Archive for the ‘Eats – Florida Reviews’ Category

Carmela’s Pizza and Wine Bar, Stuart Fl

Monday, October 13th, 2014

l.jpgOver the last six years I have driven by Carmela’s many times. At night, while lit up, it looks intriguing and like a place I would someday visit. On this trip my wife and I would do so for our anniversary dinner date.

While visiting Carmela’s website http://www.carmelaspizza.com and reading about its history and chefs bio’s, I turned to the menu page. Items on the menu spiked my interest  and gave me more reason to finally visit.

The restaurant itself is split on two sides. One side being the pizza style dining area and the other a more formal area featuring a full service bar. Carmela’s also boasts an extensive wine list.

Ever since eating farm raised fish and shrimp became an issue of making choices for better health I have made it a habit to only eat fish and shrimp caught wild and especially in local US waters. Carmela’s offers a seafood dish that includes shrimp so I asked our server if she knew where the shrimp were from. She said that they were purchased based on pricing and not always from the nearby Gulf waters. That being said I turned away from that dish and chose instead the Chicken Saltimbocca. My wife was drawn to the Pork Osso Bucco and also wanted to try the Medjole Dates, stuffed with bleu cheese and wrapped in Speck ( a cured meat air dried and similar to Proscuitto).

The Medjole Dates served hot and cooked crisp, were very very good. The have a slight crunch and are creamy, sweet and slightly smoky. Really good and with a small plate size of only four, it leaves you wanting maybe one more. Excellent choice!

Our dishes arrived and at first glance we were wondering if we made the right choices. My wife was concerned that the demi glace sauce was too much like tomato sauce and the risotto was drowned in it. Mine although a healthy portion, left me curious about the sauce too. The dish was served over pasta and swimming in the sauce. It also had an over abundance of melted cheese that totally encased the twin chicken breasts. I prefer Saltimbocca separate from my pasta, minimal sauce and a lot less cheese.

Although the Saltimbocca was not what I was accustomed to it was very good. It took some doing to eat, trying to cut it through all the sauce and pasta but I made short work of one of the breasts and all of the linguine below. It would have been better served alone with more of a sage flavor and less of the overpowering cheese.

The Osso Bucco while very tender and cooked well, the sauce was made with too much tomato that hid the flavor of the meat which we were told was braised over a period of seven hours. The risotto was tasty but also would have benefited from being more separate from the sauce. Both dishes portions were substantial and at least half of which came home with us.

Our server was friendly but seemed rushed to me although my wife didn’t find fault with her. I felt she could have spent more time with us to make us feel more welcome. Perhaps asking if it were our first visit, what we could expect, customer favorites etc..I like a little more one on one with my server especially in better restaurants such as this.

One last thought. After reading about the owner and chefs training I expected to see ingredients such as Gulf ( no farm raised) Shrimp and Angus Beef and not menu choices based on food costs. With all the questions today about what is in the food we eat, its refreshing to see organic or better choice meats/ fish on menus. Everything on a menu should not be based on ingredient costs alone and should definitely NOT be the answer given by your staff.

The Regular Guy rating * * *

 

 

 

 

Caffe Martier, Delray Beach Fl

Monday, February 24th, 2014
cafe2

caffe martier

Atlantic ave in Delray Beach is full of restaurants with outdoor seating so choosing one without a recommendation is a hit and miss proposition. They all have a good view to people watch and I would assume they have a wide range of price difference depending on what you are looking for.

After arriving at our hotel we set out for a bite for lunch and decided to sit outdoors at the first place that looked inviting. Being it was late in the afternoon we were just looking for a light lunch and with this Caffe’s menu, it seemed to be the right place.

The menu is inviting with a good amount of choices in salads, sandwiches and such. They also boast a breakfast menu and a good sampling of desserts to choose from. I decided to try the Turkey and Hummus sandwich. Fresh turkey with hummus, baby spinach and tomatoes, with a side of greens and chick pea kim-chee salad.  Served on a French baguette it gave an added crispy, chewy touch to the sandwich. The greens needed a bit more dressing for my taste and the chickpeas were spicy and fresh tasting. My wife ordered the Summer salad made with strawberries, grilled chicken, oranges, goat cheese and almonds which she seemed to enjoy. All in all the lunch was tasty and quite good, and the added outdoor seating makes it a nice place on a sunny day. At $10.25 and $12.95, the menu itself is a little pricey for the size of the portions served, but not not a surprise for the surrounding area. I might add that the fresh squeezed lemonade was very good.

After walking off our dinner, we returned later that evening with friends for dessert.  The coffee served is very good as were the cheesecake and lava cake, but the chocolate honey cake was very dry and disappointing because it looked good in the pastry case. Again its not a place for inexpensive dessert as it cost more than $40 with tip for three desserts and four cups.

