It's been a project four years in the works. