Blue Star- Vero Beach- 1.0 Star
"The guy comes up to the plate, there's always a chance where he can get a grand slam and everybody forgets about all the times he missed." -- B. McKnight
As another stop in Vero Beach appeared on my arbitrary eatery generator, I have to admit that it was with robust anticipation that I pointed the BBDO mobile south and stepped on the gas. As I have yet to experience a real dining disappointment in Vero Beach, I was beginning to think of it as the new hot spot for rock-n-roll celebrity chefs to ply their trade. As it turns out, I wasn't that far off the mark in this assumption as the owner/executive chef of Blue Star Brasserie, Chef Kitty Wagner, has had extensive training both here and abroad and owns 4 dining establishments within the area all winning awards of one type or another over the years. The Blue Star Brasserie opened in 2015 and appears to be the final piece to Chef Kitty's puzzle as she hasn't opened another place...yet.
The place is very nice with real wood floors and a live piano player tinkling skillfully away on the ivories. Soon after being graciously seated, Michelle, our server for the evening approached our table and in an obvious Southern accent introduced herself and stated she was from New York City. I laughed so hard at this I was sure everyone in the restaurant heard me, including those in the back. She just got better from there. She knew the menu "over, under, sideways [and] down" (free BBDO points if you get the reference there) and was extremely candid on her take of the specials. While she assured me they were all delicious and well prepared, she did inform me that they never change. Hey, when ya do something right, stick with it. With that in mind, I placed an order for three specials, these being the Crispy Sauteed Veal Sweetbreads, the Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras and foregoing the Char-grilled 14 oz. mouthwatering Angus Rib eye on the menu to keep my Cardiologist happy, and an order of Seared Jumbo Diver Scallops.
Relaxing in the chill vibe drifting in on the music from the aforementioned master of the keys playing yonder I hardly noticed any passage of time before I saw Michelle bringing forth our order from the kitchen. My eyes and nose were immediately assaulted with beauty and piquant aromas signaling to my palate that work would soon commence. I greedily dug into the order of Crispy Sauteed Veal Sweetbreads and analyzed my first taste of Chef Kitty's fare. They were indeed sauteed to a crispy outside while retaining their tender inside and the mustard, brandy, apple cream sauce was not only done properly but was delicious beyond compare. Walk off Home Run!
Next to see the inside of my gullet was the order of the Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras. While the flavors of the blue and blackberry chutney were creative and extraordinary, the foie gras itself was found to be overcooked and thus the whole dish was thrown off. The petit arugula salad was fresh, tasty and executed correctly. Fly ball to deep center. 1 Out.
After the let down that was the foie gras, I turned my implements of gastronomical destruction toward the final dish up to the plate (pun intended), the Seared Jumbo Diver Scallops. I understand the love for the big scallops. They seem to cost less than the bay scallops and due to their size may be more amenable to a variety of recipes, but I find nothing compares to the tenderness and sweet taste of those tiny bay scallops. Be that as it may, I took a bite of the entree and moved it around my palate discerning the taste. I found the accompanying risotto to be overcooked along with the scallops themselves. Again, the flavor combination of the fresh basil pesto was outstanding as well as the shiitake and tomato flavors of the risotto, it was just that they were not executed properly. Infield fly ball. You're out!
This was my first real dining disappointment in Vero Beach. Given the accolades, awards and success of Chef Kitty, I can only chalk it up to a bad day. Whoever was on the saute pan was either distracted or otherwise in a fog and their timing seemed to be adversely affected as a result. I vow to return, if asked, to allow the kitchen staff a chance at redemption.
In the meantime, the Big Boy says, "For a cool piano vibe, first-class comedy and awesome Sweetbreads along with some uniquely flavored sauces, come to the Blue Star Brasserie and ask for Michelle's section."