As a side note our server whose name I believe is Jade, was exceptional and we never had to look for her when she was needed because she made it a point to check ALL her tables each time she resurfaced from the kitchen. Pleasant surprise!!!

The Regular Guy rating   * * *

 

Key Lime Cafe, Stuart Fl

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

Outdoor dining in great weather is a hard to beat allure when looking for lunch on a sunny afternoon. Key Lime Cafes outdoor seating area offers just the right mix of sun and shade, along with drink specials and a grill style menu.

After dining today at Key Lime Cafe, I decided to read other sites customer reviews before writing one of my own.

Ian’s Tropical Grill, Jensen Beach Fl

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

More often than not, I find myself in a cookie cutter   style restaurant. So many of them seem to be copied examples of Fridays, Applebees or some kind of pseudo sports bar/restaurant. As hard as it can be to find them, I try to locate restaurants that have the owners imprint on it. Style of decor, interesting  menu choices,  great spices and flavors in the dishes and just plain god given creativity.

Ian’s hits the nail on the head!

From the moment you arrive you know that you will be experiencing something different. When you walk up to the entrance, you immediately notice that this is a house turned restaurant, and its outside patio area was probably some child’s playground at one time. A backyard that once possibly housed a sand box has been replaced with a wonderful outside dining area, with lush palms and soft light. Inside, dining room booths are draped in sheer fabric which gives a sense of privacy over alternative table seating.

Our waitress immediately brought us menus, ice cold water( filtered and served in a glass carafe and placed on our table) and bread. As much as I hate having to decide on what to order because there are too many things I would like to try, I hate it even more when I can’t find anything on the menu that captures my attention. The former being the case here as Ian’s provides you with so many choices of seafood dishes that you find your self bargaining with your table mate to try to convince her to order the other dish you wanted. That being said, we ordered the baby greens salad and sesame seared edamame to start and Day Boat Scallops and Pan Seared Grouper for entrees.

When the Edamame arrived we were surprised to see the beans out of the casing. The presentation of the seared beans in a miso butter with pistachio’s lent itself more to a side dish of vegetables than an appetizer. We decided to add them to our dinner dish later rather that scoop them onto a side dish to eat as an appetizer. Although what we felt was an awkward way to eat an app they are very delicious and did add significantly to our dinner another great flavor. The salad portion although fresh and tasty wasn’t enough to satisfy and could have used more of the advertised cranberries and walnuts.

Dinner on the other hand was incredible. Flavor wise, it was second to none. The blending of spices, fruits, and textures of each dish was superbly done and masterful. Quite to my surprise, did I ever expect such creative cooking in Jensen Beach. The Day Scallops were crunchy and when combined with the Raspberry Coulis and Mashed Vanilla Sweet Potatoes, it was a flavor explosion. My dish, the Grouper was even better. Served over sauteed Spinach and a Marscapone and fresh Mozzarella Cheese Polenta, that was so creamy and delicious and topped with a Mango salsa.  As great as the Polenta was, I would have preferred less of it and more of the Grouper, as it is one of my favorite fish. All in all, the meal was outstanding and I look forward to my next trip to Florida and a second visit to Ian’s.

One last note. We were coerced into trying the Chocolate Pate with Raspberry Sauce for dessert and if you do you won’t be disappointed. This extremely dense, rich dark chocolate served with fresh Strawberries and whipped Cream, will satisfy you and put the exclamation point on your evenings meal. The coffee wasn’t bad either!

So check out Ian’s Tropical Grill when in the Jensen Beach or Stuart area.

The Regular Guy Rating * * * *

Update as of February 14th 2012

Ian’s has moved to a new location. My wife and I will be dining there this evening, for our Valentines dinner. See the contact information listed below.

Ian’s Tropical Grill
2875 SE Ocean Blvd.
Stuart, FL 34996
 

772-334-4563

Lola’s Seafood Eatery, Stuart Fl

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

( The following was contributed by a reader of this blog)

Don’t let the walk up counter and ordering from the big menu up on the wall fool you. You should know that I am a big fan of Fish Taco’s, so ordering was easy. Made with Cod fish (grilled, blackened or fried), it was delicious –I opted for the coleslaw and RED ONION rings (which are a nice twist on the same old thing) as sides with the dish. I also ordered the Chicken Quesadilla which was stuffed with beans and cheese and served with a sauce they call” Bam Bam”!  I chose the Chicken, but you could also have Shrimp. With this dish, I picked the salad and under the recommendation of our hostess Marissa, I added the Orange Basil dressing, which I wasn’t sure how that was going to taste – but my oh my it was yummmmmmmy! I am going to have to play around at home and figure out how to make that one!!

Both dishes are priced under $10 and my friend and I walked away stuffed as the portions were plentiful! Prices ranged from moderate to high but there are enough choices to fit any one’s budget.

