Chef Giovanni Filippone debuts his seasonal menu at Vue on 30A
By Michelle Farnham
SANTA ROSA BEACH – As the calendar flips from October to November, it’s time to pack away the light, crisp flavors of summer in favor of the richer, more comforting tastes of fall.
Executive Chef Giovanni Filippone of Vue on 30A rolled out his newest dishes during the Oct. 25 Fall Menu PreVue for a select seating of guests.
“To me, fall means fall products. I look around and see what’s coming in, see what they have and we go from there with the vegetables, the starches, things like that,” the chef explained.
To kick off the evening, diners sipped on a round of Santa Rosa Sunset martinis on the gulf-view patio. The layered citrus and grenadine complemented the picture-perfect sunset.
For the first course, the Vue kitchen turned out a tuna carpaccio, topped with green onions, cilantro, fresh lime juice and “fried bean noodles, to give you a little crunch,” Chef Gio noted, as he personally introduced each dish. A drizzle of sesame oil and soy-ginger glaze atop the paper-thin protein brought nutty and sweet flavors.
Also making an appearance from the starters menu was a lobster mac and cheese with truffle oil. Featuring Maine lobster and tender pasta shells, the combination of cheddar, bleu and boursin cheeses in the béchamel sauce lent a mature and complex flavor to this classic dish.
“For those of you on a diet, I’m sorry,” joked the charismatic chef. “We’re going to open a gym tomorrow out on the beach.”
Course three was a pan-seared pork chop in a curry Marsala sauce, served with rice grits and asparagus spears. Many of the guests commented on the uniqueness of the rice grits, over the more traditional corn-based side.
“The rice comes to us already milled and we prepare it like grits,” said Gio, a Culinary Institute of America graduate. “It’s a little sweeter than traditional grits.”
Calling upon seafood once more, the wait staff brought out a zuppa di pesce: a delicate Italian white wine-tomato broth filled with a lobster tail, clams, shrimp, mussels and calamari, all served over linguini.
While the influence of autumn was apparent throughout the meal, no dish upheld the fall comfort food theme more than the dessert course: a homemade chocolate-bacon cheesecake.
Murmurs of “No, he’s kidding!” and “There’s no way!” were heard around the dining room, but the chef made good on his promise.
“I like to play around with cheesecake,” he admitted. “Chocolate and bacon do go together. The saltiness of the bacon, the sweet from the chocolate cuts into it, so I thought, ‘Well, we’ll try it out, see how it goes!’” Past cheesecake creations have included a Krispy Kreme masterpiece and a take on s’mores.
Vue on 30A Marketing Director Sarah Brazwell said they like to switch out the menus twice a year, now and in the springtime, to keep things fresh.
“In the fall, we see a lot more steak, pork, duck and of course, still seafood,” Brazwell explained.
The waterfront restaurant hosted a sunset photo contest on social media during the preview, with the winning photog earning a personal chef dinner for two with Chef Gio. Find entries at #fallprevue.