Tag Archives: chocolate cake

The Green Marlin – Restaurant Review

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

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


Cobalt – Restaurant Review 2017

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

If you are a regular reader of my restaurant reviews, you may recall my review of Cobalt from last year.  I was invited back to check out their brand-new summer menu for 2017.  As one of my favorite restaurants on the island, I was definitely looking forward to dining with them again.  Executive Chef Danial Traimas has been with the restaurant now for close to a year and a half and I always look forward to seeing what innovative dishes he and his team come up with.

2016 Review of Cobalt

Parking is limited due to its location right at the ocean, but they do offer free valet parking, 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.  There is a separate entrance to the restaurant and upon entry, you’ll find both an elevator and a winding staircase that will take you up to the second level where the restaurant is located.

As you enter the restaurant, the large wall of windows at the back of the dining room immediately grabs your attention, 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 lots of pillows.  There is also outdoor seating for those of you that want that direct ocean view.

We arrived around 5:30 pm on a Tuesday evening for an early dinner.  We were greeted shortly after taking our seat by Sous Chef Ryan Krull.  Chef Daniel had the night off, so he left us in Chef Ryan’s capable hands.

Now without further ado, on to the food!  Let’s jump right in and see what I had to eat!

Poke Salad –  Our first of six courses was this wonderful salad.  It’s made with fresh yellowfin tuna, marinated seaweed, mixed greens, cucumbers, carrots, toasted sesame seeds, and a soy reduction.  Its dressed with a carrot-ginger dressing and topped with tobiko roe.  Everything was extremely fresh, the tuna was seasoned very well, and the lettuce was crisp.  The flavor of the dressing was reminiscent of the salad dressing you get at a hibachi grill, but so much fresher and more flavorful.

Cobia Crudo – As many different things that I’ve eaten and have experience with, a Crudo is somewhat new to me, so I Googled it and this is what I found out “a dish of raw fish or seafood, typically dressed with oil, citrus juice, and seasonings”.  This one is made with raw Cobia sliced very thin and layered on the bottom.  Its garnished with watermelon radish, serrano peppers, kaffir lime leaf, toasted coconut, and is dressed with a coconut-lime vinaigrette.  The Cobia was very fresh, the peppers and watermelon radish added a crunchy texture, and the coconut-lime dressing gave it a brightness.  It was a light and flavorful dish.

Steamed Clams – This is not a dish that I would normally order on my own, so I was happy to see it on the menu for the tasting.  It’s not that I don’t like clams, I just don’t think something like this would normally fill me up till I’m satisfied.  It’s made with little neck clams that have been steamed, diced chorizo sausage,  and fire roasted tomatoes in a Yuengling broth.  Crostini were served alongside.  The clams were fresh and cooked to perfection.  The broth was interesting.  A flavor combination that does not seem like it would work, but yet it did.  It was seasoned well, creamy, and had a touch of heat and smoke flavor from the sausage.

Scallops – This dish was a team effort on the part of Chef Daniel and Chef Ryan and was absolutely stunning!  I’ve tasted other scallop dishes that Chef Daniel has made and he definitely seems to have a flair for creating some fantastic seafood dishes.  First on the plate is a charred corn succotash, topped with the scallops, garnished with micro greens and corn tweels, and finished with a sweet corn beurre blanc sauce.  The corn succotash was crunchy, sweet and spicy, and slightly smoky from the diced chorizo sausage.  The scallops were seared perfectly and had that rich velvety texture I’ve come to expect from a great quality scallop.

Aussie Lamb Chops – Most people have a love-hate relationship with lamp chops, but in my case, I love them so I was happy to see them when brought to the table.  The chops are served over sautéed wild mushrooms in an umami butter sauce and garnished with goat cheese mousse and micro greens.  The seasoning on the chops was kept simple with garlic, salt, and pepper and was grilled mid-rare to medium internal temperature.  The mushrooms were lightly sautéed and served with the savory umami butter sauce which was rich and flavorful.  The goat cheese mousse was light and tangy.

My Favorite Chocolate Cake – Our sixth and final course of the evening was dessert and it was a welcome sight!  It’s a dark chocolate 3-layer cake served with a vanilla Anglaise, Raspberry coulis, honey macerated orange segments, and garnished with whipped cream.  The cake was made with dark chocolate and was very light in texture and had a more subtle chocolate flavor than I expected.  This is not a bad thing because most cakes can be too rich, but this one was just right.  It did not leave you feeling like you ate a heavy rich dessert that you soon regret shortly afterward.

