Following a renovation of more than $1 million, the Grove Isle Hotel and Spa, a Coconut Grove island oasis, is set to become a coveted destination for waterfront dining, with new contemporary décor, enhanced views of Biscayne Bay and the Miami skyline, the appointment of a talented new chef and the unveiling of Gibraltar, the property’s breathtaking new signature restaurant. The elegant indoor/outdoor restaurant, featuring the inspired contemporary sea-food oriented cuisine of new rising star chef Jeff O’Neill, is expected to bring critical acclaim back to the beautiful landmark property that was formerly anchored by Baleen.
Most recently executive chef at Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach and Donald Trump’s family chef, O’Neill is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. Over the course of his career, he’s worked for a who’s who of top toques including Charlie Palmer at Aureole, Daniel Boulud at Restaurant Daniel and Eric Ripert at Le Bernardin. He moved to Florida in 1998 to open L’Escalier at The Breakers in Palm Beach, where he was Chef de Cuisine for the exclusive French restaurant within the oceanfront resort.
The Gibraltar menu, featuring Chef O’Neill’s contemporary American cuisine with innovative sauces and delicately layered flavors, is slated to debut December 16, 2009, just in time for festive holiday dining and high season. The beautiful Biscayne Bay backdrop provides the perfect setting for O’Neill’s exquisite seafood-forward menu, which will showcase the remarkable cooking techniques he’s honed over years.
At Gibraltar, O’Neill elevates the classic seafood-oriented menu with his signature style and technique, using the finest locally caught sustainable fish, succulent seafood, organic poultry, prime meats, and imported Italian pastas. The menu begins with sumptuous starters ($8-$22), composed of soups, salads, crudos and small plates. Six seafood starters are offered, including iced regional oysters napped with a spiced mignonette studded with crunchy pineapple, mussels steamed in a fragrant coconut-coriander broth with mint, tomato and lobster oil and a flash marinated local snapper crudo with minted mango, pink radish and crisp cassava chips. A starter of roasted pumpkin tortellini, served with a simple sauce of spiced pistachios, maple and sage, is sure to become a Gibraltar signature.
Mains ($23-$39), including four beautiful fish entrees, let the ingredients sing. O’Neill’s signature style can be seen in his preparation of the spice roasted yellowtail snapper, served with buttery roasted cabbage and chunks of Florida rock lobster in a Jerez sherry and mushroom scented broth and his Florida striped bass, with black olive farro, with preserved lemon and a sundried tomato vinaigrette. Meat lovers can dig into an 8 or 14 ounce prime steak and there’s a juicy and crispy skinned roasted organic chicken au jus, with spinach, bacon, mushrooms, potatoes and onions – a chef’s classic that’s a real palate pleaser. House specialties include a superb pan roasted guinea hen with braised greens, guanciale and a savory golden raisin pan sauce and a hot smoked salmon loin in a mustard seed crust served with irresistible sweet corn beignets. Sides ($6-$8) range from classics such as whipped potatoes with buttermilk to mushrooms roasted with shallots and herbs.
Desserts ($8-$9), showcasing updated American classics, are the perfect ending to a meal at Gibraltar. These include O’Neill’s refreshing key lime pie, with a salted graham crust and fresh vanilla whipped cream, featured on Oprah in 2008; a decadent warm chocolate fudge brownie with a cooling coconut milk sorbet spiced with tarragon; and a home-style apple streusel with cinnamon cider sauce.
Diners coming for dinner or for a special event at Gibraltar will experience O’Neill’s cuisine in a sparkling glass-enclosed main dining room, featuring eco-friendly accoutrements, including a natural cork ceiling, warm dark woods, gray leather seats and crisp white linen napery. An elegant private room for 12 within the (60-seat) dining room features a moveable wall that allows views of the sparkling bay or privacy as desired. An adjacent outdoor patio will give diners sweeping views of the sparkling bay and the dramatic city skyline.
A party-planners dream location, O’Neill will also work his magic on innovative banquet menus, which will be of the same high caliber as the restaurant’s cuisine. The new food & beverage spaces also encompass a private members-only dining room with a menu of ingredient-based, refined American fare as well as a chic bar and lounge, offering gourmet bar-bites, crudo specials and a number of small plates that pair perfectly with any number of the restaurant’s signature cocktails and an impressive international wine list.
Designers have capitalized on creating a comfortable contemporary setting offering one-of-a-kind stunning views of Miami’s Biscayne Bay from the lush island property and management is focused on offering the very best in service.
The Grand Heritage Hotel Group, new owners of the resort, pride themselves on offering guests and visitors the ultimate in luxury and comfort combined. In the restaurants on its roster of award-winning national and international properties, top food and beverage experts are chosen to lead their dining facilities, bringing signature regional cuisine to their diners.
The Grove Isle Resort features 50 hotel rooms on 7-1/2 acres of waterfront island property in Miami’s historical Coconut Grove area. Grove Isle encompasses the hotel, plus three separate buildings of 500 privately-owned condominiums. Full spa facilities are on-site, along with 12 tennis courts, banquet facilities, and a members-only dining room.
Gibraltar is located at Grove Isle Hotel & Spa, Four Grove Isle Drive in Coconut Grove, Florida. It opens to the public on December 16, 2009. Open seven days a week, Gibraltar serves breakfast daily, from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Lunch is served Monday through Saturday, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., dinner Sunday through Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 6:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Sunday brunch is offered from 11:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The bar opens Sunday through Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5:00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Reservations are strongly suggested at (305) 857-5007. www.groveisle.com.