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Nick’s Family Restaurant Review

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

Beachiest Kids Photo Contest

My next Tasting Experience review takes me to Nick’s Family Restaurant in Downtown Vero!  This is one of those places that I like to call a local’s place.  It’s somewhat hard to find and parking is not the best, but it’s so worth seeking out.  It has the feel of a place like the TV show called Cheers, and it feels like everyone knows your name since you will most likely bump into your neighbor while you are there.  The building they occupy dates back to the 1920’s and it got its start as a jewelry store called J.C. DuBose.  Mr. DuBose also used it for the practice of optometry.  Through the years it has seen many different restaurants including Sand Bar & Package Tavern, Bobby’s Café, Pepin’s Pub, Pickles Deli Café, and lastly before becoming Nick’s it was the Palm Tree Inn.  Nick and his wife, Meggin have owned and operated Nick’s Family Restaurant for the last 16 years, the most of any previous restaurant tenant.  The word “family” in the name best describes who is working here more than the atmosphere.  Nick and his mom run the kitchen with help from his niece on busy nights, and you can find Meggin working the dining room and waiting tables.  What are they doing differently than the previous tenants did that has kept the doors open this long?  Keep reading to find out!

I’m sure most of you have passed by this place 100 times and did not even realize it was there.  As you head west on Hwy 60 there is a sign and an entrance, but no parking available.  To park and use the back entrance, turn left off of 14th Ave right before Blue Agave into the ally, and a few businesses down is where Nick’s entrance is located.  They have a few designated parking spots, but in the evening when most businesses close, there are quite a few other spots available.  The rear entrance from the ally feels like you are going into the employee entrance, but it takes you into a long hallway right into the dining room.  The dining room has a large bar that has 10 seats and on the opposite wall are tables and chairs.  They do have a few high-top tables at the front entrance if you prefer.

 

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

Garlic Knots ½ Order – ($3.95) – I haven’t met a garlic knot that I don’t like yet, and these are no exception.  Perfectly baked till golden brown on the outside, soft and fluffy inside.  They are served with a side of house-made marinara is the perfect appetizer to start your meal.

Sausage Parmesan Sandwich – ($7.95) –  OMG that looks so good!  Made with a toasted sub bun, they use a mild Italian sausage and place it inside the bread with their marinara sauce and top it with Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.  The sausage was ground very fine and had the consistency of a meatball in a casing.  The marinara was the same as served with the garlic knots, and as you can see from the picture above, they don’t skimp on the cheese.  It was amazing!

Bacon Swissburger – ($8.95) – A classic cheeseburger with bacon and sautéed onions & mushrooms is always an excellent choice.  The burger was cooked to a perfect medium and was very juicy, the bacon was nice and crisp and added a subtle smokiness, and the bun was soft and very fresh.  French Fries were served alongside.

Chicken Wings (10 pc) – ($9.95) – Wings are one of my all-time favorite foods on the planet, and Nick’s multiple Award-Winning wings are some of the best that Vero has to offer.  The jumbo wings are fried then tossed in the sauce of your choice.  The wings are crispy on the outside and moist and tender inside.  With 11 different sauce options, they have something to please everyone. 

Cannoli – ($2.95) – We were getting pretty full from all the food they served us, but we still wanted something sweet to round out our meal.  The cannoli made sense due to the size, and there is always room for dessert, right?  The cannoli shell was fried till golden brown, stuffed with their house-made filling, then dusted with powdered sugar.  The super smooth filling had the perfect amount of sweetness and small chocolate chips added a slight texture to the filling.  It was really good!

In Conclusion:

I only just discovered Nick’s less than 6 months ago and I’m glad I did.  I was so impressed with their wings that we decided to do a Vero Beach Foodie wing eating contest at the end of January with their hottest sauce called Italian Pain.  It was a raving success and we plan to do another one later this year, but with a much hotter sauce.  This is a place that both my wife and I continue to suggest as a dinner option since they have items that we both like, so this place comes up often as our go-to place.  If you have not been here before, then might I suggest you give them a try and see for yourself, I know you won’t be disappointed!

Have you tried Nick’s Family Restaurant?  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.

Nick’s Family Restaurant Website  |  Nick’s Family Restaurant Facebook Page

Address1453 20th St, Vero Beach, FL 32960

Phone(772) 567-2311

Hours of Operation:  Monday & Tuesday, 10am – 3pm, Wednesday – Friday, 10am – 9pm

Inti International – 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 to Miracle Mile and to Inti International Restaurant.  This concept comes from the minds and owners of locally owned restaurant chain Ay Jalisco.  Opening November 2017, the restaurant is named after an ancient Incan sun god and is a new concept for Vero.  The dishes offered come from diverse backgrounds and cultures like Peruvian, Mexican and Latin American, thus the name “International”.  The restaurant served us a nice variety of dishes to try so we could sample some of what they have to offer.

