Anna’s Foodie Reviews

September 25, 2010

A “Rare” Treat

Filed under: 5 Stars! — by annarichmond @ 5:42 pm
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On our final night on the beautiful island of St Martin/St Maarten, we returned to the kitchens of Chef Dino Jagtiani. Once again, we were greeted by his father, as we entered Rare. Rare is next door to the amazing Temptation, and we were very excited to be trying out this sister restaurant. As I wrote before, we loved Temptation, but Rare won out. This is one of the finest meals we have ever had.

Our final night

As a tropical thunder storm roared outside, we sat in a cozy banquette, enjoying a bottle of my favorite, Moet Imperial Champagne. We started, of course with appetizers. It was so hard to choice from the many sushi rolls, sashimi, and tapas, but I think we picked three of the best.

Victoria went straight to the Ahi. She had the ahi tuna sashimi with the black truffle oil, sea salt, lemon-lime, cucumbers, avocado, and plantain chips. I know that it sounds like a lot of flavors, but they all worked so well together. It was light and refreshing.

Ahi Tuna

Tom had two small curried lamb tacos. Victoria and I knew that he loves us, because he gave up one of these amazing tasty morsels for us to share. The lamb was done to perfection in a sweet curry and served with guacamole, black bean and corn salsa, coconut rice, and sour cream. I was wishing that they had a dinner portion of this. I would have ordered them.

Curried Lamb Tacos

For my tapas choice, I also went with ahi. I had the Asian “chips n salsa”. The ahi was chopped and in a spicy tuna-scallion-citrus salsa, served with wonton chips. I think I won. It was the perfect combination of the heat from the spices and the sweet from the citrus. Yummy!!

Asian “Chips and Salsa”

For the main course, Victoria went with one of Chef Dino’s specialties, home-made spinach -ricotta ravioli with a tomato basil sauce and Parmigano Reggiano. After a week of seafood, Victoria was so excited to have pasta. This was wonderfully prepared, with light, fresh flavors. She cleaned her plate in record time.

Victoria’s Ravioli

Tom and I both went with the Filet Mignon. I don’t usually go with a steak when we dine out, but I am so glad I made the choice this time. The filet was just as advertised: melt in your mouth. It was done to the definition of medium rare. So perfect. I had a chimi-churri sauce on the side, while Tom went with the peppercorn demi sauce. Tom paired his filet with the Cuban black beans ‘n’ rice. I, on the other hand ordered the truffle mash potatoes. Heaven!! I could have swam in a tub full of these potatoes. These potatoes where my favorite thing that I ate on our whole trip. We paired this melt in your mouth meal with an amazing bottle of Silver Oak.

Our Filets, mine with truffle potatoes, Tom’s with black beans and rice

Silver Oak, always a favorite!

Dessert was fun and quirky. Victoria had a deconstructed tiramisu with chocolate pop rocks. Being that I grew up in the age of pop rocks, I thought this was very clever. Victoria thought it was delicious. Tom had a chocolate creme brulee with an after dinner Hennessy VSOP

Victoria

Tom

The three of us agreed it was one of the finest meals we had ever had. We went next door, back to Temptation, where we got to meet Chef Dino and express our enjoyment in his fine food. He and his family and staff were so wonderful. If you get the chance to visit this beautiful island, go and meet Chef Dino and his family, eat at his amazing restaurants and tell him we said hi!

Myself, Chef Dino, Victoria, and Dad

Temptation

Filed under: 5 Stars!,General Chatter — by annarichmond @ 4:24 pm
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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.

Victoria on the beach

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.

Caramelized Georgia Vidalia Onion Soup

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.

Seared Foie Gras PB&J

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.

Red Wine Braised Veal Osso Bucco

Tom went with the Rack of Lamb with Truffled mashed potato, sauteed spinach, and a peppercorn demi-glace. The lamb was done superbly.

Rack Of Lamb

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.

4 Hour Braised Angus Beef Shortrib

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.

Happy Graduation!

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!

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