Victoria Jean Richmond graduated with honors from Eastview High School on June 5th, 2010. On July 9th, she went on a trip to St Maarten/St Martin for said graduation. Her parents got to go with! One on one time with your parents,when you have 3 siblings is a rare thing. Now, she was forced to spent 8 days of quality time with good old Mom and Dad. We bonded over beach time, pool time and great restaurants.
St Maarten/St Martin is a small island that is governed by two countries in the Caribbean. We stayed in St Maarten, aka the Dutch side. St Martin is the French side. I, as always, did my research and picked a few of the many amazing restaurants on this duel nationality island. We obviously wanted to experience the amazing French restaurants in St Martin, and we did, but more often, we stayed with choices on the Dutch side. For Saturday night, I picked Temptation.
Chef/owner Dino Jagtiani is the first St Maarten born son to graduate from the Culinary Institute of America. Opened in 2002, Temptation quickly became known for what Chef Dino coined as nouveau Caribbean. Since that time, he has been awarded many awards and accolades.
We were greeted by Chef Dino’s father, who immediately fell in love with Victoria. He kept telling her how beautiful she was. The hostess is Chef Dino’s mother, Asha. She was also very delightful, and also thought that Victoria was beautiful. The restaurant was very quaint, with white table cloths and low candle light. Ricardo was at the baby grand, and played for us all night long.
Victoria, being almost 18, was allowed to have Champagne on the island. She is her mother’s daughter, and enjoyed it. We both ordered the Caramelized Georgia Vidalia Onion Soup as our palate teaser. This soup, spiked with Heineken, Hennessy, honey and thyme, than baked in the oven with gouda and gruyere cheeses was simply the best French Onion Soup I have ever had. The flavors where perfect. When I told Dad how much I loved it, he made sure that I received a copy of the recipe! You should be very jealous, because I am not sharing.
Tom, who has been known to enjoy Foie Gras had the Seared Foie Gras PB&J. Yes, a peanut butter and jelly Foie Gras. The Foie Gras was seared and served with red wine poached pears, and melted peanut better in a puff pastry basket. This sounded questionable to Tom at first, but the sweetness of the jelly and the light peanut better taste, played well with the fattiness of the Foie Gras. He really enjoyed it.
For the main course, Victoria, who has always been an adventurous eater, dove into her Red Wine Braised Veal Osso Bucco. This was served with shiitake mushrooms and pine nut risotto, and polenta croutons. She loved it.
Tom went with the Rack of Lamb with Truffled mashed potato, sauteed spinach, and a peppercorn demi-glace. The lamb was done superbly.
I had the 4 hour braised certified Angus Beef Short Ribs with a red wine- caramelized shallot glaze, au gratin potatoes, and asparagus. The ribs were very tender and the glaze was delicious. The potatoes were on the al dente side, but I forgive them. It was very tasty.
During our dinner, we had told Asha that Victoria was with us for her graduation trip, and that she was off to college in the fall to study vocal music. She brought her a caramel ice cream dessert with a sparkler in it, and asked her to sing with Ricardo. Victoria graced us all with her rendition of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”. She had Asha in tears.
Our dinner was so good, we knew that we had to return and dine next door at Chef Dino’s newest restaurant, Rare. We did.
PS, Here is the video of Victoria singing. Her proud Dad took it on his cell phone, so it is a little dark, but well worth a listen. Cheers!