Once in a blue moon along comes someone who really cares about what they do and show it. Autumn McCoy and Alex Brugger, the owners of fin•esse, are two of such people. Just a short conversation reveals the passion and thoughtfulness that went into every aspect of this restaurant. Although it is still a work in progress, so far it is stunning.
Dark chocolate colors and wood accentuate the bar area and seating. Which gives a perfect backdrop for the bright palate opening red banquettes and soft lights. There is a culinary lesson scripted on the walls which demonstrates the owners fine pedigree. The food menu is classic with influences of the tropics. A full length wine list with all the usual suspects and then some, puts serious thought into food and wine pairings. There is a sprinkling of boutique wines that are tucked in there as a surprise find. Also, there is Autumn’s stash. Yea, if one gets into a conversation with her she’ll whip out a few bottles not on the menu. Who does that? Yea!
lobster•crab•soup (n: shelled maine lobster & maryland crab, brandied cream stock). Hello luxuriousness. A piece of seafood in every slop. Lick the bowl goodness.
crab•cakes (n: blue crab meat, pan seared, roasted pepper, panko, chipotle aioli). That is really the only ingredients. Lumps of crab, lumps of crab, and lumps of crab. This reminded me of my favorite haunt on Ocean Drive, South Beach. News Café. Ever wondered why Gianni Versace dined there? Crab cakes. The only thing missing was the Atlantic Ocean…. and the scenery on Ocean Drive.
hawaiian•poke (n: ahi tuna, toasted coconut, avocado crema, soy, sesame, onion, green plantains). Green plantains or totones? Surely totones, there is that Latin influence coming out. Marvelous tuna cubes on plantains, tropical breeze in every bite. A little too much sesame seeds, but who is complaining with trade winds?
bread•oil (n: fresh baked loaf of bread, served with herb infused olive oil). A whole loaf of soft, hot bread. A meal by itself in some countries.
rosé•menage•a•trois Who can pass up a carnival in your mouth? Many restaurants pass over blush wines as flukes. Big mistake. In this hot Florida climate sitting on the sidewalk at Lake Mary in the evening with an exquisite glass of rosé is just the carnival warm up needed for this tropical excursion.
grenache•shiraz•mourvèdre•oxford•landing•estates An Australian blend? Yes! Bring it, I was ready for the pork tenderloin or steak but was stuffed from everything else. Bright brilliant fruit forward wine with a big mouth feel and a lingering after taste.
graves•château•simon This was from Autumn’s personal stash. Ssshh. I got a sample. Citrus notes with acidic flavors, well balanced. Would have gone very well with my paella.
paella•risotto (n: tiger shrimp, chorizo, mussels, lobster, chicken, saffron-shell stock, arborio rice). Spectacular. Better than mi amiga’s abuela on Calle Ocho, Miami. I’ll deny that. Seriously moist, flavorful; seafood was cooked to perfection, delicate shrimps and mussels; to crown it all off, a Caribbean lobster tail. How unique. A delicate little tail. More lobster please! Wonderfully rounded dish with greatness.
key•lime•pie Is that a slice or half of the pie? Not on the menu. Chef Alex made this 2 hours prior to us dining there. So we ordered it. Creamy, limey indulgent sinful tropical delight. This tastes better than Key West Key Lime Pie Co.No kidding. This piece of heaven was out of this world.
fin•esse has all the makings a of great restaurant. With the owner’s labor of love this restaurant will continue to reach for new heights and delight us all. Keep reaching for the skies.