Spice things up by dining at Salt inside the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island
This past weekend, I was teased endlessly by a travel-writing colleague for performing a fine-dining no-no during my last visit to a Ritz-Carlton restaurant.
I guess asking for a to-go box is taboo. Who knew? It was for my awesome buffalo meat entrée at the Core Kitchen & Wine Bar at the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain in Tucson, Ariz. I wasn’t about to waste that tasty cut, so I ate what was left for breakfast the next morning. I couldn’t believe she noticed, let alone remembered it all these months later.
Thankfully, I didn’t embarrass myself again while dining at Salt inside the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. There was no to-go box … because was there was nothing left to take home.
It’s not easy to wow my taste buds, but Salt found a way. I loved everything about the experience, from the food to the interactive way we ate it. It was Executive Chef Thomas Tolxdorf’s idea to change the name of the Ritz-Carlton Grille in 2006 to honor the Atlantic Ocean right outside. When the restaurant opened after a makeover, it only used one form of salt to prepare its dishes. Even though salt continues to be vilified by the medical community, the restaurant has thrived. It now uses more than 50 different flavors and styles of salt in its entrees. During dinner, we were given five different flavors of the spice to mix with our food and even our pre-meal bread. The server provided the recommendation of which one to use. It was up to us to use as much or as little as we wanted.
Honestly, the food was so spectacular I didn’t need any more seasoning. The appetizer, a butternut squash soup filled with pecans, reminded me of mom’s Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. The next course, a local flounder, was fresh and flavorful. The wood-grilled beef tenderloin as a main course was perfectly good, but the topper was dessert. We were instructed to poke a hole in the top of our chocolate soufflé and pour a creamy vanilla sauce inside (see another souffle below). Oh my.
My 36 hours visiting the resort was pure bliss - a bonfire on the beach, golf at The Golf Club of Amelia Island and a massage at the sumptuous spa - but it’s this meal I’ll remember most.
I believe Salt could end up winning my annual award for best dinner of the year by the end of 2012. We’ll see.
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