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Dagwood’s 2018 – Restaurant Review

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

My next tasting experience takes me back to one of my all-time favorite sandwich shops in Vero, Dagwood’s Deli & Sub Shop!  A lot of people often wonder where a food critic likes to spend their money and go back to after the reviews are over.  Dagwood’s is one of those places for me.  Why is that?  I strongly believe in supporting small business over the corporate guys.  They are working hard to give you the absolute best quality and experience possible because their livelihood depends on it.  I know where my money is going and what it’s helping do.  Not only is it keeping the money right here in Vero, but I also know it’s keeping a roof over their heads and putting shoes on their kid’s feet.  Small businesses like this are run by people just like you and me, and it’s good to see them succeed at something they love to do.    

Parking can be tight in the strip mall and this place is always busy over the short 4 hours that they are open.  Plan to come early or be prepared to fight for a parking spot, but trust me, it’s worth it.  Since my last visit, they recently started staying open till 10:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, so parking does get a little easier later in the day since the other businesses in the strip mall are closed.  As you walk into Dagwood’s, you are greeted by a counter with stools and a dining room to the right with low and high-top tables.  One new thing you will notice is a wonderful selection of local beers that they offer on tap.  After placing your order at the front counter, you will receive your drink and then instructed to take any seat and your sandwich will be delivered to your table.  The atmosphere is nice, with ochre-colored walls and black accents.  Decorations are bold and add a unique vibe to the place.  They have also added a large chalkboard menu on the left wall you can browse while waiting your turn to place your order.

 

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

New York Club – ($6.75 half / $9.99 whole) – New York deli is one of my all-time favorites so I was looking forward to trying their version of it.  A combination of Dagwood’s own house-made pastrami and corned beef is layered with swiss cheese, sauerkraut, spicy mustard, and is served on rye bread.  Can’t make the trip to NY for some of the best delis in the world, stop by Dagwood’s right here in Vero and I’m sure you will fall in love all over again.

Open Face Chicken Club – ($6.75 half / $9.99 whole) – Who knew you could have it made open faced?  This sandwich is made with oven roasted chicken breast, bacon, provolone cheese, mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and Dagwood spices. 

The Okeechobee – ($9.99) – As one of Dagwood’s newest creations, I could not wait to try this one!  Roast beef, bacon, cheddar, lettuce & tomato is piled high on white bread and dressed with mayonnaise and bang sauce.  This thing was a monster!  I felt as if I had to unhinge my jaw to take a bite.  Everything worked very well together and you get a little heat on the backend from the bang sauce. 

Vero Beach Classic – ($9.99) – This is also a new sandwich that is not on the menu yet, and I think my new favorite!  Chicken, roast beef, swiss cheese, bacon, avocado, peppercorn, parmesan, lettuce & tomato, Dagwood spices, piled high on garlic toast.

BBQ Sub – ($6.75) – Man, doesn’t that look good?  It’s made simply with pulled chicken, BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese, on a sub bun.  While it may sound simple, everything just works and it’s quite tasty. 

In Conclusion:

Dagwood’s continues to impress me with their offerings.  From their house-made meats, beyond fresh ingredients, these are some of the best sandwiches you will find in Vero, period.  Now open till 10:00 pm on Friday and Saturday nights, your weekend dinner options just got easier.  Josh and Marie are also some of the nicest, most hardworking folks you will ever meet in the food industry.  Their drive and passion for what they do shows and you can taste it in the sandwiches they make.

NOTE:  My comments about each sandwich were kept at a minimum for this review because there are only so many ways you can describe a sandwich and how it tastes, or how fresh the ingredients are, so I figured I would summarize my experience in the “In Conclusion” part of this tasting experience article.  I also think the pictures speak for themselves!

Vero Beach Foodie is stepping out of our comfort zone and trying something new!  Check out our very first Mukbang video of Dagwood’s review and let us know what you think!

Have you tried Dagwood’s?  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.

Dagwood’s Website  |  Dagwood’s Menu  |  Facebook Page  |  Chow Cab

Address835 17th St, Vero Beach, FL 32960

Phone(772) 778-1900

Hours:  Open Monday – Thursday, 11:00am till 3:00pm, Open Friday – Saturday, 11:00am till 10:00pm, Closed on Sundays

Heaton’s Reef – Restaurant Review 2017

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

If you are a regular reader of my restaurant reviews, you may recall my friend and neighbor, Eden Colonna, who wrote the review of Heaton’s Reef last year.  She is attending culinary school down in Boca and was home for the summer.  She had an interest in food writing, so I invited her to tag along and write the review.  Check out the link below if you would like to see her article from last year.