Located in Miracle Mile on 7th Ave in what was previously known as The Long Branch Saloon, is one of the hottest new restaurant concepts to come to Vero in years.  The place has been completely redone and while I don’t know what the old Long Branch Saloon looked like, there isn’t much that appears to remain from the previous tenant.  The outside has been updated with a fresh look and feel and the inside is absolutely gorgeous.  From a bright, bold tropically decorated wall, two-toned green booths, and the accent lighting throughout, no stone was left unturned when they renovated this place.  Even the bathrooms were completely redone which is something that most places tend to overlook.  Parking is somewhat limited by the spots along the side and at the rear of the restaurant, but you should be able to park in a few additional spots that are along 22nd Street later in the evening when the businesses in the strip mall next door close for the day.

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

 

Cancha – These are served free of charge to all tables while you wait for your food.  I found a definition online to better explain what these are.  “A popular snack in Peru and Ecuador is made with a special type of large-kerneled corn called maize chulpe.  The dried kernels are tossed with oil and salt and toasted in a hot skillet until they are browned and puffed”.  They taste a lot like popcorn and have a similar texture.  Be careful, they are addictive!

Caipirinha –  Living up to their “International” name, they brought us Brazil’s National cocktail to try.  Made with cachaça, simple syrup, and lime juice, my wife first took a sip and I asked her if it was tangy, sweet, or sour, and she said “Yes!”.  I took a sip and was immediately slapped in the face with the tanginess of the lime in the drink.  It truly was all of what I described above, tangy, sweet and sour.  It was so good!

Tallarin Verde con Bisteck – ($15.50) – This was the first time I’ve seen this dish, so I could not wait to try it.  Grilled skirt steak was served over green pasta that had been tossed in a pesto and spinach sauce.  The skirt steak was cooked and seasoned to perfection, the Fettuccini pasta was cooked al dente, and the pesto was not as “green” tasting as I thought it might be considering how green the color actually was.

Lomo Salteado – ($15.50) – Peruvian dishes are new to me, so I was curious to see what flavor profile the steak was seasoned with.  Peruvian marinated strips of Sirloin steak are sautéed with onions and tomatoes and served with white rice and french fries.  The Peruvian flavors seem to be a mix of Asian and Mexican spice blends with a combination of soy sauce, lime juice, garlic, and cumin being used in the marinade.  The steak was cut thin and had just a little chew to it.  Only thing I’m a little bit confused by is the french fries.  White rice and french fries don’t seem to go together, but they may be trying to appeal to a general audience that is not yet familiar with this type of cuisine.  I personally would have preferred black beans to be served with the rice which would have been more traditional.

Inti Burger – ($13.00) – We at Vero Beach Foodie are always looking for something different and this one fits that description!  From the bottom up, we have a fried green plantain (tostones), sirloin burger patty, bleu cheese, tomato, onion, lettuce and topped off with another fried green plantain.  Waffle cut fries and a pickle were served alongside.  First off, the presentation was gorgeous!  The burger was cooked to perfection and the veggies were very fresh.  The fried green plantains were fairly thin but held up well when I picked it up to take a bite which was another feat since I had to unhinge my jaw to take a bite.  This one’s definitely a stunner!

Pargo Frito – ($18.00) – Back in the mid 90’s I had the opportunity to travel to Mexico with my dad and we had a dish similar to this, only it was called a Guachinango.  A whole red snapper is fried and served with tostones and a side salad.  If you love fish, don’t let the fact that this one still has the head on it scare you away, because it’s delicious!  It can be a little challenging to eat, but so worth it.  The fish was still moist and flaky and the skin was nice and crispy.  It brought back some great memories of my travels to Mexico.

In Conclusion:

With the variety of restaurant choices that Vero Beach has to offer, you would think it would be difficult to do something different and stand out from the crowd, yet Inti has done just that.  Even if you are not as adventurous of an eater, like some of us here at Vero Beach Foodie, there is something for everyone on the menu that will please even the pickiest of eaters.  For those of you that are adventurous, you will love this place and want to come back, again and again, to see what they come up with next.

Join us next Wednesday, March 28th from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm for the Vero Beach Foodie MeetUp and try some of these dishes you just read about with other local foodies right here in Vero Beach!  They will be extending happy hour for us and I’m sure they will have a special or two planned for us that you don’t want to miss.  Hope to see you there!

