Tag Archives: Coconut

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

The Wave Kitchen & Bar – Restaurant Review

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

Beachiest Kids Photo Contest

My next tasting experience takes me beachside to a restaurant that has been on my list to review for quite a while now, The Wave Kitchen & Bar located inside Costa d’Este Beach Resort & Spa.  Owned by seven-time Grammy Award-winning musical artist Gloria Estefan and her husband Emilio Estefan, the resort brings Miami chic, sophistication, and the Estefan’s personal taste and style throughout the resort.  It’s centrally located on Ocean Drive in what is known as the “Hamptons of Miami”.

The resort is hard to miss as you drive past it on Ocean Drive due to the geometrical architecture of the covered entrance and the waterfall in front of it.  The landscaping is always well maintained and very tropical.  While their parking lot is mostly reserved for valet parking, there are a few spots that you can still self-park.  As you enter through the front door, you walk directly into the lobby.  The restaurant is just a few steps away to the right and through a stone arch with only their logo to identify what it is.  The hostess stand is on your right and is made up of wood, metal, and glass.  You will notice in the middle of the dining room there is a large table surrounded by black bead walls.  This is their VIP table for special events and can host up to 14 guests.  Gloria and family have been known to use this area for their family gatherings while staying at the resort.  Once you walk past the VIP table the next thing that draws your attention will be the view of the pool deck, the Cabana bar, and of course the ocean view.  Blue accent lighting is used throughout the resort and it’s quite stunning once the sun has set.  

 

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

 

Blueberry Mojito – The Wave is known for their spectacular mojitos, so I had to get one.  I’ve tasted them several times while attending the Taste of Vero event and always enjoyed them.  This one is made with Bacardi Anejo, fresh lime juice, fresh mint, simple syrup, soda water, and fresh blueberries.  It was garnished with a sugar cane stick, lime wedge, and more blueberries.  The blueberry flavor at first was subtle, but the longer I let it sit, the better it got.

Ceviche Trio – Below is the description of each one starting on the left:

Left:  Local Seasonal Fish Ceviche – It’s made with fresh local fish, freshly squeezed lime juice, cilantro, and red onion.  Fried plantain chips were served alongside.

Middle:  Salmon and Ahi Tuna Poke – It’s made with fresh salmon and ahi tuna, scallions, red onion, avocado, jalapeno’s, nori, cilantro, soy sauce.  Fried wontons were served alongside.

Right:  Coconut Seafood Mixto – It’s made with scallops, lobster, shrimp, citrus, coconut milk, mango, avocado, and jalapeno.  Fried plantain chips were served alongside.

What I really liked about this dish was that each ceviche was completely different in both flavor and in texture.  The one on left had the traditional bold lime flavor, the middle one had a subtle Asian flavor, and the one on the right had a more mellow sweet coconut flavor.  My favorite of the three was the one on the right.  With the variety of seafood in it, plus the sweet coconut flavor, and the plantain chips to eat it with, the variety of textures and flavors made this the winning ceviche of the trio.

Mojo Braised Mussels – The garlic aroma coming from this dish when they sat it down in front of us was intoxicating!  It’s made with fresh mussels in a garlic citrus broth, sea salt, and herbs. Yucca fries were served alongside.  The mussels were perfectly cooked and very tender.  The broth was the real star of the dish.  It was bright from the citrus and of course had a lot of garlic flavor.  It was quite delicious!

Spinach Cobb Salad – It’s nice to see a different twist on a classic salad like the Cobb.  It’s made with a bed of spinach, carrot shreds, diced egg, crumbled bacon, bleu cheese crumbles, diced avocado, and chopped walnuts.  Most Cobb salads I’ve had usually have finely chopped romaine lettuce, but in this salad, they used baby spinach instead.  Everything smelled very fresh and was quite colorful.  The dressing served alongside was slightly sweet and tangy.

Pan Roasted Red Snapper – Red Snapper is one of my favorite types of fish, so I was looking forward to trying this one.  It’s made with a red snapper filet served over a warm truffle summer bean salad, artichokes, roasted tomatoes and a ramp-Leek vinaigrette.  The snapper was a touch overcooked on the edges, but was still moist and tender inside.  The bean salad had a little crunch and was a little bit tangy from the vinaigrette.  The roasted tomatoes had a rich roasted tomato flavor, very much like you would expect from a sun-dried tomato, and they were one of my favorite parts of the dish. 

