Food speaks for itself at The Tides

Written by Diana Foote 12/20/2007

Appearing in the Vero Beach Press Journal

The Tides offers such great food and service that you might forget the enormous amount of energy and creativity it takes to keep a high caliber restaurant at the top of its game for seven years.

The owners seem to like it that way. They are not out to impress with formality or exoticism or their many awards. Their motto seems to be "Let the food speak for itself." It doesn't just speak, it sings, hitting every high note.

Take, for example, the Asian-inspired steak tartare appetizer ($12), a large portion of minced filet mignon tossed with a modest amount of sesame seeds, shallots and chopped peanuts and lightly dressed with a ginger satay sauce. Despite the additions, it does not lose its integrity as steak tartare. It is a delicious variation on a standard theme.

The restaurant was hopping inside and out on the torch-lit patio on a recent Saturday night, but because the tables are so well spaced and the waitstaff so accommodating, you never feel hurried.

The oysters 222 ($14) six bivalves served three different ways left the three of us touting different favorites. I loved best the inventive crab-and-shrimp-crusted version, with roasted red peppers, garlic, horseradish and brought together with a bracing key lime butter.

Concern for the patron is paramount here. As soon as we were seated, warm homemade breads and tiny muffins appeared. Then the waitress surreptitiously offered black cloth napkins to those of us who were wearing black -- to prevent lint from the white linen ones on the table! It was a welcome, unheard of gesture that endeared us even more to this beachside Vero Beach establishment.

Among all the winning entrees, my pan-seared mahi provencal ($27) was stellar. A mild clam broth helped infuse the delicate fish with the tastes of Provence -- olives and tomatoes, garlic and white wine. Other standouts included two specials, a mixed grill featuring veal medallion, filet mignon bearnaise and lamb chop au jus ($38), and the pear and port glazed duck ($30).

We ate and drank and skipped dessert for about $50 a person.

Diana Foote dines anonymously at the expense of Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers. Contact her at

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