This past weekend I got a sample of what it was like to live a life of luxury, complete with a limo ride, endless champagne, and, the best of all, dinner at a 5-star restaurant. Now I know what fine dining really means. So naturally, after experiencing something so grandeur, I had to write about it. Enter in: The Venetian Chop House at Caribe Royale.
This fine dining bills itself as a chophouse nestled inside the Walt Disney Caribe Royale resort. Somewhat hidden down a staircase at the far end of the lower lobby, the entrance is unassuming but the inside takes your breath away. Simple, yet elegant, chandeliers hover above every booth along the wall and sparsely fall throughout the middle openings. There are only a handful of tables, maybe 20 maximum, which augment the intimacy and specialty of this type of dining. The red and white colors blend nicely to give a romantic and classy feel. Stark white tablecloths hang on every table. Forget hearing everyone’s conversations around you, the ambience of this fine dining restaurant is calm, quiet and relaxing.
Our waiter greeted us by placing the napkins on our lap for us. We were handed an extensive wine list and given time to peruse the ten pages worth of various wines from all over the world. After deciding on our beverages for the evening, we then were handed the actual menu, complete with a built in light so you wouldn’t have to squint to read the words under the dim restaurant lighting. Fine dining restaurants, I learned, almost always serve everything a la carte, which means even the sides are specially prepared and cost extra. So fully be prepared to spend a good chunk of change coming here.
Deciding that it’s not every day we get eat at a place like this, we decided to live it up and do it right. We ordered an appetizer first, escargot. However, I must digress a bit. Before we even received the appetizer, our waiter brought out a “not-you-average bread basket”. It came with a regular white dinner roll, an asiago topped baguette, and both a cinnamon raisin and cheese crisp. To accompany that was a dish of three different butters: regular whipped, garlic whipped, and honey pecan (which, on the cinnamon raise crisp, was my absolute favorite).
Now back to the appetizer: escargot. It came in a buttery and sweet cabernet cream reduction with additions of mushrooms to add flavor and pecans to add texture. It was not huge size-wise, but it was huge in flavor.
I had to try a salad next. I decided on the tomato and mozzarella salad. I have to say The Venetian made one of the best versions of this salad I have tried. First of all, the tomatoes were huge and extremely juicy, with nice thick chunks of fresh, creamy mozzarella. It was finished with a drizzle of age balsamic vinegar that added a bit of a sweetness, and fresh organic mixed greens. The portion was more than I expected and the freshness and flavor was undeniable. My mom ordered the wedge salad, complete with Applewood smoked bacon, red and green onions, and blue cheese dressing. In the world where wedge salads have become the new “it thing”, this takes the cake for the best.
For the main entrée, I ordered the bison short ribs. I have heard that Bison is a healthier alternative to red meat, so I wanted to taste for myself what the craze was all about. *insert every expletive possible here* I have never had such juicy, tender, fall off the bone meat before. I didn’t even need a knife to cut it; if my fork barely touched it, the meat would fall apart. It was covered in a slightly sweet onion jam and a natural jus. There was just enough sauce to coat the bison but not too much to overpower the tenderness and flavor of the meat. I wish I could eat that every night for dinner. My mom ordered the Chilean Sea Bass and also said that was one of the best pieces of fish she has ever had, like butter melting on her tongue.
To finish off the meal, we of course ordered dessert. Our choice: vanilla crème brulee. You could definitely tell that this was made fresh in-house. The sugar was perfectly caramelized and the custard underneath had just the right amount of vanilla with the right consistency and creaminess. I was in a food coma after that, but you definitely wouldn’t hear me complaining.
One thing to note about fine dining: you will not be rushed. Two hours later we finally paid the bill. But it was nice to live in luxury and get taken care of like that. We never had to ask for refills on water. The waiter would fill up our glass when it got down to the halfway mark. The food was delectable. You definitely get what you pay for. Make sure to save up and do it right; try whatever you can, because this is definitely not an everyday kind of dinner.
Go eat at The Venetian. You and your palate won’t be disappointed.