by Thomas Miller – Food Blogger / Restaurant Critic for Vero Vine and Vero Beach Foodie
My next tasting experience takes me back to Downtown Vero and to its newest restaurant, the VB American Bar & Grill. Owners Dave Huneke and Shelley Bunyon opened the place in June of this year in what used to be known as Scoozi. Dave has been in the restaurant business nearly his entire life. He started his career at the age of 15 where he worked in a diner. Over the years, he has worked at places such as the Ramada Inn, TGI Friday’s, and has owned 3 restaurants and a catering company before deciding to move to Vero. Before the review, the owners sat down with me for a short while to chat about the upcoming dishes were about to taste. I could immediately tell by the way he described them that they both were foodies, so I knew I was in for a treat!
We arrived on a Tuesday evening around 5:30 pm for dinner. With most of the other businesses in the plaza closed now, we had no problem finding a parking spot. If the lot is full, you can usually find parking on the street nearby. You enter the restaurant through the courtyard that they share with Baci Trattoria and the door is on the left. Upon entry, you will see the hostess stand and the bar directly behind, with the dining room to the right. The hostess greeted us and we were shown to our table in the dining room. There are a mix of booth and tables and plenty of stools at the bar if you would like to sit, relax and have a drink. The inside was nicely decorated and felt very clean and comfortable.
Now let’s jump right in and see what I had to eat and drink!
Bimini Martini (Left) – I tend to like my drinks sweeter rather than sour, and this one delivers. This drink is made with Malibu rum, pineapple & strawberry. It was sweet, but not too much so and had this wonderful coconut flavor. Be careful with this one, it went down easy and you can most certainly get yourself in trouble fast if you have a few. 😉
Pink Lemonade (Right) – This drink was suggested to us as one of their more popular options. It’s made with Three Olives vodka, Chambord & lemonade. Flavor was subtle and not as tangy as I thought since it had lemonade in it, but it was still refreshing.
VB Poutine – ($8.00) – All the restaurant reviews that I’ve done around Vero, this is the first time I’ve seen this on any menu so I had to try it. It’s made with crinkle cut French fries, fried cheese curds, and topped with a rich pan gravy. The fries were lightly fried but still crispy, the cheese curds had a nice crunch and a bit of spice, and the pan gravy was rich and flavorful. I think I just became a fan of poutine!
Mesclun Salad – ($13.00) – Large salads as a meal are one of my favorite summertime dishes, so I had to give this one a try. It’s made with a spring lettuce mix, red onion, craisins, pine nuts, provolone pearls, sliced granny smith apples and a vinaigrette dressing served alongside. The lettuce was fresh and crisp and the dressing was slightly sweet which paired nicely with the sourness of the apple. The pine nuts were a new option that I’ve not seen on other salads around town, most everyone uses pecans, so this added a new layer of flavor that I have not tried yet. It was delicious!
Country Sligo – ($13.00) – Of all the sandwiches on the menu, this one seemed the most unique to me. It’s made with warm roast beef served open faced on rye toast and topped with sautéed onions, horseradish sauce and Tillamook cheddar cheese melted over the top. Man, oh man, THIS is a great sandwich! Dave roasts the beef in house so he can control the flavor and quality of what he serves. The bread was toasted to add a crunchy texture and the horseradish sauce was very subtle, so don’t worry if you don’t like it (I don’t), it’s not an overpowering flavor.
Baked Mac & Cheese – ($14.00) – While this might be a common dish served at a lot of places, they do one thing different that makes theirs stand out. It’s made with a 4-cheese blend, Cavatappi pasta, and a panko breadcrumb topping. What makes this dish special? They heat up a cast iron pan and bake the mac & cheese on it. That means that it continues to cook the mac & cheese while you eat it which browns the cheese and gives it a nice crust on the bottom. I know you understand what I’m talking about, because the dark crunchy bits of cheese around the edges are what we all want but never get enough of.
Italian Ricotta Cheesecake – ($6.00) – I’m a sucker for a good cheesecake, and this one was amazing! It’s made with ricotta and is made in house by Shelley. Even though it has a crack in it, I look at it as it was just showing me where to insert my fork and take my first bite. The cheesecake was soft and delicate and not too sweet. The browning on the top formed a little bit of a crust which added additional layer of texture and flavor. The whipped cream was also made in house shortly after I place my order and it was fresh and light.
I have to be honest, I had reservations about this place before I even stepped in the door. I’ve heard mixed reviews, so I did not know what to expect. After meeting the owners and chatting with them, all of my worries went away and I knew the food and my experience would be exceptional. If you like trying new places, then might I suggest you go and check out one of 14th Ave’s newest places and see for yourself!
Have you tried VB American Bar & 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Address: 1922 14th Ave, Vero Beach, FL 32960
Hours – Tuesday & Wednesday 4:00 pm till 9:00 pm, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 4:00 pm till 10:00 pm. Closed Sunday and Monday