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Amelia Islander

Brett's Waterway Cafe

Jul 09, 2014 11:44AM
A few weeks ago, the Amelia Islander Magazine held a special photo contest on our Facebook page called “Where on Amelia?” and the winner was Jerry Torchia! His prize was dinner out with me, and the event took a special turn when I found out that it was also his wedding anniversary. So I invited his wife, Mary Lynn, to come along, and the three of us enjoyed a marvelous evening at Brett’s Waterway Café. After 52 years of marriage, the Torchias had a lot to celebrate, and our server Wade suggested we start with a glass of Dave Matthews Dreaming Tree, a white “everyday” wine that was far from ordinary, while we nibbled on some starters.

Chef Brett Carter prepared us a platter of appetizers to sample, and they were all out of this world. Little brined green olives, Crab Louie salad, Hummus with Pesto, and Pimento Cheese were just a few of the wonderful offerings we were in store for that evening. Chef Brett makes these incredible parmesan chips for dipping, and an amazing flatbread covered with herbs and seeds. The crab salad was probably my favorite, if it was even possible to choose, with capers, red onion, and lump crab meat. We also sampled a crab cake that Jerry really liked, with a citrus Remoulade sauce and homemade cole slaw. I think Mary’s favorite was the pimento cheese. A little something to delight each of us on this special day!

Wade brought us a glass of Belleglos Pinot Noir Blanc, with rich, ripe strawberry and green apple aromas, which paired well with our next course, Marinated Mozzarella & Tomato Salad. This salad is loaded with all sorts of goodies – Mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, arugula, artichokes, hearts of palm, and citrus balsamic vinaigrette. We also enjoyed everyone’s favorite, Southern-Style Biscuits, which are rich and buttery, fluffy, and unmistakably homemade. But there was more to come for this special anniversary dinner, as Chef Brett treated us to three amazing entrees. For me, Pan Seared Scallops with Anson Mills cheese grits, braised pork belly, asparagus, and beurre blanc. For Mary, an 8 oz. Beef Tenderloin with asparagus and Yukon Gold mashed potatoes. And for Jerry, a special surprise – Low Country Boil! We shared our various dishes and everything was superb. I especially loved the sweetness of the scallops with the richness of the pork belly. The tenderloin was medium rare and very tender, and the low country boil featured Mayport shrimp, sausage, clams, crawfish, corn, red potatoes, and cocktail sauce. A bowl of sweet and salty collard greens was the perfect accompaniment.

Jerry and I also sampled a glass of Estancia Meritage, a deep crimson, velvety red wine. While we finished up our entrees, Chef Brett came out to chat with us, bearing gifts of Crème Brulee, Flourless Chocolate Torte, and a special coffee with four secret liqueurs stirred in, topped with whipped cream. As usual, Brett’s Waterway Café presents a joyous dining experienced as inspired as Brett himself, a gathering place with excellent food and service, and the best view on Amelia Island. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, featuring a full bar and an extensive wine list. For more information or to make a reservation, call (904) 261-2660.