Before we even stepped into the restaurant, we were greeted with a nice happy hour which included tuna tartare, lobster soup and a 60 day aged beef satay. The beef satay was AMAZING! Not sure of the marinade, but being a meat lover there was a nice saltiness to it that wasn’t over powering. One of the farms was there to talk about their hydroponics farm techniques. The farm Fresh Start is located in St. Augustine and they are strong supporters of purchasing local produce.
Prior to the first of four courses we were given a nice tasting of crab salad. Everyone else had theirs in what appeared to be a philo dough cup however, because I was dining gluten-free they served it in a nice asian spoon. The crab dip was not too mayonaisey (is that a word? haha) with just a hint of lemon grass. Next up was the pork belly, red pea, andouille and greens. Delicious. As a girl from the south, I love my greens, but this was different, rather than the greens being the centerpiece of the dish, the pork belly was the center piece. All of the flavors blended really nicely together.
Next up was the second course titled: “Leaves.” This included arugula, beet, truffled goat cheese with shallot vinaigrette. While they sound odd listed separately, the flavors really complimented each other. The
truffled goat cheese had a very strong flavor which worked well with the mildly flavored arugula and beets. The arugula was crispy the dressing was just enough. Both the first and second courses were paired with a lovely Rose, RKS Grande Cassagne Rose. Typically when I expect to drink a Rose I expect it to be sweet, but this was nicely robust without the sweetness. It went well with the small plate and leaves.
Course three titled “Sea” was Mayport shrimp, grit cake, greens and tasso gravy.
Their staff was very knowledgeable about how the grits were made and were able to inform me they are made on equipment that also processes wheat products so they removed that from my dish in addition to the gravy. While the dish was delishious with just shrimp and lettuce, I think the grits would have complimented the seasoning a little better. The wine pairing was nice though, the shrimp went very well with the Long Meadow Ranch Sauvignon Blanc it was paired with.
Course four was called: “Land” and included house dry-aged, prime, natural strip loin, gnocchi and brussel sprouts. The gnocchi contained gluten, so I enjoyed just the natural strip loin and brussel sprouts. I loved the simplicity of the brussel sprouts they were small and halved and perfectly bite sized. The steak was tender and went so perfectly with the brussel sprouts.
The final course known as “sweet” was an assortment of 2 desserts , pot de creme and truffle. The pot de creme tasted like creme brule without the crunchy top and much, much thicker. Along with
that they included 2 white chocolate truffle balls with a hard white chocolate covering. This was paired with a Graham’s Tawny Port that complimented the white chocolate perfectly.
Overall, what a great dining experience. As a girl raised in the south I loved the twist on southern dining and the reliance on fresh vegetables. This is definitely a place I hope to visit again. In addition to great food, the staff was courteous and the people I met while dining were genuine. Thank you Augustine Grille for great ambiance, food and experience.