Monday, July 27, 2015

Austin's Chophouse (Viera / Melbourne)

Austin's Chophouse - July 2015
6630 Colonnade Ave.
Melbourne, FL 32940
6630 Colonnade Ave
My dining partner and I recently got to try the new Austin's Chophouse at The Avenue Viera.

Austin's recently took over the Mimi's cafe building after Mimi's closed down their Viera location.  Austin's has completely redone the inside of the building except for the bathrooms.  The renovations are beautiful!  The restaurant looks upscale and it is almost unrecognizable from the former Mimi's.  It is definitely a fresh upgrade in many ways.

Upon arrival, we were greeted promptly and seated.  The service from the get go was fast and friendly.  While we had one main server, I could see that the servers were all working together as a team to meet the needs of the guests.

Austin's has a few drink specials.  Two-for-one house wells and $5 house wines.  I asked what the house vodka was.  The server told me it was Grey Goose. She corrected herself and said it was Svedka.  My bill says it was Skyy.  Anyways, I ordered a house vodka and soda water with a lime.  Whatever it was, I had no complaints with the cocktail.

My dining partner ordered the house Cabernet.  He said it was just okay.  I tasted it and I thought that is was pretty good for a house wine. It was multi tonal in flavor.

We started off with the Bacon Trio as an appetizer ($12.00)  The Bacon Trio is bacon three ways; jalapeno, candied, and pepper-encrusted.  It is served with a sriracha-creme sauce.  I thought maybe it would actually be pork-belly, but it was just bacon as described.  Good quality and slightly thick.  The candied bacon was my favorite.  The sweet flavors inter-played deliciously with the savory.  A table of six next to us ordered the cheese and fruit appetizer ($20).  It was quite beautiful looking.  It was a large appetizer that would be nice for a table with many guests.  It consisted of candied figs, champagne grapes, goat cheese, brie, Stilton blue cheese, berries, marmalade and toast points.

The server brought bread to the table with 3 different dipping sauces; parmesan, pesto and roasted garlic.  Each of the dipping sauces tasted top notch.  The bread consisted of herbed biscuits and small french-type rolls.  The french-rolls were quite hard and a bit dry.  They left a little bit to be desired, but the sauces more than made up for it.

I was looking forward to a ribeye that night, but I was told they were out of it.  I thought that was a little odd at 6pm, but I opted for a t-bone instead ($50.00) with a side of macaroni and cheese ($6.00). My dining partner ordered the veal chop ($35.00).  This was definitely a splurge meal for us in every way.

The entrees came and looked fantastic.  The T-bone was topped with seasoned butter and a side of truffle pommes frites (i.e. little tiny hash brown sized fries).  Taking the first bite of the steak was a big test for me.  When I dine out at this level, I expect the food to be at least as good as or better than what we would make at home.  I'll be honest, while some decent local steak places exist, I can't think of a steak place in Brevard County that their steak alone thrills me.  I would usually opt for Orlando for that.

The first bite of the steak at Austin's exceeded my expectations!  It was exactly what I wanted.  Text-book cooked to medium, perfectly seasoned, deliciously charred on the outside and pink on the inside.  The steak was perfect.  Thank you to the Chef.  Thank you.  The macaroni and cheese was a dryer version of the classic.  It was fine, but it was not something I would order again next time.

My dining partner also enjoyed his beautiful veal chop.  It came with a side of herbed risotto.  The risotto was very al dente.  Looking at other reviews after writing this, it seems that doneness of the rice at Austin's has been an issue for a few customers.

For dessert, we shared a coconut creme tart ($5.00).  It didn't wow me as much as the steak, but it was good and obviously made from scratch with care.  We also ordered a piece of cheesecake to take home to taste later.  The server said it was Chocolate Peanut-Butter, the receipt says it was Smores Cheesecake (7.00).  I still am not really sure what it was. Again, it was okay.  I would have liked a classic N.Y. style cheesecake as an option.

My dining partner ended his meal with a cappuccino ($5.00).  The coffee was nicely made and topped with a little cinnamon.

Our bill for the night was $143.69 before tip.  Frankly, it was worth it.  The steak at Austin's is clearly the star of the show.  I would rather eat out once in a while and pay more for something of the utmost quality than dine out more frequently for cheaper fare that is merely average.  The service was friendly and efficient, but the servers need a bit more education still on the products.  I expect that will improve with time.  I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed Austin's Chophouse.  It is a needed upscale addition to the area.  I can't wait to try it for lunch!use made jalapeno bacon, candied bacon, peppercorn-encrusted b

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Love Bugs Bakery - Viera

Love Bugs Bakery Viera
5445 Murrell Road
Viera, FL 32955

Viera Business Hours:
Mon - Sat. 6am - 3pm
Closed Sundays

Love Bugs Bakery is the newest addition to Viera!  In the afternoon, several tasters and I stopped by the new store recently and ordered an assortment of items for a "take-a-bite" tasting. 

This is a second location for the bakery.  The original location is on Wickham Road in West Melbourne.  You can find the bakery menu here. 

The Love Bugs Bakery Viera is very clean and bright.  The staff was friendly and helpful. 

The first thing we tried was a turkey and ham sub on wheat.  It was super fresh and delicious!  All of the deli meat at Love Bugs Viera is Boars Head brand.  The hoagie bread tasted fresh baked and was very good.  If you have a sub craving, Love Bugs is a good place to go. 

We also ordered several donuts and sampled a bite of each.  The donuts were fresh made and tasted like a good donut should.  I can assume the donuts tastes their best first thing in the morning.  We also sampled a croissant.  It definitely tasted fresh-made.  It wasn't as crispy on the outside as I would prefer, but it was satisfactory.

The cupcakes from Love Bugs were remarkable; especially the red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting.  The cake part was so moist and perfect and the frosting was exactly how cream cheese frosting should be; delicious and rich and not overly sweet.  Everyone agreed the red velvet cupcake was the best thing we tried.  It was outstanding!

The prices at Love Bugs Bakery are very reasonable and I felt a very good value.  Our entire bill for all that deliciousness was just under $20.  The big beautiful artisan cupcakes were only $1.99 each, the donuts were $1.09, and the croissant was $1.79. The sub with turkey and ham came to $9.49.  Worth noting is that if you order a sub with 2 different kinds of meat, they charge you $1.79 for extra meat.  The sub was large enough for 2 small to medium appetites to share. 

Lovebugs is a GREAT new addition to Viera.  Definitely give it a try.  We are looking forward to going back and trying some of the other offerings.  You can print out some very good coupons at their website here.


We went back to Love Bugs a few days later early in the morning.  Again, the staff was very kind and helpful and the store was very clean.  I got to try a Maple Bacon donut.  It was AMAZING!  Best donut ever! As I suspected, the donuts at Love Bugs taste best first thing in the morning when they are very fresh.  Get there early! They also serve biscuits and gravy.

Love Bugs Bakery Viera on Urbanspoon