After a pause of nearly three years, we finally had an in-person Supper Club again, breaking our pandemic fast at Four Flamingos: A Richard Blais Florida Kitchen. When I opened the reservations to my newsletter sibscribers, the dinner sold out in less than 24 hours. So the restaurant added another night – a Supper Club first.
And at both nights, Richard Blais, the celebrity chef who has attached his name to the restaurant, was on hand to talk with us. When we were in the planning stage for the dinner, we discussed having Blais join us by Zoom – something we learned when we did a virtual Supper Club online. We could talk with chefs and winemakers anywhere in the world. But Blais said “No, I want to be there.”
He greeted us, joked amiably and talked about his vision for the restaurant. Then he introduced his resident executive chef, Shelby Farrell, who ran us through the menu.
Different from Supper Clubs in the past, this dinner offered a table d’hote of courses with choices. The smart people in the group colluded with their table mates to order different selections and share.
For appetizers we had 20-day-aged ribeye pinchos with yacht sauce, a tomato and chili concoction also known as boat sauce, but here it’s a classier cruise.
Wonderfully fresh oysters and pearls.
And a tuna tostada with what looked like an egg yolk but was really fashioned out of passion fruit (this was my favorite).
On the first night I had the seafood moqueca, a fish stew with a tomato base with coconut milk. It was served with coconut rice, which was wonderful scooped into the broth. But man, that was a lot to eat. (All of the portions were just as they’re served in the restaurant if you ordered a la carte.)
On the second night I couldn’t not get the swordfish prime rib “Neptune’s cut” that I’ve had a couple of times before. In this job, you avoid superlatives – nothing is the best; nothing is the worst you’ve ever had – this is the best swordfish I’ve ever had. (Farrell demonstrated how it’s done in this video.)
Also on the menu was crab raviolo with lobster and papaya vodka sauce, and a filet mignon option.
We also had family style salads, including a hearts of palm Caesar and beets with tangerines.
And side dishes of broccolini, jerk-spiced cauliflower and creamed corn.
The crowd favorite for dessert was the Cuban espresso panna cotta with salted caramel and butterscotch biscotti, but the Key lime pie was pretty good, too.
On both nights our lead servers were David and Rida, who kept things moving, helped along by many others on the Four Flamingos team.
It was a pleasant evening, and for me, getting to host both times, two pleasant evenings.
We’ve started plotting more Supper Clubs (which I hastened to explain is not a real club and does not require membership nor dues, just a love of good food and the company of others who do too). Be sure you’re signed up for my newsletter so you’ll be the first to know.