Since we moved to Saint Augustine, I had been getting mixed reviews about The Reef, some people really like it, some people really don’t and others were kind of indifferent to it. So, as usual, I decided to check it out for myself.
You can’t argue that the restaurant has a magnificent view. Like the menu boldly states: “Every Table Has a Fine View”. There are huge windows everywhere, and you can see the waves crashing into shore. This is what really attracted us to The Reef to begin with. It is always nice to have a great view while eating – and we figured even if the food wasn’t much, we could enjoy looking at the ocean. But much to our pleasant surprise, The Reef had more to offer than just a great view.
Now I am not going to say that The Reef is the best restaurant that I have ever been to, but there were some very nice things about it, for example their wine selection. Each month they feature wines from a certain country and in May it was Argentina. One of my favorite wine countries. When I first started drinking wine and caring about it, I was a big fan of Merlot. I loved the rich and warm flavors. I liked the tannins. When I started discovering more wines, I favored Shiraz and Syrah – the dessert wines, full of spice and fruit. I still really love a good Shiraz, but once I discovered the Malbecs of Argentina, I knew I had found my wine of choice. There is a sophistication to a Malbec, but at the same time, it is very drinkable and heady. So, much to my pleasure, I was able to enjoy a nice Malbec at The Reef, which is rare in most restaurants.
As many of you know, I am a big tapas, meze or small plate eater. I find that often chefs get most creative and bold with their appetizers because they don’t have to appeal to such a wide audience as they do with entrees. Plus they have to pack a wallop of flavor into a small plate. Therefore, more times than not I will order an appetizer for dinner when we go out. I decided to order the Mussels, served in a white wine sauce with saffron and cream. I also ordered a small salad to go with it. The ginger dressing that came with the salad, really was outstanding. The mussels were a nice portion, served with cheese toasts to sop up the juices. The initial tastes were very pleasing, it tasted vaguely of the sea, and I was enjoying the sauce and plump mussels. However, after a few bites, I noticed that there was just quite a bit of salt in the dish, which just became too overwhelming that after a while salt was all I tasted. What a pity.
For as much of a small plates girl I am, Roberto is equally a pasta man. Like any self respecting Italian. He also has really been enjoying scallops. So when he saw a dish called Scallops Carbonara, he couldn’t resist. His dish was actually quite good. The sauce was really nice and not too heavy and overdone, but the scallops were the true prize. There is something about Southern Scallops that are so much sweeter and delicious than their Northern cousins. These were no exception. They were tender, juicy, sweet and filling. He was very happy with his dinner and I loved the scallop that he shared with me.
The other thing I must compliment was the service. Our waitress, Brittany was very nice and gave us as much attention as we needed without being overbearing. She was very professional and knew her menu.
We opted out of dessert (I bet the Key Lime Pie is good…) and decided to go for a nice walk along the beach. It was a beautiful night, warm and balmy, and still light outside. The moon was out and there was no one else on the beach near us. It was a perfect end to our romantic evening.
I am not sure if I would go back to The Reef, just to go. Maybe for taking visitors from out of town, the view is great and the food is decent and there is something on the menu that would appeal to anyone. Just be sure to taste before you salt!