In Conclusion:

There is a distinct difference between eating and dining, and I believe that Cobalt excels at providing a superior dining experience.  From the wonderful food, the restaurant’s elegant dining room, and the ocean views, this place has the total package that exemplifies what fine dining should be.  The food here continues to impress me and Executive Chef Daniel and his team’s ability to take simple ingredients and elevate them is something that they do very well.  If you have only “eaten” lately, then might I suggest next time you chose to go out, that you “dine” with them and experience the difference.

Stay tuned for a special announcement next week.  Vero Vine and Vero Beach Foodie are proud to present our next VIP Foodie Dining Experience coming up at Cobalt!  It’s called “Chef’s Table” and will feature a special menu created by Executive Chef Daniel Traimas just for this event.  Tickets will go on sale shortly so be sure to like us on Facebook for updates!

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 thefoodguy@verovine.com with your questions or comments.

Atmosphere – 5 Forks

Service – 5 Forks

Food – 5 Forks

Rating Scale Legend:

1 to 5 Forks – 1 Bad to 5 Excellent

Cobalt Website  |  Cobalt Facebook Page

Address: 3500 Ocean Dr, Vero Beach, FL 32963


Wednesday 7AM–11PM
Thursday 7AM–11PM
Friday 7AM–12AM
Saturday 8AM–12AM
Sunday 8AM–11PM
Monday 7AM–11PM
Tuesday 7AM–11PM

Citrus Grillhouse – Restaurant Review

 Thomas Miller – Food Blogger / Restaurant Critic for Vero Vine

My next tasting experience takes me down beachside to a restaurant that has been on my list to review for quite some time now, Citrus Grillhouse.  I’ve heard many great things about this place from several different sources, and almost all of the reviews that I’ve read online were very positive.  My neighbor and friend, Eden Colonna who guest blogged for us earlier this year, worked for them over the summer and told me how fantastic this place was, so I was excited to finally get my chance to review them.

After analyzing more than 5 million reviews of more than 20,000 restaurants across the country, Open Table chose Citrus Grillhouse as one of the Top 100 Al Fresco dining restaurants in the country in 2016.  They highlighted restaurants that have stunning views, feature local cuisine, and overall fantastic outdoor dining experiences.  Owner Chef Scott Varricchio said that being from a small town such as Vero, and to be recognized by this big player in the restaurant industry, was a very big deal to him and his staff.  Only 13 restaurants in Florida received this recognition, and Citrus Grillhouse was the only restaurant on the Treasure Coast to receive this honor.

Located next to Humiston Park on Easter Lily Lane, they share a parking lot with the park and Nino’s Cafe which is just a few steps west from their entrance.  We arrived on a Tuesday night shortly before 5:00 pm and had no trouble finding a parking spot.  As we walked up to the restaurant, there were several parties waiting outside for dinner service to start.  After checking in with the host, Will McKinnon the General Manager, welcomed us and we were shown to our table.  The restaurant interior was very nice, contemporary in design and very comfortable.  Tables and half booths lined the wall and there was a bar for those that like to sit and have a drink.  There is also an outdoor patio for those that would like to dine with an ocean view.  Chef Varricchio made an appearance to give us an overview of our evening.  All of the dishes that were presented to us were “tasting” size due to the number of dishes he had planned for us to try, so we would hopefully not be too full by the end of the experience.

Now on to the food!  Let’s jump right in and see what I had to eat!

Crab Wrap – The wrap was made with hydroponic Bibb lettuce, a lemon/jalapeno aioli, jumbo lump crab meat, minced red onion and mango.  The lettuce was extremely fresh and of exceptional quality.  The jumbo lump crab meat was sweet and tender, the aioli added a creaminess with a hint of jalapeno, the mango and red onion provided some additional sweetness and nice texture variation.

Parmesan Flan with Chilled Sweet Pea Soup – The flan was simply made with eggs, cream and parmesan cheese and the pea soup was made from petite peas, chicken stock, salt, pepper, and sugar.  The flan was light and very delicate.  It had a hint of parmesan, not overwhelming at all like I thought it might be.  The pea soup brought back childhood memories and was very creamy and smooth.  It was finished with a little bit of EVOO to add an additional flavor component.