2016 Restaurant Review of Heaton’s Reef

My friend and manager, Will McKinnon invited me back to check out their brand-new summer/fall menu for 2017.  I’m always up to try their food because it’s made under the direction of the culinary team at Cobalt, so their standards are set high by the same great chefs running that kitchen.  Most of you know that Cobalt is one of my favorite restaurants on the island, so I jumped at the opportunity to review Heaton’s Reef again. 

Parking is limited due to its location right at the ocean, but they do offer free valet parking (tip), 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.  The greenery did take a hit from the hurricane, but it’s been trimmed and should be back in all its glory by springtime next year.  Since there is not a separate entrance for Heaton’s like there is for Cobalt, you can enter through the lobby and ask one of the staff for the best way to get through the hotel to the restaurant.  The atmosphere here cannot be beat when the weather is perfect.  There are lots of tables outside, all with an ocean view, so there is not a bad seat in the house.  If the weather does take a turn for the worse, you can cozy up to the bar and stay dry and you still have the ocean view.  I had requested the “Tiki Hut” covered seating area that has the direct ocean front view.

 

Executive Chef Daniel Triamas happened to be working on the day of the review, so he came to the table to greet us before service.  Now without further ado, on to the food! 

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

Sunset Point –  It’s made with Coconut Rum, freshly squeezed lime, coconut water, club soda, and simple syrup.  Coconut flavor was very evident in this drink due to the flavored rum and coconut water used to make it.  The lime added a little zing, and the club soda gave it a nice subtle effervescence. 

Florida Berry Sour – It’s made with Stoli razz, freshly squeezed lemon, strawberries, raspberries, pomegranate, and simple syrup.  With “sour” right in the name, I wasn’t sure if I would like it since I tend to like my drinks sweeter.  To my surprise, it was not as sour as I expected it to be.   The strawberries, raspberries, and the pomegranate added enough sweetness to counteract the sourness of the lemon.

Chilled Seafood Salad ($17.00) – A mixture of shrimp, bay scallops, and calamari, diced red and yellow peppers were tossed in a lime vinaigrette and served over bibb lettuce.  It was garnished with chopped chives.  The salad reminded me of a ceviche, but only larger.  The seafood was beyond fresh and a very generous portion.  The lime vinaigrette was very fresh and quite delicious!

Grilled Shrimp Skewers – ($21.00) –  The dish contains two shrimp skewers that have a mixture of peppers, red onion, pineapple, and shrimp on them. They were served over a citrus tabbouleh, and an herb yogurt sauce was served alongside.  The shrimp were perfectly cooked and the veggies had a nice char and a slightly smoky flavor from the grill.  The tabbouleh was new to me but reminded me of couscous in both flavor and texture.

Chicken Pesto Wrap – ($14.00) – It’s made with diced tomato, fresh mozzarella, grilled chicken, arugula, and pesto all wrapped up in a flour tortilla.  French fries and ketchup served alongside.  The chicken was perfectly cooked, the tomatoes were sweet, and the arugula was fresh and peppery.  The tomatoes and the pesto were not that evenly distributed throughout the wrap, so a few bites I had without them were a bit bland, but otherwise, all the ingredients work very well together.

Heaton’s Burger – ($15.00) – It’s made with an all-beef patty and topped with bleu cheese, crispy onions, lettuce, tomato, maple mustard BBQ sauce on a brioche bun.  The burger was cooked medium well which gave it a little texture on the outside but remained nice and juicy on the inside.  The blue cheese was creamy and not too sharp, the crispy onions added additional texture and flavor, and I absolutely loved the maple mustard BBQ sauce.  It really brought everything together quite well.

In Conclusion:

The menus at Heaton’s Reef change from season to season to help keep things fresh so you most likely won’t have the same experience that you had last time you visited.  All the food is prepared under direction by the same culinary team that runs Cobalt, so you can count on the same excellent quality and freshness that you have come to expect from them.  If you enjoy oceanfront dining, $5.00 daily drink specials, and lots of fun special events, then I think you should check out or rediscover what all Heaton’s Reef has to offer! 

