By David Minsky
By Nicole Danna
By Sara Ventiera
By Candace West
By Emily Dabau
By Doug Fairall
By Candace West
By Laine Doss
Zuppa di pesce, a special on the night of our visit, was vastly more flavorful, the garlicky tomato-seafood broth that soaked the huge pile of fettuccine an aromatic treat. Still, it wasn't the garlic that took our breath away: An Alaskan king crab leg and an entire buttery half of a good-size Maine lobster were perched over an ample sea of perfectly steamed mussels, with hefty portions of succulent shrimp and sea scallops hiding underneath.
Veal rollatini, another special, was a lovely preparation as well. Two fillets of veal had been breaded and stuffed with prosciutto and mozzarella, then baked in a Marsala wine-and-mushroom demi-glace. The veal was savory and rich, the mozzarella oozing from the interior and blending with the dark, rich sauce. Only one quibble: The wine didn't seem to have been cooked off completely.
The same was true of the sauce that was served with the filet mignon au poivre. The filet was perfect, a supple example of top-quality, medium-rare beef. But while I usually find the cracked black pepper in this dish too potent, here even that strong spice was overpowered by the brandy, not to mention the cream and demi-glace that made up the rest of the sauce. Fortunately the server had suggested trying the sauce on the side, and we'd taken her advice. Still, a little fine-tuning here would go a long way.
We stayed in France for chicken breast with 40 cloves of roasted garlic, a variation on the famous recipe (which calls for a whole chicken to be roasted with massive quantities of garlic). At Surrey St. Station the appellation is something of an exaggeration, but Hiles managed to get close to the actual number. The pan-fried chicken breast, skinless and boneless, was juicy as a steak, complemented rather than overpowered by the roasted garlic cloves, which added a surprisingly gentle touch.
South Florida and France both got a nod with a main course of grilled dolphin. A fresh and flaky fillet was served over a slightly creamy key lime buerre blanc that had a terrific tartness to it. Delectable. But the color, an unnatural green, was a bit off-putting; I've rarely seen key lime this vivid.
The staff and kitchen were amenable to our request to make substitutions for the "vegetable of the day" and "house potato" side dishes served with meat, poultry, and fish entrees. (And that was a good thing: The vegetable of the day turned out to be a soggy julienne of zucchini, squash, and carrots, an enormously dull dish and unrepresentative of the kitchen's creative effort.) We liked the sound of fried tobacco onions, a side dish served with a New Orleans-style veal chop, and the chef was happy to make a switch. The same went for the house potatoes, "smashed," skin-on red bliss potatoes accented with garlic; horseradish mashed potatoes sounded -- and were -- just that bit better.
Surrey St. Station makes its own desserts. Though the list -- apple pie, key lime pie, key lime fruit tart, and chocolate fudge torte -- might sound a little mundane, I can vouch at least for the worthiness of the chocolate cake, a moist devil's-food layered with cocoa butter cream.
Stephanie and Kevin Hiles have a goal: establish their restaurant as a destination, then think about turning it into a bed-and-breakfast. As far as I'm concerned, that's two strikes against spending time with Mom and Dad. Maybe I'll just write them a letter. Or better yet send them a plane ticket. Who really needs a Jersey inn when there's one right here in Jupiter?
Surrey St. Station. 16891 Jupiter Farms Rd., Jupiter, 561-746-2331. Lunch Tuesday-Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; dinner Tuesday-Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m.; Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner from 5 to 9 p.m.
Fried sweet potato spears
Zuppa di pesce