One Bite and You’ll Seek Out
Review in The L'Atitudes, Saturday, February 8, 2002
Steaks cooked to
perfection every time.
If you are looking for
fine dining in the Middle Keys in the true sense of the phrase, look no further
than the Hideaway Café.
Fine dining means terrific
food served beautifully in a formal yet warm setting, and attentive service, all
at a leisurely but reasonable pace. Of
course all of this comes at a price, a premium price.
Located in the Rainbow
Bend Resort, the restaurant overlooks the ocean.
Though entirely enclosed, the windowed porch provides diners with a nice
The Hideaway Café is known
for its beef and rightly so. While
the seafood entrees are excellent, go for the steaks. To prove that steaks are its true forte, just after we
arrived, the maitre d’ brought a sample of its biggest steak, the Hideaway rib
steak, to the table for our approval. This
2,400 calorie monstrosity weighs in at 2.5 pounds and would challenge even the
heartiest eater. Fortunately, there
are a number of saner, though still more than ample choices and based upon a
recent visit, they are truly excellent.
Actually, with the
exception of just one of the desserts, every choice our party of four made at
the Hideaway was unsurpassed.
Shortly after our arrival,
the waiter brought out a loaf of warm French bread that was lightly toasted and
accompanied by a small bowl of chopped tomatoes and herbs.
The latter, known as bruschetta, was a nice, light touch and a great
I ordered one of the
special appetizers, a cup of shrimp bisque.
It was heavenly, thick broth laced with a generous portion of small
pieces of cooked shrimp. Other
regular appetizers include escargot a la Edison – a dish for which the
Hideaway is renowned – as well as clam and mussel soup, a seafood crepe, and
Norwegian smoked salmon.
The house salad turns out
to be a delicious Caesar’s salad. Now, very few restaurants actually make the
traditional Caesar’s anymore, and the Hideaway doesn’t either.
No one wants to risk the raw egg and many people don’t like anchovies.
However, this was a more than respectable imitation with an assortment of
fresh greens, a delicious light dressing, and topped with finely grated Parmesan.
The steaks, however were
the pieces de resistance. There
were two filets on the menu – one grilled to order and served with a pleasant
and light béarnaise and one that’s sliced and flamed with cognac, garlic and
shrimp. I tried the former and it
was butter tender and cooked absolutely to perfection. Many times when one orders a steak medium, it either comes to
pink or to well done. This was just
as I had ordered it.
A companion also went for
beef and tried the Hideaway’s chateaubriand.
It was also a delicious piece of meat and came with some assorted
vegetables and potatoes – a bouguettiere.
Another companion ordered the rack of lamb: Tender with a delicious hint
of rosemary, though the spicy crust was perhaps a bit to salty.
The Hideaway also features
beef Wellington, a New York Strip steak, and a variation on surf and turf that
To round out the choices,
the fourth member of our party ordered a sautéed hog snapper that was the
special of the day. I have rarely
tasted better in the Middle Keys. The
fish was fresh, light, and had a wonderful flavor. Other seafood offering included seafood crepes, shrimp
wrapped in bacon, seafood putanesca, and something the restaurant calls seafood
Wellington that’s backed in a puff pastry like the conventional beef dish.
For those who can’t
handle all the meat, the Hideaway also includes a couple of chicken dishes on
the menu. Surprisingly, for such an
upscale place, there is also a children’s menu, something you don’t see
often in the Keys.
To top it all off, we
indulged in a truly decadent and wonderful soufflé that had a kind of cake
topping and a chocolate mousse interior. It
was as good as it sounds. The other
dessert was our only disappointment. It
was a large chocolate cake that was described as having a meringue topping.
The cake was quite ordinary and the meringue tasted more like
conventional frosting. Oh well.
The Hideaway Café is
truly a special treat. With entrees
ranging from $20 t $35 and with the more than ample portions of beef, you
won’t go every week. However, if
you’re looking for a reliable and truly delicious meal served with panache, I
highly recommend it.