The Tides stands the test of time

Written by Diana Foote 4/28/2011

Appearing in the Vero Beach Press Journal

Most restaurants show their age over time. Creaky service. Tired food. Even the great ones often lose the "aha" moments, when new combi- nations of taste and texture cause smiles. But we're still grinning after our recent meal at The Tides.

More than a decade old, this homey yet refined restaurant still rocks our culinary scene. Thanks to the kitchen magic of chef Leanne Kelleher, a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America (known in foodie circles as the Harvard of cooking schools) the cuisine has not faltered. Nor has the elegantly lit, old-fashioned dining room, carved out of the ground floor of an authentic house.

One of my companions ordered the ever-popular oysters ($14). Slimy mollusks often leave me cold, but here these barely cooked, sweet, succulent, cornmeal encrusted gems made me a convert. Served over bright green wilted spinach and dipped in a Tasso (smoked pork) rémoulade, we couldn't resist stealing from our friend's plate. A sweet blueberry salad special ($12) was tangy with blue cheese and crunchy with candied ca- shews: a flawless foil to in- credibly fresh baby greens. Grouper ($30) came in a scalloped potato crust, crowned by crab meat and served with a novel cauliflower fritter, among other perfectly cooked, perfectly paired vegetables. Duck with a raspberry sauce ($34) was more straight forward, as were the pork cutlets ($28).

Accompaniments, including caramelized shallots and fruit chutney, turned one-note proteins into taste symphonies. Desserts were marvelous too, despite my prejudice against a roving dessert tray where most sweets look a little weary after traversing a restaurant. Order them anyway. Fresh from the kitchen, they are delicious, especially the crème brûlée trio ($10) - mocha, vanilla, orange-liqueur chocolate. The rich palette of flavors is comfortably familiar, yet decadent, too. You'll smile. I promise. The Tides surpasses its stellar reputation.

Diana Foote dines anonymously at the expense of Scripps Treasure Coast Newspaper. Contact her at foodgal@comcast.net. The Tides stands the test of time.

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