Tag Archives: Creme Brulee

Riverside Cafe – Restaurant Review

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

For my next tasting experience, I head to the island and to the historic Riverside Café!  This is just one of those places that define what Florida living is all about.  It’s located on the water, you can drive up in your boat, dock and get a bite to eat, and enjoy those spectacular sunsets!  Owners David and Ellen Lane took ownership of Riverside back in 2008.  David had been working at Riverside for over 24 years and his wife Ellen, 13 years as bartenders before taking ownership. They have a long history here and know this place and their customers very well.  Chef Brandon Howard is the creative genius in the kitchen and he seems to come up with some fun & creative dishes that keep the customers coming back for more.

Considering their location, I would consider this place truly a “hidden” gem, a local’s place if you will.  If you have not lived here long or are a tourist, I’m sure you passed by this place hundred times and did not know it was there.  Those of you that are more adept with technology I’m sure have found them and know what a treasure this place is to Vero.  Parking should not be too much of an issue with their main parking lot having quite a few spaces available, of which only a few are reserved for the Bait & Tackle shop located directly in front of the restaurant.  If the main lot is full, there is overflow just outside the lot with additional parking under the bridge.  As you enter the restaurant, you are instantly transported to old Florida with a cool laid-back vibe.  An interior dining room has several low top tables available if you prefer a quieter dining experience.  The main dining room has all high-top tables to help you better enjoy the 180-degree views of the water and plenty of seats available at the bar.  A stage is also in this room for live performances by local artists.  If you are lucky enough, Jake Owen may stop in for an impromptu performance from time to time.  If you would like to dine outside, they have a limited number of seats out on the dock so you may be in for a short wait if you prefer that option during peak hours.

 

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

Pina Colada – ($8.00) –  Pina Colada is my go-to drink because I love coconut, so we decided to try one.  Served frozen in a tall glass, finished with whipped cream and a cherry.  It was light and refreshing with just the right amount of coconut flavor.  For me, it only gets better as it melts and becomes creamier.

Ahi Tuna Nachos – ($16.99) – I’ve been told that this dish is not to be missed so I was glad to see it when they brought it out for us to try.  A bed of seaweed is laid on the plate, house-made wontons are fried and overlapped with each other.  A generous portion of Yellowfin tuna tartar is laid on top, then its garnished with a sweet soy glaze and a cucumber & wasabi cream sauce.  Does it taste as good as it looks?  YES!!!  The tuna was very fresh, the wontons provided a satisfying crunch, and the sauces added tons of additional flavor with little to no heat.  It was awesome!

Drunken Sautéed Mussels – ($13.99) – I’ve seen, tried, and been served mussels at quite a few places during my reviews, and I think this might just be one of, if not the best I’ve tried yet.  Fresh mussels are steamed in white wine and served with a lemon, thyme, roasted garlic, and butter sauce.  The broth was the star of the dish as it was creamy and full of flavor.  The mussels were also larger than I’ve seen at other places and were very tender.  Three rolls on the side were provided so you can soak up all of that wonderful broth.

Grouper Ruben – ($MP) – Nothing says Florida like a classic Grouper Ruben!  Fresh grouper is fried and layered between rye bread with coleslaw, Swiss cheese, and thousand island dressing.  Potato salad and a pickle were served alongside.  The rye bread was perfectly toasted, the coleslaw gave it that satisfying crunch, and the grouper was light, flaky, and fatty.  It was delicious!

Filet Mignon Sandwich – ($14.99) – OMG that looks so good!  Made with thinly sliced grass-fed filet mignon and layered with mozzarella cheese, sautéed onions, a roasted red pepper remoulade, and served on a brioche bun.  The filet was cooked to medium rare and was very tender, the sautéed onions were nice and sweet, and the red pepper remoulade paired perfectly with the filet.  The French fries are also worth a mention here because they were larger than normal and had a satisfying crunch on the outside, yet were soft and fluffy inside like mashed potatoes.  It was amazing!

Mahi Caprese – ($25.99) – They say we eat with our eyes first and I think I devoured this one without even taking a bite!  The grilled Mahi is topped with sliced locally grown tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, and drizzled with a sweet balsamic reduction sauce.  Rice and steamed veggies were served alongside.  The Mahi filet was huge, it goes all the way up and is leaning on the rice.  It was perfectly grilled and still very moist and flaky.  I don’t usually talk about the sides too much but the steamed veggies with a creamy butter sauce were outstanding. 

Crème Brulee of the Day – ($6.99) – The day we visited just happened to be Grand Marnier flavored Crème Brulee day and I’m happy that it was.  This was the most flavorful and creamy version I’ve ever had.  The wife and I were fighting over the last few bites, it was that good.

In Conclusion:

I can’t believe it’s been nearly 4 years since I first visited Riverside Café.  I’m kicking myself now for waiting so long to come back and rediscover it.  I do enough of these reviews that I don’t always appreciate the food as much as I should when I’m at the restaurant, but when I’m writing the review and looking back at the photos, I then realize how good it really was.  The food, the atmosphere, and the possibility that Jake Owen could stop by for an impromptu concert is reason enough to stop by and check these guys out, I know you won’t be disappointed!

