I’m not sure I have ever talked about my love of Top Chef on here. It’s one of the shows of which I have never missed an episode. Sure, some seasons might be better than others, but I am a tried and true fan, enjoying learning about cities, chefs, and cuisine with each hour. One of my all-time favorite contestants is Richard Blais. I cheered for him during his appearances on the show and have watched him on everything from his too short lived show Cook Your Ass Off to all the judging and competing on Guy’s Grocery Games (GGG for life y’all!).
As someone who doesn’t travel a lot, I honestly figured I’d never eat at one of Richard’s restaurants and that was a pretty big bummer for me. Then all of the sudden, he announced the opening of Four Flamingos in the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress. I followed all the updates and booked a table for opening night.
I’ve never been to a restaurant opening night, so that was definitely cool, but I also figured the man, the myth, the legend would be there, and I was right. You guyyyyysssss, not only did I eat at a Richard Blais restaurant but I met Richard Blais. How awesome is that. Even better, he is so nice. He chatted with us, took a picture, and exudes an energy that is infectious.
He has actually created an environment that does so with a team that is so kind and seem genuinely thrilled to be a part of this project. The restaurant itself has the same vibes, some of Richard’s creation, some long-standing facets of the restaurant that came before. Though we did not stick around to see fireworks, we instead saw breathtaking panoramic views of the sunset. I still can’t even with the hour of an ever changing sunset.
But let’s talk food and drink. I did not order any cocktails directly off the menu because I am a tequila drinker and the tequila drinks leaned very sweet for my taste. So they made a margarita with house infused jalapeno Dobel Maestro and later a Florida old fashioned wit Clase Azul reposado. Both were great but the second was out of this world.
I came in knowing I was going to order a lot of food because I wanted to try things and I wanted leftovers. The appetizers of snapper crudo and a crab and mango salad stuffed avocado were true bliss. The crudo is served in an irresistible limey slightly spicy cilantro sauce and a bubble is added table side for you to pop.
As a raw seafood lover, I ate most of it and left the avocado for mom, which truly does look like an avocado with black lime on the outside. The crab salad is the star with its incredible creaminess. I’d order both again, although I’m also dying to try the tuna tostones.
We ordered the beet and tangerine salad for a vegetable with dinner. The beets are vinegar soaked for this pop of flavor against the hidden goat cheese mousse. Even the sesame seeds on top add flavor and texture to this salad that stands out from the rest. The yucca fries are equally as tasty, but it’s the guava cocktail sauce on the side that totally stole my heart. I have never met a cocktail sauce I like … until now.
The main courses were steak and swordfish, but no ordinary steak and swordfish. The steak is a dry aged bone-in ribeye that was served with an honestly too salty chimichurri. And the steak was a little tough. I think some of this had to do with the fact that it was cooked under the medium-rare I asked for and the fat didn’t have a chance to melt into the steak. It was much better when I reheated it at home (although they did not pack up the bone 🙁 If you know me, you know I think that’s the best part).
The swordfish is one of the coolest dishes I have had in a restaurant since it is roughly a pound of fish with a bone, blackened and served with brown butter and a grilled lemon half. The only problem is it was severely undercooked. They did take it back and cook it more. When it arrived back to the table it was piping hot and melted in our mouths. Properly prepared, it may be one of my favorite restaurant dishes ever, which is enough to overcome the disappointment of having to send it back.
Dinner was rounded out with a complementary glass of sparkling rose. Though not seamless, for opening night, Four Flamingos is impressive with welcoming staff, great views, and some killer food. I’m already excited to give it another try.