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Amelia Islander

Eating Scene - Horizons

Mar 09, 2015 02:31PM
Chef Courtney Thompson has been wowing diners for years with fresh, creative cuisine at her restaurant, Horizons. What I love about Horizons is Chef Thompson’s innovative approach to continental cuisine, while using the best ingredients and proper cooking techniques. Recently I had dinner with local artist Susi Sax, who had won our recent Amelia Islander Magazine’s “Where on Amelia?” photo contest. We were thrilled to be hosted at Horizons, and our dinner was top-notch. Our server started us out with a glass of wine. For Susi, Stemmari Chardonnay from Italy, a tart white wine with a pleasurable minerality, and, for me, Concho y Toro Gran Reserva Sauvignon Blanc, a light and crisp white from Chile. There was homemade rosemary bread at the table, and rich honey butter to go with it. A divine starter! One of the things I appreciate about Horizons is that Susi and I wanted to split a salad and appetizer, and that’s okay with them. We ordered Horizons Salad, mixed greens with dried cherries, bacon, pear tomatoes, and crumbled goat cheese. This is one of my favorite salads on Amelia Island, and the dressing is so yummy, with a hint of sweetness and a good balance of tart. We also shared a Stuffed Portobello with lump crabmeat and balsamic glaze. Here is where Chef Thompson does it right: she sautés the giant mushroom first until it is impeccably cooked, then bakes it with the crabmeat, and finally, she glazes it. It was perfectly tender, earthy, and delicious. Horizons was featuring several specials that evening, one of which was Duck Ravioli, my choice. Susi opted for Seared Tuna with sweet and sour slaw, asparagus, mashed potatoes, and ratatouille. She loved that the tuna was perfectly cooked, rare, the way she likes it, and that there were so many beautiful vegetables on the plate. Although this dish was served with a continental flair, it had all the splendid Asian flavors and was just delicious. The Duck Ravioli was an amazing dish, filled with tender bits of duck and wild mushrooms, served in a Marsala cream and butter sauce. This was quite a rich offering, and I had a plate to take home for lunch the next day. We enjoyed our entrees with a glass of Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon from Central Coast, California. Smooth and vibrant with rich berry flavors, this wine would be an easy pairing for lots of dishes; it is quite lovely. I tell all my friends they must order Horizons’ Dessert Soufflé—this evening’s was served with raspberry sauce. Chef Thompson suggested I try their chocolate Pecan Caramel Tart, and it was over-the-top delectable, served with Ramos Pinto Port Wine. What a rich and tasty way to end our gourmet meal at Horizons! From the best choices of meats to excellent seafood and vegetarian options, Horizons’ menu has something that will please even the most refined palates. All of their food is made completely to order and Chef Thompson can accommodate any dietary needs. They offer space for special dinners and events, and even provide off-site catering. Horizons is located at 4828 First Coast Highway. For more information, visit www.horizonsameliaisland.com.