Riverside Cafe Website  |  Riverside Cafe Menu  |  Riverside Cafe Facebook Page

Address3341 Bridge Plaza Dr, Vero Beach, FL 32963

Phone(772) 234-5550

Hours:  11:00am – 10:00pm, 7 days a week

Polo Grill – Restaurant Review

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

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My next tasting experience takes me over to the island side of Vero Beach again, and this time to the Polo Grill.  It’s located on Ocean Drive and in the Portales de Vero center.  This wonderful upscale eatery definitely has a loyal following and has some classic dishes, with a few out of the ordinary ones too.  This was my first time dining here so let’s jump in and see what this place has to offer.

Parking is located off of Flamevine Lane on the west side of the building, or you can park on the street closer to the entrance at the east side of the building.  As I entered the restaurant, I was promptly greeted by the host, Kenny and shown to my table. The crystal chandeliers and wall sconces were dimly lit, with wainscoting on the walls, dark stained wood, leather chairs and tufted backs of the booths it felt very elegant, kind of like a private club.  Artwork throughout kept up with the name and was very equestrian.

Polo Grill Inside

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

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Oyster Bay New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc – ($9.95) – I chose this wine at random, and coming from a wine newbie, I think it was an excellent choice.  It was crisp, slightly tropical in flavor, and definitely refreshing.

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Shrimp Scampi – ($20.95) – Before I dined here, I looked at the menu and was having a hard time deciding which appetizer to have, so I asked my waiter Hector, which one he would recommend between the crab cakes or the scampi.  He recommended the scampi, so that is what I ordered.  It contained 4 large shrimp, with sautéed tomato, garlic, and herbed scampi butter.  I squeezed the lemon over the top and took a bite.  The shrimp were perfectly cooked, and the sauce had a little different twist with the addition of the tomatoes, which was a nice change of pace.  They were really good!

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The Bleu Wedge – ($8.95) – This is my very first wedge salad I have had.  I’ve avoided them in the past because I thought that they would be too difficult and messy to eat.  It consists of nearly 1/3 of a head of iceberg lettuce, a creamy bleu cheese dressing, and some bacon crumbled over the top.  It was easier to eat than I thought, and kind of fun too.  I cut it up into manageable bite size pieces and it was really good.  The lettuce was fresh and crisp, the dressing had lots of flavor and was very creamy.

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Caesar Salad – ($8.95) – With the two entrees that I ordered, each one came with a salad, so I got one of each of the salads they offer.  This is your classic Caesar with romaine lettuce, Caesar dressing, grated parmesan cheese, garlic croutons, and I got the optional anchovies on top.  The lettuce was very fresh and crisp, and was coated lightly with the dressing.  The anchovies were nice and salty.  A true classic and very nicely done.

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Pork Schnitzel with Cherries -($29.95) – This was one of the more unusual dishes that caught my eye while I was browsing the menu, so I had to try it.  It’s made from pork tenderloin pounded almost paper thin, breaded, deep fried, then a cherry sauce is spooned over the top.  The pork was very tender, the coating had a nice crunch to it, and the cherry sauce was more tart than sweet.  It was a great flavor combination with the pork.  Sides were a potato gratin, sliced carrots, and asparagus.  The potato gratin was the star of the side dishes.  The potatoes were thinly sliced and were layered with parmesan and cheddar cheeses.  A fantastic dish, and a top seller at Polo Grill.

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Black Angus Short Rib – ($29.95) – Short ribs are becoming a new favorite of mine, so I knew that when I saw it on the menu, that I would have to try it.  This is a boneless short rib that had been slow cooked for hours and served with a rich brown gravy over the top.  The short rib portion was quite large, and was fork tender.  The rich gravy added a wonderful richness to the dish.  Sides were the same as I had with the pork schnitzel and were just as good a second time around.

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Creme Brulee – ($5.95) – This is one of my all time favorite desserts, so when my waiter mentioned this was an option, my selection was a no brainer.  A soft custard, baked, then sugared and torched on top to finish is always good, and this one is no exception.  The sugar on top was nice and thin, and broke easily with the spoon.  The custard was set perfectly and was smooth and creamy.  A great way to round out a fantastic meal!

In Conclusion:

What a fantastic dining experience I had while visiting the Polo Grill!  From the host, to the very professional wait staff, they all took great care of me while I was there.  While slightly off the beaten path at the south end of the shopping district on Ocean Drive, this is a place that is definitely worth seeking out.  If you are looking for that exclusive club feel, with excellent service, and fantastic food without the membership fees, then Polo Grill is definitely your place!

Have you tried Polo Grill?  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 – 4 Forks

Ratings Scale Legend:

1 to 5 Forks – 1 Bad to 5 Excellent

Polo Grill Website

2855 Ocean Dr, Vero Beach, FL 32963

Hours:

Monday 5–9PM
Tuesday 5–9PM
Wednesday 5–9PM
Thursday 5–9PM
Friday 5–9PM
Saturday 5–9PM
Sunday Closed