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Vero Beach 32963 / January 12, 2012

Your Vero Beach Newsweekly

DINING REVIEW

Melody Inn: Just right for a Vero winter evening

Flounder with rusti

Swiss Raclette cheese

Photos by BENJAMIN HAGER

Lump crab cake Calypso with spatzli

By Tina Rondeau Columnist

n a cold winter evening (or what passes in Vero for a cold winter evening), our thoughts inevitably turn to the cozy warmth of the Melody Inn, the areas only Swiss restaurant. This attractive Old Europe restaurant has been serving classic French Swiss dishes to South Floridians for a quarter century, first in Coral Gables, and since 2004, just off the quaint Seminole Courtyard in downtown Vero. On a couple of visits, we have found ourselves seated next to diners who had driven up from Miami especially to visit the Melody Inn. Now thats what I call a loyal following. While its hard to go wrong on a cool evening with the Melody Inns cheese fondue a classic mix of Swiss gruyere and emmentaler cheese that can be ordered either as a main course ($24.75), or as an appetizer to be enjoyed by two or three diners on this most recent visit we sampled several other dishes equally suitable for winter. My husband passed up his longtime favorite appetizer, the escargots bourguignon ($9), and instead ordered the Swiss raclette ($10). Ra-

clette is full fat alpine cheese melted and served with boiled potatoes and pickles a classic Swiss dish and a yummy substitute for fondue. Our companion opted for the classic Caesar salad ($6.75), which is very good here. My choice for a starter was the winter salad ($10) greens, warm diced potatoes and mushrooms cooked with double-smoked bacon, and served with a sherry garlic vinaigrette. Delicious. For entres, I chose the flounder Francais ($28), my husband picked the filet mignon au poivre ($32.50) and our companion zeroed in on the crab cakes ($28.75), one of her favorites. My husbands filet was an extremely tender piece of beef, presented black and blue, exactly as ordered, and served with a very tasty peppercorn sauce. My lovely piece of flounder, dipped in egg and sauted in butter, was served in a lemon butter sauce. It was accompanied by a fluffy potato pancake. The crab cakes lump crabmeat with a light binder, perfectly seasoned were served with a sauce of mayonnaise, tomato, Cognac and a hint of cayenne pepper. One of the best crab cakes in town. All entres come with a choice of vegetables which include rosti pota-

toes (delectable crispy potato shreds), spatzli (the Alpine version of pasta or gnocchi), red cabbage, and cold beets prepared in a vinaigrette. Even on a cool night, you wont want to pass up the beets. For main courses on previous visits, we have enjoyed veal medallions ($32) pan sauted in butter and topped with a morel mushroom flamb with Cognac in a Champagne sauce; the Melody Inns special veal chop, pansauted in butter, topped with morel mushrooms and flambed in the same sauce as the veal medallions; the veal Zurich Zuri Gschnazlets ($27.50), finely sliced veal in a white wine, cream and mushroom sauce; and the roast lamb loin fillet Provencal ($28), a lamb fillet served in a crust of herbed crumbs, mustard and savory sauce. In lieu of dessert on this evening, we chose the caf glace ($7.75), a sinful combination of espresso, whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, and Tia Maria. We then concluded with a round of espressos ($2.75). The dessert menu also offers a variety of enticing chocolate confections. If you manage to resist these, you still will get your chocolate fix, as the Melody Inn bestows truffles on the ladies to ease their departure. Dinner for two with a modest bottle of wine is likely to run $120 before tax

and tip. You can reduce this total (or sample a better wine) on a Tuesday, which is always half-price wine night. And as is the case at a number of Vero restaurants, the kind of early dining special that used to be offered only in the summer is now in effect all year. At the Melody Inn, it consists of a glass of house wine, an entre, dessert and coffee all for $23.75 if you are seated before 6 p.m. Chef Margaret and her perfectly executed sauces are the stars at the Melody Inn. With a wait staff that aims to please, the Melody Inn is a great dining choice one of our Vero favorites, particularly on those winter evenings. I welcome your comments, and encourage you to send feedback to me at tina@verobeach32963.com. The reviewer is a beachside resident who dines anonymously at restaurants at the expense of Vero Beach 32963.

Hours: Dinner: Tuesday through Saturday, 5 pm to 9 pm Bar: Beer and wine bar Address: 1309 19th Place, Vero Beach, FL Phone: (772) 770-2071