Sunday, April 4, 2010

North Beach Bistro

I think the voluntary period of silence has run out on this one so here we go. The lady was lucky enough to score a couple tickets to the most recent Bite Club event at the North Beach Bistro in Atlantic Beach. This meant an awesome sampling dinner (minus drinks) for no monetary cost to us at all. Before the announcement of this place as the venue for the Bite Club outing I'd never even heard of it so this was essentially a double score: get introduced to an amazing restaurant and get an amazing free meal.

One thing to note about the North Beach Bistro is its immense size. There's a bar area, a main dining room, and the gallery where we were seated. I think the gallery, with its art lined walls and large round tables, is typically used for gatherings and special occasions. But even ignoring this extra space, the North Beach Bistro is much bigger inside than one would expect.

north beach bistro

Much to my dismay, the draught lines were down so no beer for me. That however, was the only personal disappointment for me throughout the night. First we started with appetizers. Unfortunately we missed out on the Vegetarian Spring Rolls with Sweet and Sour Sauce, a shame because that was the only vegetarian dish among the appetizers. However, I did quite enjoy the Marinated Ahi Tuna on Wonton Chips with Ginger Aioli and even more so the Teriyaki Beef Satay with Siracha which was tender and flavorful; marinated and cooked to absolute perfection.

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Dinner started with Lobster Ravioli with Mushroom Pesto Sauce. I enjoyed the innards while donating the surrounding, meatless parts to my dear, starving companion. Just as well, I'm not a big pasta fan. I was, however, a huge fan of the salad that came next: Organic Greens, Granny Apples, Spiced Walnuts, Goat Cheese, and Cranberry Vinaigrette. If there's one thing I learned in Vietnam, it's that it's always a great idea to put fresh, grated fruit and nuts in a salad (or to just put those two things together and call it a salad).

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Next was the Shrimp with Chorizo, Rosemary, Soft Polenta and Gorgonzola Fondue. I donated most of the polenta but I liked the few tastes I managed to scrape together. Several people remarked that the Chorizo, minced and marinated as it was, gave the dish a taco-salad-esque flavor and, I'm ashamed to admit, I can see what they were talking about. Following the shrimp was my absolute favorite dish of the night: Calypso Crusted Mahi Mahi with Mango Salsa and Tamarind Drizzle. I will go back to the North Beach Bistro and this is what I will order. "Island" flavored dishes can easily go horribly wrong. You can't just throw tropical fruit on top of a pork chop and expect it to work. The component tastes of this dish were exquisitely balanced and resulted in a divine overall flavor.

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Although I could have happily stopped after the Mahi Mahi and savored the lingering flavor for the rest of the night, there was one more main course to try: Applewood Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Wilted Spinach and Apricot Bordelaise. Its mild yet rich flavor made it a nice dish to close out the main course. But that wasn't the end of it. The night was rounded out with the general crowd favorite: Tony's Hazelnut Crunch Bar and Vanilla Anglaise. Pretty good stuff, but I again was compelled to donate it to my starving companion.

We had a great time and would like to thank Ashlee, The Folio, and The North Beach Bistro for the tremendous meal. I'm looking forward to my next encounter with the Calypso Crusted Mahi Mahi and also hope to end up at one of the future Bite Club events.

North Beach Bistro on Urbanspoon

North Beach Bistro
725 Atlantic Blvd
Atlantic Beach, FL 32233
(904) 372-4105


Ashlee Wetherington said...

So glad you enjoyed it! Your photos look lovely. Hope you can make it to many more events!

Tommie_NY said...

I'm so glad I have found your blog. Move to Jacksonville from NYC and terribly miss my city food varieties. Your blog has showed me that JAX has more to offer than I can imagine. Thanks

01001111 said...

@Ashlee: Thanks again for the great time. I'd be more than delighted to attend all the future events I can manage to get into, the hard part is scoring those tickets.

@Tommie: I'm glad we could be of some service. Our main goal behind creating this blog was to convince ourselves, and hopefully some other people as a side effect, that Jacksonville has a lot more to offer than most residents give it credit for (perhaps just because they don't know). It's great to hear that we're aiding in your transition.

Frederick Wright said...

Excellent review and photos - I've been burned so many times by the "heat and eat" mentality which pervades Beaches restaurants that I hadn't yet tried this place. You've definitely convinced me to give it a try.

01001111 said...

@Frederick: Many thanks and I'm glad I could reciprocate. Your reviews and recommendations on Urbanspoon have convinced me to try a good number of places.