My husband took me to this wonderful restaurant in the upscale Casa Monica hotel in St. Augustine’s old city to celebrate Valentine’s Day. We chose it because a friend of ours was playing piano in the lounge that evening. We’re now forever grateful to him for getting that gig!
The staff is refined and courteous, the decor is lush and has a historic feel with large mosaics on the walls and heavy, upholstered chairs. The menus actually light up when you open them, which is a help in the dark setting. While the dining room seems like it wants to be a quiet and elegant place to have dinner, the celebratory noise and music from the lounge is quite prevalent, so if that bugs you, it might spoil the experience. It didn’t for us, since we wanted to hear our musician friend while we ate, yet didn’t want to take dinner in the lounge.
We were given the choice of “ice water” or bottled water at the start. Then, we were brought 4 thick slices of crusty bread drizzled with pesto oil and a balsamic reduction that was so good, I almost wanted to just call it a night right there! I ordered the Ceasar salad sans the bleu cheese which was presented sans croutons as well (I’m guessing croutons are too common for this restaurant). The romaine leaves were huddled in a lovely mound and the dressing coated them and also decorated the plate. I did not miss the croutons. My husband ordered the wedge salad, which is a large wedge of iceberg lettuce topped with bleu cheese, bacon, glazed walnuts, and topped with a jalepeno ranch dressing. He loved it.
For our entrees, I chose the Chilean Sea Bass, which was presented as a gorgeous, thick (nearly 3 inches) piece of flakey whiteness, absolutely perfectly crisped on the top and bottom. It was the best piece of fish I have ever eaten, bar none! Half a lemon just seared for a moment on their grill made a lovely garnish and helped it give up it’s juice to make an excellent fish dinner even better. The fish was nestled on top of a row of crisp roasted asaparagus, also perfectly cooked, which was nestled on top of garlic mashed potatoes that were full of flavor without being overpowering. My husband chose the filet mignon with bleu cheese which was also perfectly prepared and presented in the same way.
There are three creme brulee options on the dessert menu. You can get creme brulee french toast, which makes me want to just type a whole row of exclamation points, but I’ll restrain myself. There’s a flavored creme brulee of the week, which was passion fruit last night. I went with the classic vanilla bean creme brulee served with fresh berries and a dollop of whipped cream. I’m very fussy about my creme brulee and am more often disappointed than not. But I felt confident ordering it here and they did not let me down!
The prices are a little steep, but not beyond what you’d expect for a dining experience of this quality. We paid about $120 for non-alcoholic beverages, salad and dinner. That doesn’t include our dessert, which we ate in the lounge afterward.
I let my husband know that any time he wants me to feel utterly loved and pampered, all he has to do is suggest we go to 95 Cordova for dinner. His face lit up and he said, “Really? It’s that easy?” Well, no, it’s not really that easy, but he’ll definitely score major points doing that!