|The Osceola Cafe was little more than okay!|
|My last time in Stuart on my very last day
We chose somewhere special: The Osceola Street Café
The reviews that we checked all said it was good,
Possibly the best in the entire neighbourhood!
Alas, for me it wasn’t much more than Okay….
I must admit that I have been more than a little tardy in getting this particular restaurant review posted. It was late February when we actually visited the establishment. Luckily I took a few notes and that combined with the photographs I took is enough to completely refresh my memory. We had left frequenting the Osceola Street Cafe in downtown Stuart until the very last evening of my trip to Florida’s Treasure Coast.
Where we went: We had not gone earlier because my friend Mike had suffered a slight stomach ailment on the days previous and wanted to enjoy one of the most highly rated dining spots in the area. I must confess that walking down the street in short sleeves in mid-February is in and of itself a pleasant experience for a Canuck like myself. I don’t suspect that there were many Ottawans sitting on the sidewalk eating their meal on this same evening. From the exterior, as you can see in the shot above, the Osceola Cafe seems quite cozy. It was a bit of a surprise, then, when we ventured inside to find a large bustling open area, bustling with activity and a high noise level. Because the ceiling is very high and there are no dividing walls, it really seems a little more like a cafeteria than a cafe.
What we ordered: Because the place was so busy, even though it was a mid-week evening, it took a while for our server to make her way to the table and she seemed a little frazzled. I could not really fault her service in any particular way except to say that it was more reminiscent of a fast-food or family-style restaurant than a high-end one. I ordered a glass of Riesling, and Mike stuck to water since his stomach was still not quite yet back to its normal state. As a starter, Mike ordered a lettuce wedge, an item that is apparently quite popular in restaurants South of the Border (Canada/US that is). I can’t really say that it appealed to me, although I like lettuce right enough. It just seemed like it was thrown together haphazardly and drenched with artery-clogging dressing!
I was quite happy to sit and sip on my wine and snack on the fresh bread dunked in herbed olive oil. As it turned out, I would be grateful for that little something to snack on, since it was a substantial wait before our mains would be delivered to the table. Fortunately, Mike and I can always find something to talk about and I was not ravenously hungry or I might have been even more disappointed.
What we got: You can see from the picture on the left that the food is very well presented. This is one area where a higher-end restaurant makes its mark. Appearance and colour are important part of the overall experience, a fact that is often lost on the chain operations. According to Mike, his flank steak was to his liking. Personally, I had opted for the duck, a perennial favourite of mine and a dish that tends to separate the chefs from the cooks. I have to say that in this area, Osceola Street Cafe did excel. The duck was superbly cooked (medium rare is my choice) and the accompanying glaze was a perfect complement.
Worthy of note: I had saved some room for dessert, hoping that there would be something extra special on the menu. The only thing that really tickled my fancy was the creme brulee another regular choice for me. Again, the visual presentation is very good as you can see but the taste was only average. It did purport to have a special flavour, Irish Cream or something similar but it was not anything that really shone through.
- Positives: Food presentation was good and taste was above average though not outstanding.
- Negatives: Very noisy, which can really detract from one’s enjoyment of a special meal. Service was not of the calibre that one would expect from this class of restaurant.
- Recommendation: Perhaps we chose the wrong evening. It was definitely not an unpleasant experience but neither was it top notch as various reviews had led us to expect. I would definitely like to give Osceola Street Cafe another opportunity to redeem itself.
|Food Quality||****||Above average|
|Overall Rating||***||Room for improvement|
|Frivolous Foodie Facts|
|Osceola was born in Creek Country in Georgia about 1803, his father was a British trader and his mother the daughter of Creek chief. He was said to have had a European appearance because his grandfather was Scottish. He was sometimes called Powell, which was his white step-father’s name. His mother took him to northern Florida when he was very young and he grew up to become a leader of the Seminoles. He took the name Osceola from a black drink containing caffeine used in tribal ceremonies.|