There Back! Chef Yannick Martin and Valarie! Almost 20 years ago the most talented chef ever to hit the Treasure Coast, Yannick Martin was plating fantastic French delicaticies to sophisticated diners at his name sake restaurant Chez Yannick on Vero’s South Beach. Then for the past 18 years Chef Martin and his perky wife Valarie were the proud owners of Café du Soir, bringing their faithful sophisticates with them. As fate would have it they lost their lease at Café du Soir in 2005 and with possible retirement on their minds Chef Yannick and Val were giving some thought to returning to Yannick’s native France as their new home. Now here is the best part. Boris Gonzalez son of Jorge and Leonor Gonzalez (developers of the Moorings) was really on the ball; he snagged the dynamic duo, Chef Martin and Valarie just in the nick of time to preserve fine dining on the Treasure Coast for the foreseeable future at his new Masion Martinique Restaurant. What is Masion Martinique, you ask? Well it is the very spot were Chef Martin started, here in Vero, Chez Yannick on South Beach.
What a relief? O yes, we have some fine restaurants here on the Treasure Coast but nothing quite as fine as a restaurant with Chef Martin’s culinary skills. The original Chez Yannick has been masterfully transformed into a cozy Caribbean Island feel with soaring bamboo ceilings and a wall coloring called “roseland”. Imagine a red rose, that will give you an idea of the color scheme. Gone is the great Boston Opera chandelier. When I asked Val where it was she said “it was either me or the chandelier and here I am, perhaps it’s on eBay somewhere”. “It just didn’t fit the new tropical theme”. There is also a wonderful piano bar on the second floor accessed by an elevator located in the back of the building. The bar is known as Havana Nights, here you will find live music and a menu of lighter fare, including Spanish Tapas, and French Appetizers’. Weather permitting try al fresco dining on the terrace.
Am I putting Masion Martinique at the top of the Treasure Coast fine dining list? You bet I am. Why? Because Chef Martin and Valarie have withstood the test of time. I have been reviewing their restaurants for over 30 years starting at the Ocean Village in the 70’s and the View in Fort Pierce. They “Consistently” deliver the finest dining experience year after year, decade after decade. Give me a confortable engaging setting, knowledgeable friendly service, fine food and excellent wine and you will see me time and time again. This is what Masion Martinique is doing Tuesday through Saturday evenings.
Now for Chef Martin’s preparations last night, I had for an Hors d’Oeuvres, Cassolette d’Escargots ( Sauteed Snails with Mushrooms, Shallots, Garlic, Thyme and Cream. For a salad I had the La Salade de Celeri Rave (Celery Root). This is another signature dish that is always on Chef Martin’s menu. I strongly suggest you try it. I promise you will order it again and again. For my entree I had Roast Duck in an excellent orange sauce, perfectly prepared, very tender with a light crisp skin and no grease to be found. This special orange sauce is a Chef Yannick secret. Was my dinner good? NO, it was great! Half way through dinner we were making plans to return.
The only slight disappointment was the starter wine list. Val is pushing hard to get it in shape for the upcoming season, however at this writing August 2007 she is about 25% there. She hopes to have a selection of about 100 varieties. This is down from the 300 at Café du Soir. However we had no problem finding an appropriate wine for dinner even with the somewhat limited list. We chose a Keenan 2005 Chardonnay that was wonderful. What does it cost? As you must expect this is not an inexpensive restaurant. Four of us spent $360.00 including two bottles of wine and a $60.00 gratuity.
Dr. Molly Snell and Val Martin
Dress nicely, we say "country club casua"l. I wore a jacket, but it isn’t necessary. Masion Martinique Restaurant 1601-5 South Ocean Drive, Vero Beach, Florida 32963 Phone 772-231-7299 on the internet www.masionmartinique.com . Click below to go directly to the web site.
Directions: I-95 to Vero Beach, Exit 147, State Road 60. Follow S.R. 60 E. to Indian River Blvd. approximately 8 miles. Right on Indian River Blvd. 3 Blocks south to 17th St. Causeway. Left on 17th St. Cswy. E. over bridge. Cross A1A, continue until you dead end at S. Ocean Dr. Right on South Ocean Dr. 2 blocks. The Caribbean Court and Maison Martinique are on the west side of Ocean Dr. between Jasmine and Sandpiper lanes.