Compressed Yogurt & Whole Grain Salad – A smear of “compressed” yogurt was first put on the plate, then a wild rice, barley, quinoa, buckwheat, dried apricots, raisins, golden raisins, cranberry whole grain salad was spooned over the top.  It was finished with a fig & vanilla balsamic and EVOO dressing was drizzled over the top, with a light sprinkling of sea salt to complete the dish.  The “compressed” yogurt is when they press it to remove all of the water in it, making it more like the texture of cream cheese.  The yogurt was very smooth and creamy, the whole grain salad had a lot of different flavors and textures going on, and the fig & vanilla balsamic dressing was tangy and sweet.

Salmon Gravlox – House cured Norwegian salmon rolled into a rose, sitting atop of a Paniese (chickpea pancake), topped with crème fraiche.  The plate was garnished with mustard oil, salmon roe and tobiko (flying fish roe).  The salmon was of impeccable quality and had one of the smoothest textures I have experienced to date with any gravlox dish I have tasted.  The chickpea pancake had a dense bread like texture but was still easy to cut with a fork.  The mustard oil definitely had a bright flavor and the fish roe was very fresh.

Cipriani Tagliolini Truffled Pasta – Made with Cipriani Tagliolini pasta, mixed with Moliterno cheese from Sardinia,  a truffled gouda from Holland, a truffled butter from Italy, and garnished with fresh shaved Perigord black truffles.  Chef told us this was a time sensitive dish due to the fact as it cooled down, the cheeses would start to solidify and have a firmer less desirable texture.  The pasta was cooked a perfect al dente, the cheeses were wonderfully rich, and the shaved truffle added a nice earthy flavor.

Pan Roasted MS-7 Wagyu Strip Steak – The steak was simply seasoned with salt and pepper and pan roasted with a little bit of olive oil.  The side dish was white beech, brown beech, oyster, and Maitake mushrooms sautéed in-house made ponzu butter.  The steak was cooked to a perfect medium and was very tender, salty, fatty, and definitely had a very rich beefy flavor.  See the image and explanation below for more details about this Wagyu beef.

Most people in the US have heard of a type of 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 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 these same strict standards as the Kobe region does in raising cattle to meet consumer demand.  Chef Varricchio from time to time has an opportunity to purchase some Japanese Wagyu beef.  As you can see from the certificate above, this breeder also takes their beef as seriously as the Kobe beef producers do and keep strict records on their animals.  So what makes this type of beef so special?  The intense marbling of fat throughout the muscle that gives it that rich flavor, while also being very tender.  While it’s expensive, I highly recommend you try it at least once and experience it for yourself.

U10 Seared Sea Scallops served over Grilled Cabbage – These scallops were pan seared and served over grilled Napa cabbage with a creamy ginger lime sauce, and topped with micro greens as the garnish.  The scallops were perfectly cooked, the cabbage still had some crunch to it and a slight grilled flavor.  The cream sauce was smooth and had a brightness to it from the citrus and ginger.

Starting from the left to the right:

Classic Key Lime Pie with Lime Crema

Dark Chocolate Ganache Cake, caramel, feuillitine, and topped with bacon and sea salt

Vanilla Macadamia Cheese Cake, topped with a vanilla Chantilly cream

Citrus Scented Chocolate Cake, topped with chocolate ice cream and a strawberry coulis

All of the desserts were in-house made and were fantastic.  It was definitely a nice way to round out an unforgettable meal.

In Conclusion:

To say I was impressed would definitely be an understatement.  Chef Varricchio has a way to take simple, fresh ingredients and work his magic with them.  These are some of the most creative and flavorful dishes that I have seen or experienced yet in Vero.  From the location, the ocean views, the simplicity of the ingredients, yet elevated flavor and artistically plated dishes, this is one dining experience I won’t soon forget.

Have you tried Citrus Grillhouse?  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.

Atmosphere – 5 Forks

Service – 5 Forks

Food – 5 Forks

Rating Scale Legend:

1 to 5 Forks – 1 Bad to 5 Excellent

Citrus Grillhouse Website | Menu | Facebook Page

Address: 1050 Easter Lily Ln, Vero Beach, FL 32963


Monday 11:30AM–2PM, 5–9PM
Tuesday 11:30AM–2PM, 5–9PM
Wednesday 11:30AM–2PM, 5–9PM
Thursday 11:30AM–2PM, 5–9PM
Friday 11:30AM–2PM, 5–10PM
Saturday 11:30AM–2PM, 5–10PM
Sunday 5–9PM