Al Fresco at The Reef
by Jody Steele
Dining al fresco at The Reef has always been a special way to enjoy our tropical evenings. To expand our al fresco choices and offer safer social distancing opportunities, we now have two more restaurants for dining under the stars. Last weekend, we tried both and were thoroughly impressed.
Bill and Carolyn Chaney with the staff on opening night of the new Town Hall Waterside.
Town Hall Waterside is an outdoor eatery with a “market style” theme. It is casual, attractive, and immediately grabs you with the strings of lights and its rustic décor. Repurposed cargo containers surround the perimeter and their kitchens offer six choices of cuisine: Tacos, Wood Fired Pizza, BBQ, Poke Bowl, Buns & Buns (burgers, dogs, lobster rolls) and a Dessert Station. We strolled around (wearing masks) to check out each menu, ordered a drink from the bar in the center of the pavilion and chose our dinner from two different spots. Finding a socially distanced table amongst the beautiful planters and placing our order numbers in a visible place, we just relaxed and enjoyed the artsy scene and the music. Our meals were delivered promptly and were absolutely delicious. Dan Tanner, Executive Director of Banquet Operations explained that Waterside is an informal, open-air restaurant for families, couples, and friends to gather. Waterside is now open Thursday- Sunday from 5-10 PM and is a comfortable destination that is fun for all ages. No reservations needed.
Palm Court Nights was our Friday night choice under the stars on the Main Channel. We actually gazed at a few of our favorite constellations and planets on this clear night. The location really reflects the special beauty of Ocean Reef after dark. Chef de Cuisine Kareem Anguin and Sous Chef Ryan Schmidt shared the concept of this Mediterranean inspired menu prepared on an open wood-fired grill in Palm Court. The emphasis is on healthy, refreshing food with light sauces, salads and hummus. Zucchini fritters with an aioli dip arrive at each table and the menu selections are plentiful. We liked the mussels with roasted fennel for an appetizer, and the shrimp kabob and churrasco steak for the main course. The tables are well spaced and the setting is exquisite with twinkling lights streaming overhead. Again, this is a welcome al fresco dinner choice for families, couples, and friends. It is even a bit romantic. We even treated ourselves to the goat cheese cheesecake smothered in Italian cherries, another outstanding dessert creation from Chef Santiago Puga, Executive Pastry Chef. Hours are Daily 6-9 PM. Reservations accepted.
Congratulations to our Culinary Team for their ingenuity in creating more al fresco dining for the Ocean Reef Club community. Town Hall Waterside and Palm Court Nights are two new completely different restaurants to add to your go to list.