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The Wave Kitchen & Bar – Restaurant Review 2018

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

I got a call from the restaurant manager a few weeks ago asking me to come back and check out their summer menu.  If you read my previous review of The Wave, you know that I jumped at the opportunity to go back and try the new menu items.  While the food at the previous review was amazing, they have really stepped up their game and I was quite impressed with the changes.  Dare I say that one of the dishes served to us during this updated review will make my Top 10 Best Dishes list this year?  Keep reading to see if you can figure out which one it might be.

The Wave Kitchen & Bar Restaurant Review 2017

The Wave Kitchen & Bar is 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!

Shrimp & Crab Ceviche – ($19.00) – One dish that The Wave is very well known for is their Ceviche, and this new twist was exceptional.  Made with fresh shrimp and crab meat, it also contains corn, red onion, jalapeno, tomato, cilantro, and fresh citrus juices.  Plantain chips are served alongside.  All of the ingredients were beyond fresh and the citrus juices gave it a very bright and tangy flavor.  One thing that stood out to me in this dish was how precisely the ingredients were diced.  You could tell that a chef with years of experience took great care when crafting this dish.

Barbeque Shrimp – ($15.00) – Up next for us to taste is this New Orleans inspired dish.  Eight shrimp sourced from the Gulf of Mexico to make sure it’s as authentic as possible, are grilled and then tossed in a sauce made from amber beer, Worcestershire sauce, lemon, and rosemary.  A biscuit is served alongside.  The shrimp were quite large and perfectly cooked.  The sauce had a mild, yet flavorful kick to it, and was very good.

Seasonal Greens – ($13.00) – A summer menu is not complete without a salad option!  With romaine lettuce as the base, it also includes snow peas, tomatoes, radish, and cucumber, and garnished with pea tendrils on top.  All of the veggies were farm fresh, the lettuce was nice and crisp, and the tomatoes were the sweetest I’ve tasted yet this season.  The salad was tossed with a Meyer lemon dressing and had a nice pop of flavor.

Pan Roasted Florida Grouper – ($35.00) – Grouper is my all-time favorite fish, so I was happy to see this brought out for us to try.  The dish consists of a pan-roasted 7 oz. grouper filet served over a charred corn succotash with a lobster tomato sauce and garnished with crispy leeks on top.  First off, the grouper was awesome!  It was light, flaky, and fatty, just as this cut of fish should be.  The dish had lots of colors, a mixture of flavors and textures, which really brought this dish to life.  It was delicious!

Coffee Rubbed Hanger Steak – ($34.00) – We just happened to be at the restaurant on Wednesday night again which is also steak night, so we got to try this new cut of beef they are offering known as a Hanger Steak.  The steak was rubbed with coffee and grilled to medium rare.  It was served on a hot stone and was still sizzling when it arrived at our table.  A potato, pearl onion, and mushroom hash was served alongside.  This cut, while not as tender as a filet, yet not as tough as a sirloin, was of excellent quality and had a rich beefy flavor.  The steak continued to cook on the hot stone which gave it a nice crust.

We were served two desserts options at the conclusion of our evening.  First up was a classic Cuban dish, Churros.  They are fried, then coated with cinnamon and sugar.  Served alongside were a chocolate and caramel sauces.  As an added bonus, a shot of Cuban rum was included for dipping the churros into.  Last but not least was a classic Vanilla Bean flan.  Both great ways to round out our wonderful evening.

Churros – ($13.00)

Vanilla Bean Flan – ($7.00)

In Conclusion:

The Wave has yet again proven to me that they are more than just a “Cuban” restaurant.  They have a wide variety of dishes to please most anyone, yet staying true to the owner’s roots and mixing in a few classic Cuban dishes that pay tribute to the owner’s heritage.  Costa and The Wave both continue to impress me.  The atmosphere here is second to none, and the food quality and options keep getting better each time I visit.  If you have not been here in a while, or even if it’s new to you, then might I suggest you come and check out their new summer menu items and rediscover everything that The Wave Kitchen & Bar has to offer.

Costa de’ Este is hosting our next Vero Beach Foodie MeetUp at the Cabana Bar on Wednesday, June 27th from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  They will be providing a few sharable apps for free and a 15% discount off regular menu items.  Our Meetups are a great way to meet other local foodies and discover new and exciting restaurants each month!  Hope you can join us!

Facebook MeetUp Event Page

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.

The Wave Kitchen & Bar Website  |  Facebook Page

Address3244 Ocean Dr, Vero Beach, FL 32963

Phone(772) 410-0100

Hours: Open Daily from 7:00 am – 10:00 pm

 

 

Nick’s Family Restaurant Review

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

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

Patty’s Cakes of Vero Beach – Business Review

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

I first discovered Patty’s Cakes when I came across one of her creations on Facebook and I felt compelled to reach out to her for more information about the amazing cakes I saw on her page.  We scheduled a time to get together for a tasting and the cakes below are what she made for us to try.  When we arrived at her home, she had a simple, yet elegant setting waiting for us at her dining room table along with champagne for the tasting.  Everything looked wonderful so I could not wait to dive right in and see what flavors she made for us to try.

From the age of 10 years old, Patty started baking in the kitchen with her mother and it quickly became a passion.  One of her favorite things to make were cream puffs.  She got so good at making them her neighbors started to request orders for them and she was happy to oblige.  Her mother started to notice how many ingredients came up missing from her panty and how messy the kitchen became, so she decided that Patty could start purchasing her own ingredients and cleaning the kitchen too.  While the professional training that Patty has had over the years has given her knowledge, her mother has been her greatest influence, providing both experience and the support needed to start her own business, which she also helped give a name to, and Patty’s Cakes was born.

In Conclusion:

Cakes have become so much more than just a simple sweet treat for parties and celebrations.  They have become a representation of what is important to us in our lives, and Patty does a wonderful job of creating that for your special occasion.  We were provided with five amazing cakes to try for the tasting and we loved each one of them.  They were all very moist and were quite delicious with tons of flavor.  With all of her cakes being made from scratch, you have many options to choose from when you sit down with her to create your perfect cake.  If you are looking for that one of a kind cake for your special occasion, then I suggest you give her a call, I know you won’t be disappointed!

Patty’s Cakes of Vero Beach Website  |  Facebook Page

Give her a call to set up an appointment:  (772) 643-7061