by Thomas Miller – Food Blogger / Restaurant Critic for Vero Vine
If you are a regular reader of my restaurant reviews, you may recall my review of Cobalt from last year. I was invited back to check out their brand-new summer menu for 2017. As one of my favorite restaurants on the island, I was definitely looking forward to dining with them again. Executive Chef Danial Traimas has been with the restaurant now for close to a year and a half and I always look forward to seeing what innovative dishes he and his team come up with.
Parking is limited due to its location right at the ocean, but they do offer free valet parking, 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. There is a separate entrance to the restaurant and upon entry, you’ll find both an elevator and a winding staircase that will take you up to the second level where the restaurant is located.
As you enter the restaurant, the large wall of windows at the back of the dining room immediately grabs your attention, as does the ocean view. The dining room has a comfortable elegance to it with dark stained wood paneled walls, beautiful lighting fixtures, and very comfortable table and booth combinations with lots of pillows. There is also outdoor seating for those of you that want that direct ocean view.
We arrived around 5:30 pm on a Tuesday evening for an early dinner. We were greeted shortly after taking our seat by Sous Chef Ryan Krull. Chef Daniel had the night off, so he left us in Chef Ryan’s capable hands.
Now without further ado, on to the food! Let’s jump right in and see what I had to eat!
Poke Salad – Our first of six courses was this wonderful salad. It’s made with fresh yellowfin tuna, marinated seaweed, mixed greens, cucumbers, carrots, toasted sesame seeds, and a soy reduction. Its dressed with a carrot-ginger dressing and topped with tobiko roe. Everything was extremely fresh, the tuna was seasoned very well, and the lettuce was crisp. The flavor of the dressing was reminiscent of the salad dressing you get at a hibachi grill, but so much fresher and more flavorful.
Cobia Crudo – As many different things that I’ve eaten and have experience with, a Crudo is somewhat new to me, so I Googled it and this is what I found out “a dish of raw fish or seafood, typically dressed with oil, citrus juice, and seasonings”. This one is made with raw Cobia sliced very thin and layered on the bottom. Its garnished with watermelon radish, serrano peppers, kaffir lime leaf, toasted coconut, and is dressed with a coconut-lime vinaigrette. The Cobia was very fresh, the peppers and watermelon radish added a crunchy texture, and the coconut-lime dressing gave it a brightness. It was a light and flavorful dish.
Steamed Clams – This is not a dish that I would normally order on my own, so I was happy to see it on the menu for the tasting. It’s not that I don’t like clams, I just don’t think something like this would normally fill me up till I’m satisfied. It’s made with little neck clams that have been steamed, diced chorizo sausage, and fire roasted tomatoes in a Yuengling broth. Crostini were served alongside. The clams were fresh and cooked to perfection. The broth was interesting. A flavor combination that does not seem like it would work, but yet it did. It was seasoned well, creamy, and had a touch of heat and smoke flavor from the sausage.
Scallops – This dish was a team effort on the part of Chef Daniel and Chef Ryan and was absolutely stunning! I’ve tasted other scallop dishes that Chef Daniel has made and he definitely seems to have a flair for creating some fantastic seafood dishes. First on the plate is a charred corn succotash, topped with the scallops, garnished with micro greens and corn tweels, and finished with a sweet corn beurre blanc sauce. The corn succotash was crunchy, sweet and spicy, and slightly smoky from the diced chorizo sausage. The scallops were seared perfectly and had that rich velvety texture I’ve come to expect from a great quality scallop.
Aussie Lamb Chops – Most people have a love-hate relationship with lamp chops, but in my case, I love them so I was happy to see them when brought to the table. The chops are served over sautéed wild mushrooms in an umami butter sauce and garnished with goat cheese mousse and micro greens. The seasoning on the chops was kept simple with garlic, salt, and pepper and was grilled mid-rare to medium internal temperature. The mushrooms were lightly sautéed and served with the savory umami butter sauce which was rich and flavorful. The goat cheese mousse was light and tangy.
My Favorite Chocolate Cake – Our sixth and final course of the evening was dessert and it was a welcome sight! It’s a dark chocolate 3-layer cake served with a vanilla Anglaise, Raspberry coulis, honey macerated orange segments, and garnished with whipped cream. The cake was made with dark chocolate and was very light in texture and had a more subtle chocolate flavor than I expected. This is not a bad thing because most cakes can be too rich, but this one was just right. It did not leave you feeling like you ate a heavy rich dessert that you soon regret shortly afterward.
There is a distinct difference between eating and dining, and I believe that Cobalt excels at providing a superior dining experience. From the wonderful food, the restaurant’s elegant dining room, and the ocean views, this place has the total package that exemplifies what fine dining should be. The food here continues to impress me and Executive Chef Daniel and his team’s ability to take simple ingredients and elevate them is something that they do very well. If you have only “eaten” lately, then might I suggest next time you chose to go out, that you “dine” with them and experience the difference.
Stay tuned for a special announcement next week. Vero Vine and Vero Beach Foodie are proud to present our next VIP Foodie Dining Experience coming up at Cobalt! It’s called “Chef’s Table” and will feature a special menu created by Executive Chef Daniel Traimas just for this event. Tickets will go on sale shortly so be sure to like us on Facebook for updates!
Have you tried Cobalt? 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 email@example.com with your questions or comments.
Atmosphere – 5 Forks
Service – 5 Forks
Food – 5 Forks
Rating Scale Legend:
1 to 5 Forks – 1 Bad to 5 Excellent