Mustard caviar. Compressed cucumber. Celeriac mousse. Carbonated grapes. Dill pearls. Roquefort ice cream. These are just a few of the creative and eclectic ingredients on the sassy new menu just released by chef Jeff O'Neill at The Villa By Barton G.
O'Neill, who readers will remember from his eye-opening stint at Gibraltar, describes The Villa's menu as "a tip of the hat to the old world gastronomic restaurant, but at the same time we use a lot of modern ingredients and techniques -- without flaunting it. We just use it to make our dishes better."
Some of those new dishes
- Clementine carrot velouté with sweet peas and mascarpone cream ($17).
- Maple glazed barramundi with long grain jasmine rice, lobster, and papaya, in white ginger broth ($24).
- Spotted skate wing with warm lentil salad, shrimp ravioli, and sweet & sour shallot noisette ($36).
- Gingered date gateau with salted caramel, pistachio, and roquefort ice cream ($17).
That sounds fantastic, and, yes, you're right, it sounds pretty expensive too. But The Villa's ambiance is conducive to a contemporary haute establishment, and this menu fits that bill. As O'Neill noted when asked what makes working at this property so special, "Fine dining is a lost art." That's certainly true --The Villa is one of very few such restaurants in Miami offering this kind of formal, elevated dining experience (along with Palme d'Or and....?).
The Villa would also seem to be an ideal restaurant to take your Valentine; few dining rooms in town are more romantic (although a table on the veranda might be even more so).
When asked to name a few of his favorite dishes on the menu, O'Neill mentions the starters featuring salmon (mustard caviar, dill pearls, golden pumpernickel) and tuna (in photo, with compressed cucumber, shimeji mushrooms, and soybeans), and "the (clementine/carrot) soup has become something of a signature; people seem to love that."
And so, tomorrow, we'll share O'Neill's recipe for that delectable-sounding soup.