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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

 

 

Siam Orchid – Restaurant Review

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

For my next tasting experience, I head to Miracle Mile and to Siam Orchid Thai & Sushi restaurant!  I’ve been writing for VeroVine.com now for 2 and a half years and believe it or not, this is the first Asian restaurant that I’ve reviewed.  Moving from the Midwest a little over 4 years ago, this type of cuisine was not as prevalent up there as it seems to be in the south.  I’ve had the opportunity to dine at a few locations across Vero and my love and knowledge of the cuisine has most certainly grown. 

While this place shares the same name and signage as a place in Orlando, they are independent of each other and I’m happy to report this place is locally owned.  The current owner, Beam Tk and his family operate this place and took over ownership back in November of 2016. They are located in the middle of one of the most confusing intersections in Vero.  As you drive down US Hwy 1 and take the right exit to go to Miracle Mile, they are in a small strip mall at the corner of 21st and 8th Ave.  Parking was not an issue for us although their lot is fairly small and at peak times for all businesses, it could fill up fast.  Upon entry into the restaurant, there is a sushi bar that you can sit at and watch the chef (Beam) at work, and the hostess stand is on the right as is the dining room.  The space is comfortable and minimally decorated with a mix of booths and tables.

 

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

Crab Angels – ($6.95) –  First time I’ve heard them called “Crab Angels”, I’m more familiar with the term Rangoons.  A wonton wrapper is filled with a seasoned cream cheese and crab mixture pinched together and fried until golden brown.  A sweet chili sauce was served alongside.  My dad and I always order these and these are some of the best I’ve had around town.  The way they are folded into “angels” allows for a lot more filling inside.  I should also mention that real crab meat was used, not the imitation crab meat like most places use.  They were fantastic!

House Sampler – ($15.95) –  I love sampler platters because it allows me to try a few different items that I may not have ordered on their own to see if I like them.  This one consists of Shrimp in a Blanket, Thai Crispy Rolls, Chicken Satay, Fried Dumplings, and Edamame.  Four different dipping sauces were served alongside.  Everything was perfectly cooked/fried and was quite tasty.  The dipping sauces added additional flavors to some already great items.  The only thing we didn’t like was the Edamame, but that is just a personal preference.

Super Crunch Roll (Tempura) – ($10.95) – This was an interesting twist on a sushi roll that I’ve not tried before.  The roll is made with Eel, Salmon, krab, scallions, cream cheese, then lightly tempura battered and flash fried.  It was served over Eel sauce.  The roll tasted like any other roll of this type only it had an interesting texture and crunch when you took a bite of it.  The tempura was lightly fried, not greasy at all, and added that richness you come to expect from this type of batter, which only added another layer of flavor to the roll.

Salmon Samba Sushi Burrito – ($12.95) – I have to admit, when I first saw this posted on their Facebook page, it did not seem appetizing to me, but after trying it, I can’t stop thinking about how good it actually was.  Inside the roll, you will find Tempura Salmon, Tempura Asparagus, Masago, Cucumber, Lettuce and Eel sauce.  Think of this as an oversized sushi roll that has not been sliced.  My biggest concern for this was would I be able to easily bite through the seaweed wrapper on the outside and it was easier than I thought it would be.  The flavor and texture were really good and I would definitely order this again on my next visit.

Shabu Shabu Hot Pot While this is not my first experience with Chinese Hot Pot, it has been many years since I’ve had it, so I was looking forward to trying it again.  Items are served a la carte and you choose what you want.  You are charged a per person broth price then you can add meatballs, dumplings, vegetables, meat of your choice including seafood options, with add-ons of noodles or tofu.  First off, the broth was amazing!  It’s made fresh in-house by Beam’s mother who works in the kitchen.  All of the ingredients that were provided were fresh and delicious!  If you have never tried this before, I highly recommend it.  It’s a new way to experience food and its fun for everyone at the table.

Yellow Curry – ($11.95) – I think most people have a misconception that Curry tends to be “spicy”, but it most cases it’s just “spiced” which gives it tons of flavor with only a little bit of heat which was the case with this one.  Made with yellow curry paste, it also has chicken, pineapple, potato, red and green bell peppers, and cashews.  The broth was smooth and creamy and had a bold, yet not too spicy flavor.  White rice was served alongside.

Mango with Sticky Rice – ($5.95) – To round out our meal, we were served a raspberry flavored sticky rice with sliced mango on the side.  The sticky rice had just the amount of sweetness and while the raspberry flavor was somewhat subtle, it was just the right amount.  The sliced mango was very fresh and had a wonderful citrus flavor.  As you can imagine what all we had to eat that we were fairly full at this point, but somehow the dessert seemed to disappear before the evening was over.

In Conclusion:

Most of the time my wife and I do these reviews alone, but this time we took 2 additional people with us and boy are we glad we did!  The amount of food served to us was staggering and we were very full by the end of the evening because it was all so good!  Now that we know this place is not a chain restaurant and run by a local family, we will now add it into our Asian restaurant rotation when we choose to dine out for this type of cuisine.  We had a wonderful experience and meal, so I suggest you stop by and check these guys out, I know you won’t be disappointed!

Siam Orchid Website  |  Siam Orchid Facebook Page

Address762 21st St, Vero Beach, FL 32960

Phone(772) 569-2829

Hours of Operation: 

Monday – Friday, 11:30am – 2:30pm and 4:30pm – 10:00pm,

Saturday, 12:00pm – 3:00pm and 4:30pm – 10:00pm

Sunday, 12:00pm – 3:00pm and 4:30pm – 9:00pm

 

 

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