Have you tried Heaton’s Reef?  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

Rating Scale Legend:

1 to 5 Forks – 1 Bad to 5 Excellent

Website  |  Facebook Page  |  Daily $5.00 Drink Specials

Open Daily from 10:00 am till 10:00 pm

Address3500 Ocean Dr, Vero Beach, FL 32963

Phone(772) 469-1060

 

Polo Deli – Restaurant Review

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

logo

My next tasting experience takes me over to the island side of Vero Beach, and this time to the Polo Deli.  This is the little brother to Polo Grill which I reviewed a few months ago.  Owners Kelly and John while traveling in Paris, came across a shop called Davoli and just fell in love with it.  It’s a gourmet deli and a specialty food shop that has been around for a long time.  They loved it so much, they decided to open their own version of it right here in Vero Beach.

It’s located at the south end of Ocean Drive, just down the street from Polo Grill.  They do have a parking lot that is located just off of Flamevine Lane for your convenience.  They primarily focus on take out since there is no dining room or outdoor seating available.  The day I had lunch there it was a beautiful day, so we just walked over to Humiston Park and had our lunch on a picnic table.  Polo Deli offers specialty sandwiches, salads, prepared dinner entrees, steaks, cheese, crackers, snacks, and of course a huge wine selection.  They just re-opened for “season”, so I thought it was the perfect time to give them a give them a try.

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

concfritters

Conch Fritters – ($12.99 per lb) – Up first to wet our appetites were these conch fritters.  We received them cold, but I think you can specify that you would like them warmed up.   They were chock full of conch and did not seem to have much filler in them.  The sauce served alongside was creamy, sweet, and had a tiny bit of heat.  My dining companion thought he tasted horseradish in it, but I did not.  I did taste what seemed to be seasoning salt.  They were really good!

salad

Floridian Shaker Salad – ($7.99) –  I’ve heard of and seen shaker salads before, but not had an opportunity to try one yet.  The Floridian is a quinoa and wild rice salad with dried apricots, shallots, a layer of lettuce, and diced chicken, with a mandarin sesame ginger salad dressing.  First, you take off the lid, remove the dressing.  There is another piece of plastic that needs to be removed that separated the dressing from the salad.  Once removed, you pour the dressing over the salad, then place the main lid back on and just shake it up.  We then poured it into a bowl and tried it.  It was awesome!  Everything was super fresh, the dressing had an Asian twist to it, and the chicken gave it that kick of protein it needed.  I’m definitely going back soon to get another one of these, it was that good!

swedish-chicken-sandwich

Swedish Chicken Sandwich – ($9.99) – One of the newer items on the menu this season is this chicken sandwich.  It contains sliced chicken breast, brie cheese, and Lingonberry sauce. You have your choice of bread it can be made on.  You can choose from a French baguette, whole wheat baguette, or a croissant which was my choice.   The croissant was buttery, light and flaky.  The chicken is sliced from a roasted chicken breast and is hormone & antibiotic free.  It was perfectly cooked and still very juicy.  The lingonberry sauce was sweet and tangy and took this sandwich over the top with that sweet and salty flavor combination that is so good!

ham-sandwich

Hot Ham and Brie – ($9.99) – Stacy Cook was my lunch date for this review and this is his favorite sandwich here.  It’s made with sliced Duck Deli ham, brie cheese, lettuce and tomato on a French Baggett.  The ham was very fresh and sliced the perfect thickness, the brie was melted over the top and was very creamy.  I can see why this has been one of Stacy’s favorites and why it stays on the menu from year to year, it was fantastic!

cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies – ($0.00) – Why is the price zero you might ask?  That’s because you get one cookie with each sandwich or shaker salad purchase for FREE!  They are baked fresh in house each day and are a soft cookie with tons of chocolate chunks in them.  We let them sit out in the sun as we ate lunch and they were warm and gooey from the sun reheating them.  They were really great and a perfect way to round out our wonderful meal!

In Conclusion:

I’ve been hearing great things about this cool little ocean side deli and my experience here did not disappoint.  Everything that we tried was beyond fresh and full of flavor.   While I have not been to Davoli in Paris to make a comparison, Owners Kelly and John have done a great job putting a place together that I’m sure reflects similar offerings and atmosphere right here in Vero Beach that they can be proud of.

Have you tried Polo Deli?  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

Ratings Scale Legend:

1 to 5 Forks – 1 Bad to 5 Excellent

Polo Deli Facebook Page /  Polo Deli Information Page

Hours:  Monday – Saturday – 10:30am til 3:00pm Closed on Sundays

Address: 2916 Cardinal Dr, Vero Beach, FL 32963