FL 32960

Phone(772) 492-8342

Open Sunday – Thursday, 11:00 am – 9:00 pm, Friday and Saturday’s, 11:00 am – 10:00 pm

 

Omakase at The Sumo House

by Thomas Miller – Food Blogger / Restaurant Critic for Vero Vine and Vero Beach Foodie

Beachiest Kids Photo Contest

Last night I was invited to tag along with some of my foodie friends to experience an Omakase dinner at The Sumo House.  That term was new to me so I Googled it and found out that the definition of it means “Omakase (Japaneseお任せ Hepburno-makase) is a Japanese phrase that means “I’ll leave it up to you” (from Japanese “to entrust” (任せる makaseru)).” – Wikipedia.  What this ultimately means is that we leave the menu and items to be served up to the discretion of the chef.  In basic terms, a Japanese Chef’s Table.  Each time owner Jack Maha hosts these dinners, the menu’s are slightly different, so your experience will be different each time.  For example, for last nights meal, he ordered and had Japanese Wagyu beef flown in just for this event.  Most people in the US have heard of a type of Wagyu beef from Japan called Kobe.  It’s a particular Wagyu breed named Tajima-Gyu and is raised in Kobe, Japan.  It is only available to 9 restaurants certified to carry it in the US (Sumo House is not one of them) and its some of the best quality beef found anywhere on the planet.  With such a high demand for this type and quality of beef, other regions in Japan have started raising cattle using the same strict standards as the Kobe region does in raising cattle to meet consumer demand.  

Now let’s dive in and see what we had to eat!

Course #1 – Golden Tilefish Ceviche with Citrus Granita

Course #2 – Wagyu Tataki with Pesto Ponzu

Course #3 – Pan Seared Scallop with butter Corn Miso & Wagyu Yakitori with Thick Sweet Sog

Course #4 – Hamachi With Jalapeno Butter Ponzu & Golden Tilefish with Roasted Red Bell Pepper

Course #5 – Fluke with Green Apple Ginger Sauce & Wagyu Sushi with Thick Mushroom Sog

Course #6 – Pan Seared Wagyu with Poached Quail Egg Sog

Course #7 – Blackened Jumbo Shrimp with Tempura Avocado & Wagyu Sushi with Fired Onion

Course #8 – Green tea Cheesecake with Raspberry Compote

Dinner was $75.00 per person and well worth it to be able to taste the Wagyu beef.  I had the opportunity to taste it earlier this year during my review of Citrus Grillhouse and it was spectacular.  It is silky, fatty, and oh so delicious!  While it might be expensive ($100.00 per lb), I highly recommend that you taste it at least once in your life.

Click on the photo’s below to see some additional shots from last nights dinner!

These dinners are not scheduled for any particular time, so if this is something that interests you in trying, I suggest you contact Jack Maha at The Sumo House for further information.

The Sumo House Facebook Page

Address713 17th St, Vero Beach, FL 32960

Phone(772) 770-0835