Putting The “Private” In Private Dining
By Terry Baxter, Member Since 2002
What to do? You haven’t put on your makeup all day. You have washed your hair, returned phone calls, and worked hard on your email chores, party planning, newspaper catch-up, and even a chapter of that book you have been panning to read for two months. How did it get to be dinnertime?
If you are lucky enough to be Fair Patricia, you ask your starving husband to bring home takeout from almost any of your favorite Ocean Reef venues. But even a partner as gallant as the author of this column would sometimes like to enjoy the evening news without running errands instead.
The perfect solution is right at hand, yet we rarely think of it. If we were staying at the Inn, room service would be an obvious option. Well, Private Dining is room service for all the residents of Ocean Reef, just a phone call away (305-367-5898). My friend Bill Wyer suggested this story after he and wife Bardee decided to branch out from pizza to explore the Private Dining menu. The menu ranges from simple (pizza, chowder, and salads) to elegant (grass fed churrasco steak or blue cheese crusted black angus filet with a loaded baked potato). Bill chose spaghetti and house made meatballs. Bill said the warm-from-the kitchen pasta was “perfectly al dente.” Bardee ordered the spicy tuna roll from the sushi menu and declared it “delicious. No prep, no cooking, no clean up.” Also available are a variety of sandwiches and wraps, classic Ocean Reef fish entrees, and an Asian take-out menu. There are also decadent desserts, a children’s menu, and an entire page of wine, beer, and spirit selections. Breakfast is offered 7am to 11am, lunch 11am to 4pm, and dinner Sunday to Thursday 4pm to 11pm – and Friday and Saturday 4pm to midnight.
Chef Josh Bettsack is the Chef de Cuisine for the Ocean Room, which means the sun rarely sets on his domain. He is responsible for the Ocean Room breakfasts, the weekend and holiday breakfast buffets, Personal Dining and Room Service, the Reef Lounge, and the Grand Seafood Buffet. Luckily, he is backed up by Private Dining Manager Lennox Aris, who manages the logistics, which are challenging. Private Dining delivered 3,000 dinners to Ocean Reef Members in November, and expects it to jump to 4,500 in December (200 to 300 a night over the ten days of Christmas and New Years). Lennox says, “Preparation allows us to be successful. The store room is brimming with supplies.” He is determined to provide good service, but offers an important tip. Whenever possible, pre-order your dinners (days or even a week ahead) to insure an on-time delivery. Wait times for call-in orders are normally less than half an hour, but may be longer over the crunch period. Please help him serve you better by ordering ahead.
So, put aside your makeup, brush out your wet hair, cuddle up in your favorite armchair, and enjoy Chef Josh’s cuisine. If you tell Josh or Lennox I sent you, they might even include a surprise dessert (I just made this part up, but you never know…)