by erin thursby
Fine food with an ocean view can be hard to find, even on beachfront property. Many restaurants, even those right on the ocean, often only have an obscured view of the crashing surf from the dining room. But a new restaurant has opened to the public, one that has been around for years. It’s oceanfront fine dining located inside the Cabana Club in Ponte Vedra.
619 Ocean View has been known to local Ponte Vedra residents for years. It was only open to members of the Cabana Club and to anyone staying at the Sawgrass Resort. Residents looking for a mini-vacation and excellent cuisine would book a room at the resort and take the complimentary shuttle to the restaurant. So although the restaurant is new to the general public, the menu items and service have been time tested.
The look though, has been updated considerably, for an airy seaside decor tinged with elegance. Each table sports a mini glass sculpture and napkin rings feature heavy pewter seahorses, shells or sand dollars. White tablecloths, upholstered luxe chairs, water inspired art from a local artist and a high ceiling are all part of the Ocean View look.
But however they’ve decorated on the inside pales in comparison to the natural decor. The restaurant is encased in glass, so that no matter where you sit-you’ll get an ocean view. Big picture windows let in light and a spectacular seaside view. If you book an early dinner, you’ll be able to see the colors of sunset on the water. Many people book during the full moon, because the moon lights up the sky and reflects off the ocean.
The menu is upscale and absolutely delish, but most of the time they don’t head into uncharted territory. It’s filled with the club favorites that have lasted over the years, so you’d be safe even in bringing a meat and potatoes man when you’re into trying something like maple lacquered Atlantic salmon. Their beef is dry-aged (as opposed to the more common wet-aged), certainly good enough to appease steak-lovers.
One of the things you might want to know before you dine is that an 18% gratuity is added to your bill. The club members took a vote and decided they wanted the automatic gratuity. If you want to add to your automatic tip, servers welcome it, though it certainly isn’t required.
To start, I devoured their crunchy seafood cigars appetizer, which is filled with the day’s fresh fish, often in a blend, tightly wrapped in egg roll wrappers along with shallots, chives and garlic. Excellent on its own, it becomes a star player with the addition of a sweet Thai chili dipping sauce.
Also on the appetizer menu are peanut crusted calamari, bruschetta, spicy corn salmon fritters and a roasted Portobello gratin, besides the many shrimp involved starters and a crab cake. Prices range from $8-13 for the first course.
You can also kick things off with a salad or soup. Their blue crab bisque sounded good to me, as did their Boston Bibb salad, tossed with blue cheese, spiced pecans, golden raisins with a green apple dressing.
If you love crispy white bread and butter, but you hate the miniscule amount of butter you have to contend with at most places, you’ll love the bread course here. I know my father, who loves bread and butter, would be in heaven once he laid eyes on the two thick slabs of butter they leave you with.
Wines range widely in price, but most hit about the $40 a bottle range. By the glass it’s about $6-12. It’s a well ordered wine list, going from the lightest and sweetest to the driest and full bodied wines. While it doesn’t help you if you’re looking for something alphabetically, it does give you an idea of where a wine sits in the range. Knowing one of the wines can help you decide what to get in a particular section. They also serve hard liquor, so you can order your own concoction or one of their specialty cocktails on the bottom of the wine list.
619’s diver scallops entree is a hit with anyone who loves scallops. They’re huge, drenched in just the right amount of butter, with a lovely white wine cream sauce. The creamy richness is offset by the welcome sharp notes of sun-dried tomatoes and Parma proscicutto.
All entrees include the house salad (served up with a roasted shallot vinaigrette) or a cup of soup (either the soup of the day or their blue crab bisque), a starch and the fresh steamed veggies. The veggie of the day changes, but if you don’t like that day’s selection, you can ask for an alternate. Entree prices range from about $20- 48, with most falling in the $27 range.
Seafood is their strong point on the entree menu, but they also have a pan roasted organically-raised free-range chicken from Ashley Farms and a few steak selections.
Desserts change daily. I had the well-presented fresh berry cobbler, which was a composition of fresh berries such as raspberry, blueberry and strawberry.
Whether you’re looking for a romantic evening or to impress clients with your knowledge of local cuisine, 619 is the place to try next!
619 Ocean View Restaurant
by erin thursby