At first glance, the decor may also fool you. The furniture was something you expect to find in your living room, chic…..with high tables and chairs. A big surprise from the outside look. Whoever was responsible for the decorating, did a great job!  Lola’s also offers outside dining under cover and shaded.

I will definitely be back!!

Lola’s Seafood Eatery

860 S Federal Hwy ( Rte 1S)

Stuart, Fl 34994

772-219-3340

Kona Beach Cafe, Jensen Beach Fl

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

When things go wrong and you serve your customer some one else’s meal, what do you do? If you work at the Kona Beach Cafe, you apologize and make a gesture to show you care about your customers.

What are the odds that two couples sitting at two separate tables would order practically the same items? Well not exactly the same but so close that our waitress could make the mistake of serving both couples the opposite orders.

Arriving at Jensen Beach after a 17 hour drive, hungry and looking for a cold beer, we decided to try Kona.  After scanning the menu and on the advice of our very pleasant waitress Chrissy, we decide to order the Pulled Pork sandwich and a Fish Taco dinner special.

Upon arrival of our meal we notice that the fish in the taco isn’t fried but grilled and the plate is missing the dinner accompaniments as outlined in the menu. When we bring this to our waitress’s attention she quickly offers me a second beer on the house and returns to get my beans and rice and side salad that was supposed to be served with my meal.

After many apologies and the explanation that we shared a similar order with the couple next to us, we all laughed. Even with the mix up, we still enjoyed our meal as it was delicious. Everything was bursting with freshness and flavor. The Pulled Pork , although tough to hold together inside the bun was very, very good. Every great Pork sandwich I have ever tasted ALWAYS finds its way out of the bun. The taco’s although grilled, which I like but prefer the fried fish for the crispness, was just as tasty. The crispy cabbage slaw  and creamy sauce was just the right thing to top off the taco’s.

Although no customer likes getting something he/she didn’t order, it is how the staff handles the problem that brings customers back. In this case, the owner of Kona should be very happy to know his staff was very professional in the way they helped to make our meal a great one. It is rare today to find good customer service, good food and fair prices in one place, so this was a pleasant surprise.

The Regular Guy rating * * * 1/2

Kona Beach Cafe

3340 NE Pineapple Ave

Jensen Beach Fl

772 934 6956

Caps, Jensen Beach Fl

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Every neighborhood has a local watering hole with good eats. Jensen Beach is no different when you find yourself at Caps.

If you’re looking for a cold beer and a well prepared, tasty and affordable meal in a relaxed and  comfortable setting, this place is where you want to be. Being within walking distance for many of its patrons, it is easy to understand why most of my neighbors visit Caps on a regular basis. You can tell right away that the owner and his clientele know each other well from the banter back and forth between them. It is always great to have a place where you can go and feel like its yours. In a sense, its like being Norm in Cheers. You get that from Paul, the co-owner, bartender, waiter and busboy all mixed into one.

Tonight we dined on pizza, which although quite simple in ingredients, can always be a difficult thing to make well. Surprisingly, the pizza was terrific. With a very crispy crust, tasty sauce and an abundance of toppings, this pie satisfied my craving quite well. Coupled with cold draft beers and friendly service, it made for an enjoyable evening out with our friends.

Items on Caps menu range from Thai Calamari to Mahi Reuben’s, and I understand that their Burgers are very good too. There are enough interesting choices on the menu to make me want to return for a second go ’round. I am definitely looking forward to trying a burger!

The Regular Guy Rating * * *1/2

Caps

10999 S Ocean Dr

Jensen Beach Fl

772-229-3287

Mecafresh, Stuart Fl

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

I can’t tell you how many times I have commented to my wife that people need an alternative to fast food that is fresh and healthy. People…my request has been answered.

Mecafresh is the perfect place to escape to for a delicious meal made fast and made fresh. I have to say that upon entering the establishment I immediately had a good feeling. A large menu placed above the register provides an easy to read and understand outline, of the limited but extremely different choices that await you.

You will not find burgers, fried chicken or $5.00 foot longs here but you will find Mahi Mahi soft taco’s, freshly made Pad Thai noodles and some very different appetizers/sides. One that we tried was a twist on Eggplant Parmesan. Fresh slices dredged  in Panko crumbs, lightly fried then plated over tomato sauce and decorated with what I believe was a Pesto drizzle. Not something I would have expected to find here.