Inti International Website  |  Inti International Menu  |  Inti International Facebook Page

Address2199 7th Ave, Vero Beach, FL 32960

Phone(772) 257-6652

Hours:  Monday – Thursday, 11:00 am – 9:30 PM, Friday & Saturday, 11:00 am – 10:00 pm, and on Sunday, from 12:00 PM – 9:00 PM

The Green Marlin – Restaurant Review

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

Beachiest Kids Photo Contest

My next Tasting Experience review takes me to The Green Marlin!  One of the most highly anticipated restaurant openings in 2017, at least for me, was The Green Marlin.  Owner, Louis Kolbauer also owns Chive, whose slogan is “Quick Creative Cuisine”, so I could not wait to see what he has in store for an actual sit-down restaurant. 

Located in the old Outback Steakhouse building just off US Hwy 1, only the outside seems to be reminiscent of the old restaurant with the white siding and the trademark green roof.  While I never visited the old Outback, the inside seems to have undergone a transformation to make it a totally new space.  The large bar is a beautiful centerpiece upon entry with green accent lighting. The bar itself offers plenty of seating along with several high top tables.  The dining room is composed of lightly stained wood booths and tables that are comfortable and spacious. The abundance of fish décor throughout the restaurant lets you know the direction he is going with the menu.  While the parking lot seems quite small, their location at the front of the shopping mall does allow for ample overflow. 

So, does this new restaurant live up to the hype? 

Let’s jump right in and see what I had to eat and find out!

Ahi Tuna Bomb – ($8.95) – This appetizer was suggested to us since its one of their best sellers.  The Ahi Tuna is marinated in soy sauce and tahini, then wrapped with basil, then rolled in an egg roll wrapper and deep fried.  It’s garnished with a Sriracha & Wasabi Aioli and topped with sesame seeds.  The tuna was served rare in the middle which helps keep it moist and tender.  The egg roll wrapper had a nice crunch to it which added a nice texture.  The two sauces were a nice touch, adding additional flavor without bringing much heat to the dish. 

Raw Oysters Sampler Platter – ($21.95) –  If you know me personally, then you know that I’m not a fan of raw oysters.  In the interest of the article, and since they are known for many raw items on the menu, I decided to give them a try.  Our sampler platter had four varieties on it.  They were Dirty, Sushi Style, Ceviche, and Asian.  The oysters were very fresh and the toppings added bold flavors and different textures, making them palatable for someone like me that is normally not a fan.  If you are a fan, then I think you would be impressed with their selections.

Guinness Beef Tenderloin Stew – ($14.95) – With all of the cooler weather we have had lately, this sounded like a good option to try and it definitely hit the spot.  Grass-fed beef tenderloin is slow cooked with carrots, celery, and Guinness stout.  A generous dollop of mashed potatoes was served on top.  First of all, the bowl it’s served in is huge!  I think a basketball would fit comfortably in it.  The stew was thick, rich and beefy.  If you’re not a fan of beer, don’t worry, the flavor is subtle enough you can’t really taste it, but it does add a certain richness to the broth.  The potatoes had a few lumps in them so you know they were real.

Chicago Burger – ($10.95) – Now that’s one colorful burger!  An 8 oz. patty of fresh never frozen steak burger is accentuated with banana peppers, diced red peppers, sliced tomatoes, red onions, and leaf lettuce on a grilled bun.  The burger patty was cooked to a perfect medium and was very juicy.  I like the addition of the banana peppers, it gave it some crunch and a pop of flavor.  It was delicious!

Mahi & Scallop Cake Dinner – ($18.95) – Two of my favorite kinds of seafood in one dish, YES, please!  Butter poached Mahi and Scallops are combined with light panko, bell peppers, scallions, and onions, then pan fried until golden brown.  Each cake was about 4 inches in diameter and had the texture of what you would expect from a crab cake.  The outside had a slight crunch and the inside was soft and tender.   Rice and beans were served alongside.

Chocolate Cake – I was a little disappointed to find out they were out of their Grapefruit Pie, which is very much just like a key lime pie, only they use grapefruit juice instead of key lime.  We decided to go for the chocolate cake to finish out our meal and it was an excellent choice.  It was light, fluffy, and not too rich, a wonderful way to round out the evening. 

In Conclusion:

So, did The Green Marlin live up to the hype?  It absolutely did!  There is something here to please just about any palate.  Unique and creative dishes that I’ve not seen on other menus will keep diners coming back.  It’s also nice to see another place with a salad bar too.  I can’t wait to head back with my family and have another meal, so I recommend you check them out, I know you won’t be disappointed!

Have you tried The Green Marlin?  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.

Curious as to what it takes to bring you one of my reviews?  Check out the video below of a time-lapse video I took while doing this review!  2 hours compressed down to just under 3 minutes!  Enjoy!

The Green Marlin  |  Website  |  Menu  |  Facebook

Address1475 US Hwy 1, Vero Beach, FL 32960

Phone(772) 999-5248