Filet of Beef – We just happened to be at the restaurant on Wednesday night which is also steak night, so we got to try a few of their best offerings.  First up is the Filet of Beef.  Premium Black Angus steak sourced from Creekstone Farms is some of the best quality beef that money can buy.  Their cattle are fed a non-GMO diet, never given antibiotics, and no growth promoting drugs.  The filet was topped with a shallot crust, and served with roasted pearl onions, mashed truffle yucca, watercress salad, and a red wine demi-glaze sauce.  While filet is not my personal favorite cut of beef, this one was quite exceptional.  It was seasoned lightly with salt and pepper and seared to a perfect medium.  The demi-glaze that was served on the side was rich and sweet and was a nice compliment to the steak. 

Paella a la Costa (for one) – I must admit, this was the first time I’ve ever tried Paella.  I did not know what to expect, so this was going to be a new experience for me.  It’s made with Calasparra rice, clams, mussels, a U10 scallop, jumbo shrimp, chorizo, chicken, peppers, peas, and an additional half lobster was added to the top to complete the stunning presentation!  All my favorite types of seafood were sitting atop what I can only describe to someone that has not tried paella before as a Spanish fried rice.  The seafood was cooked and seasoned to perfection.  The rice picked up its beautiful color from the saffron and a subtle smoky flavor from the chorizo which added yet another layer of complexity to the dish.  I think I just became a Paella fan!

Cuban Coffee Rubbed Bone-In Ribeye Steak – Next up for my tasting pleasure on steak night is The KING of all steaks, the one and only cowboy cut bone-in ribeye, and my personal favorite!  The steak was rubbed with Cuban coffee grounds, salt and pepper, then grilled to a perfect medium.  Large hand cut steak fries and a Cuban inspired Chimichurri sauce that was made with cilantro and lime was served alongside.  Why is this my favorite cut of beef you ask?  The flavor of a bone-in ribeye is hard to beat.  It’s rich, it’s fatty, and has the deepest most beefy flavor I’ve ever tasted in any cut of beef.  While everything served to us this evening was fantastic, I think this was my favorite.

Pina Colada Cake with Lime Sorbet – By this time of the evening, we were getting full, but there is always room for dessert!  The cake is made with 2 layers of yellow cake separated by a layer of whipped cream with shredded coconut and crushed pineapple in it.  It was served with a side of lime sorbet and garnished with whipped cream, a mint leaf, and toasted coconut.  The cake was amazing!  It was light, fluffy, and the whipped cream filling really tasted like a Pina Colada.  While not made in-house, the lime sorbet was creamy, smooth, and had a bold lime flavor.

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake –  My absolute favorite dessert is cheesecake and this one did not disappoint.  Served alongside was a pecan brittle, strawberries, and it was garnished with whipped cream and a mint leaf.  Presentation on the blue plate was gorgeous!  The cheesecake was dense and packed with a rich caramel flavor.  The pecan brittle was sweet, crunchy, and quite good. 

In Conclusion:

I think most people assume that the food served in this restaurant is Cuban due to the owner’s heritage, but they could not be more wrong.  While they do have a few Cuban dishes on the menu, most of them are New American with Cuban / Spanish influences. Everything we tasted was freshly prepared to order and artistically plated, so not only was the food pleasing to the eye, but also to the palette.  If you have not been here in a while, or even if it’s new to you, then might I suggest you come check out their new menu items, the impressive ocean views, the pristine beaches, and rediscover everything that The Wave Kitchen & Bar has to offer.

Have you tried the Wave Kitchen & Bar?  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

 

Coming up next month, please join us for the Vero Beach Foodie VIP Dessert Experience at The Wave Kitchen & Bar!  Limited seating is available for this exclusive event and it will sell out quickly, so be sure to get your tickets early!

Cost: $50.00 per person – Your VIP experience includes free valet parking (including tip), champagne reception, 3-course plated desserts that were created just for this event, coffee, and iced tea. A cash bar will be available if you would like any additional drinks during the evening.

When: Wednesday, December 13th starting at 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

To purchase tickets, go to  https://verobeachfoodie.ecwid.com/

 

The Wave Kitchen & Bar Website  |  Facebook Page

Address3244 Ocean Dr, Vero Beach, FL 32963

Phone(772) 410-0100