The fish taco is one of the best I have tasted and I compare them to a place called Surf Taco back in New Jersey. Both places use the freshest ingredients and are made to order. I would say that Mecafresh’s taco’s are better because they use grilled Mahi instead of fried, and they have a great tasting slaw and dressing.  The Pad Thai noodles were better examples of such, then I have had in two other full service eateries in this same town, one of which was a Thai restaurant. The difference, which I pointed out to the cook, was that his not only presented better   but also tasted like he just cut the vegetables minutes before he cooked the dish. I can tell you that we had crisp zucchini and squash , tender chicken and very tasty fresh cilantro tossed into the spicy peanut sauce. It’s beyond me how some restaurants prepare the ingredients hours before service, so much so, that you can’t determine exactly what vegetables you are eating.

We were served by ” Louie”, who introduced himself to us as one of the owners of Mecafresh. Being it was the first time we had tried Mecafresh, Louie made it a point to give us some background on his concept and how Mecafresh came about. If this meal represents how Louie plans on serving up this fine food, then he has a great future ahead of himself with his Mecafresh restaurant.

The Regular Guy Rating * * * *

Mecafresh

4203 S.E. Federal Highway
Stuart, FL 34997
(772) 286-3770

www.mecafesh.com

Peter’s Steakhouse, Jensen Beach Fl

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

Unless you are a card carrying member of Peta, you probably enjoy eating a great steak dinner at least once in a while. Peter’s Steakhouse is a place you treat yourself to once in a while when you want to have a great steak.

Once a waiter in Peter Luger’s in N.Y., the owner has bought his talent and knowledge of great steaks to Jensen Beach. Perhaps the best steakhouse in the area, Peter’s offers terrific food and excellent service.

Everything on the menu is a la carte and the prices are perhaps a bit more than you would expect from a restaurant in this town, but after dining you aren’t so upset that you spent about $150 on dinner ( for two including tip).

We ordered the house salad ( crisp lettuce mixture, apple wood smoked bacon, shrimp and homemade dressing) , a 9 oz Fillet,  Angus NY Strip with a crab cake, a side of potatoes and two glasses of wine. Everything we ate was superb and left you wanting to eat more than your stomach could handle. The steaks of course are the reason you dine at Peter’s and also the reason you return. They are worth every penny and are an experience for your taste buds.

One last thing about Peter’s. The service staff is extremely well trained and gracious. They do not miss a thing when waiting on you and always give more than expected. For instance, the wine bottles they served from were near empty after serving numerous tables, so they returned to our table midway through our salads and refilled most of our glasses with the remaining wine that was left in the bottle. The little things that add up to great service.

The Regular Guy rating   * * * * 1/2

www.peterssteakhouse.com

3200 Northeast Maple Avenue

Jensen Beach, FL 34957-7262
(772) 225-2516

Sachi Sushi, Stuart Fl

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Restaurant.com has coupons for eateries all over the country and tonight my wife and I tried Sachi Sushi in Stuart Fl.

Upon entering the restaurant, we were impressed with the layout and design. the lighting was a little too low to be able to read the menu, but all in all the ambiance was very warm and inviting. You have a choice to sit at the sushi bar, a table or a small enclosed booth with cushions on the floor instead of chairs. The booth is enclosed in linen drapes that can be closed for privacy, a very nice touch. We opted for the table although I believe my wife wanted to sit in the cave!!

The menu in very extensive and we had a hard time trying to figure out what to order. Our waiter wasn’t very helpful with suggestions either and extremely difficult to understand.

We wound up ordering edamame, two sushi rolls, salads and an entree, Pork and Shrimp with Vietnamese sauce and rice noodles.

The edamame was very good as was the green tea. I like green tea but can’t seem to steep it just right and it winds up being bitter, so when I get a chance to have some out, I make sure to order it.

The salad was average and the dressings were odd. The peanut dressing was hot, which I think was a mistake and not an actual salad dressing. My wife’s dressing was an Asian ginger style but was pretty weak. We decided to mix them together and it wound up tasting good.

The rolls, although moderately priced, weren’t very impressive. They lacked plate appeal and were very ordinary in taste too. Nothing I would order again. Maybe we should have ordered a special style roll,, but then again no one suggested what was popular.

Our entree was weird. The noodles, pork and shrimp were in a bowl, and the Vietnamese dressing was on the side. We proceeded to mix the sauce into the dish and after tasting it we asked for some more peanut sauce and some chili pepper sauce to add some zip to the rather bland dish. The noodles were a decent portion but the pork amounted to less than a chops worth of meat and the shrimp were 21/25 count and only six or so were included with this dish.

The worst part of the meal wasn’t really the food as it was the poor service. Not that the waiter was bad, rude or inefficient but he didn’t talk to us to see if we were regulars or not. That is important because he could have made suggestions for a better meal than what we chose. The place was pretty busy for a Monday night so I would expect that some of the dishes they serve are probably very good.

All in all, we will return for a second try, as we have one more Restaurant.com certificate to use.

Regular Guy Rating  * * 1/2

Sachi Sushi

3508 SE Federal Hwy ( Rte 1 South)  Stuart Fl (in Publix shop center)