Where: 200 Barton Blvd., Rockledge
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11:30¤a.m. to 10¤p.m. Friday and Saturday; bar stays open later; closed Sunday
Other: If you are trying wine, consider the Wine Lovers’ Platter, described as: “Our delicious paté made in house with chicken livers blended with wild mushrooms and cognac coupled with our roasted garlic, nut crusted cheese spread.” It comes with apple slices, grapes and crackers for $16.
The owners of Cocoa Village watering hole Murdock’s have opened a different kind of restaurant in an unexpected, but hopeful, location. It’s Vintage 56, in a nondescript shopping center off newly refurbished Barton Boulevard, where Rockledge officials are setting the stage for a renaissance.
Vintage 56 is a very good start, with casually elegant surroundings and a diverse menu that ranges from small plates to flatbread pizzas, sandwiches and serious entrees.
The red interior and art-deco wine posters suggest this is a wine bar, though the wine list isn’t particularly extensive. There are some nice choices, however, that complement the varied menu.
I’ve made two visits, once with a crowd, and another with a companion. Both times service was attentive, and we even spotted a beloved waiter we knew from another favorite restaurant.
If the dishes we tried sound like a laundry list, it’s because the menu lends itself to sampling. The Brick Oven Rustic Flats — the flatbread pizzas — come in 10¤combinations, or design your own, for $7 to $10. The Fungi, featuring vodka sauce, cheese and three types of mushrooms, is fun and flavorful but conventional enough for the unadventurous. The more daring will be rewarded by the complex flavors of the Mediterranean, with pesto, goat cheese, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, kalamata olives, pepperoncinis and pancetta.
The pizza is more than a meal, but share it so you can try some of the other dishes. My companion and I loved the rich, salty taste of the Oysters Rockefeller with Brie ($9). That’s from the Small Plates menu; one of the very small plates, but a simple, fun complement to other dishes, was the olives ($5) — that is, a mix of green olives stuffed with blue cheese, anchovies or almonds.
Our group shared the Artisanal Cheese Board ($18), with a pleasant selection of cheese, chutney, dried fruit and candied pecans.I’d be happier to get my cheese in sliceable chunks, but the little pieces were OK.
In the fun plates department, aka A Touch of Glass, several appetizer-size combos are served in martini glasses. We tried the Ahi Tuna Martini ($10), which was more about the salad of tomatoes, avocado, greens and wasabi soy vinaigrette than the bitefuls of tuna mixed in, and the Drunken Thai Shrimptini ($9), highlighted by large shrimp in a sweet Thai chili sauce.
The restaurant was out of the lobster bisque, which seems to be on everyone’s menus these days, but my companion and I liked the pancetta-accented Heirloom Tomato Stack ($8) and loved the hearty Bleu Cheese Chopped Salad ($8), with more delicious candied pecans.
Also tried around the table, with pleasure: the Porterhouse Pork Chop ($18), which is among the house specialties of duck, chicken, lamb and steak; and the Muffuletta ($8), a fine sandwich, if not as good as the one at New Orleans’ Central Grocery. We didn’t even get to the pasta.
What’s nice about a menu like this? If you aren’t thrilled by one thing, chances are the next one will make you happy. We found a lot to be happy about at Vintage 56, and it’s a welcome addition to the neighborhood.
Contact Kridler at 321-242-3633 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Restaurant review: Vintage 56
Savor diverse menu at casually elegant Rockledge restaurant
By Chris KridlerSpecial to Metromix
August 13, 2009
- Critic's Rating:
Where: 200 Barton Blvd., Rockledge