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Restaurant review: Taste lives up to name with amazing menu items

By Amanda Farinos, Stuart News 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I took the scenic route to dinner in Hobe Sound last Friday. It's always interesting to see what pops up at the end of a county road, after driving through unpopulated areas.

In this case, I already knew what we would find on the corner of Bridge Road and A1A: a fun neighborhood hangout with a wine bar and good food. The restaurant, Taste, lives up to its name.

We chose to sit in the lively bar area, where only a couple of high tops remained open, compared to the dining room which was charming, but empty. The regulars teased us about wanting to join their party, but our server quickly stepped in to invite us to Taste's craft fair and "halfway to St. Patty's Day" celebration (which took place that same weekend), making us feel welcome.

To start out, we ordered the house bruschetta ($5.95), made with soft garlic bread.

Next, the portobello stack with asparagus spears and gorgonzola ($8.95) was an absolute hit. The mushroom was grilled, bringing out its deep flavor and combined with a thick slice of tomato, it had me swooning. I'll rank it as the best tasting mushroom dish I have tried in a while.

For the main course, I had my eye on lobster salad over mixed greens, a light supper, but the chef's special of the evening sounded too good to ignore. Red snapper ($23.95) topped with a generous amount of lump crab meat was outstanding. What made the dish was a pesto gravy poured over the crab. Its creamy consistency and brown color were surprising for pesto, but the garlic and basil flavor was unmistakable.

My guest chose the yellowtail snapper ($19.95). It was coated in coconut tempura batter and fried, then served with mango salsa and mashed potatoes.

I left, pleased that we had ordered some great items off of Taste's menu and enjoyed the restaurant at its best — sitting among the locals.

Amanda Farinos dines anonymously at the expense of Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers. Contact her at SouthFLFoodie@gmail.com.

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Relaxing atmosphere, great food

May 18, 2012   Hometown News  dkrebs@hometownnewsol.com 

MARTIN COUNTY - Taste Casual Dining, a small restaurant in Hobe Sound that has been a community favorite for years, was my dining destination this week, and the many small details that Craig Kingston and his wife, Karen, put into both the dining rooms and the food added up to a wonderful dining experience.

"We opened this restaurant in 2006," Mr. Kingston said. "The community has been great to us. But we still constantly ask everyone what we can do better."

The atmosphere and character of the place embraced my companion and I the moment we walked through the door. We quickly relaxed and forgot the world outside as we were led to our table and looked over the menu. As the sun set, soft lights came on, adding to the comfortable atmosphere.

A mix of customers, from families to couples, was spread throughout the inside and outside dining rooms. The walls are painted a warm salmon color, and as another personal touch, paintings by local artists were on display and for sale on the walls.

There is even a mural decorating the hallway leading to the restrooms, adding to the many personal touches the Kingstons give to their restaurant.

The menu was just as eclectic, offering a wide selection of seafood, pork, chicken and fish.

"We use a lot of local fish," he said. "We also offer at least four specials every night."

The restaurant is unveiling a new menu, complete with specials, that will focus on particular types of food. For example, Tuesday's specials will offer a New Orleans flair, while Sunday will feature Italian dishes.

But Mr. Kingston and his chef, Michael Stancheck, have not left comfort food off the menu that makes their restaurant a destination for many.

Wednesdays will feature all-you-can-eat fish and chips. Thursday features a customer favorite: pot pies made from scratch.

The majority of the food is made from scratch at the restaurant. Marinara sauce is created side-by-side with meatloaf. Even the desserts are created by a baker.

For my dinner, I ordered grilled blackened grouper and my dining companion ordered pan-sauteed shrimp and lobster.

As we waited, we both received the house salads with creamy balsamic vinaigrette dressing on the side. The thick dressing complimented the vegetables nicely, and the added touches of shredded carrots and alfalfa sprouts on the salad gave it a nice punch of color. We also enjoyed the rolls that came to the table warmed.

But as much as I enjoyed the salad, the dinners exceeded all my expectations.

My grilled blackened grouper arrived nestled on a bed of wilted spinach that had been sautéed with chunks of garlic. Lightly touched with a lemon beurre blanc sauce, the perfectly cooked fish was surrounded with a delicious border of blackened scallops. A serving of rice pilaf finished the plate nicely.

There was the perfect amount of heat to the scallops, and the lemon flavor added a cooling side bite with a little extra zing. The flavor of the fish was heightened when taken with a bite of the garlic spinach. The depth of flavors that were used in that combination was delicious.

My companion's dinner looked almost too good to eat. The shrimp and lobster were pan sautéed with white wine and lemon butter, and a roasted shallot and citrus basil aioli complemented the plate, alongside a serving of creamy mashed potatoes. The entire dinner was lightly dressed with a balsamic reduction and roasted asparagus rested lightly on top.

The butterflied shrimp were cooked perfectly, and an addition of lobster claw meat was a nice, tasty surprise. The sauce and reduction brought a light sweetness to the dish, which balanced with the starch of the potato and meatiness of the lobster.

The final touch of asparagus added a wonderful texture, and the char on the vegetable brought out another layer of sweetness.

But our dinner wasn't done yet, as a piece of freshly baked Florida orange cake made its way to our table. The yellow cake had corresponding layers of orange-cream filling and just a hint of marmalade. It came covered with a delicate buttercream frosting.

The moist cake clung to my fork with every bite, and the light texture and citrusy sweetness ended the evening on a sweet note, despite a brief struggle for the last bite with my dining companion.

With a can't-be-beat combination of casual dining in a relaxing atmosphere with delicious food, Taste is the place to experience.

Taste Casual Dining is located at 11750 S.E. Dixie Highway in historic downtown Hobe Sound. It is open from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. seven days a week until Mother's Day, when it will close on Sundays. Catering on and off-site is available. For more information, call (772) 546-1129 or go online to www.tastehobesound.com.

Every occasion is a reason for a party at Taste!

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Available for holiday and private parties, and we cater, too!

Taste is the place for great music and entertainment !

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 . . . and dancing the night away!

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We will make YOUR day special! 

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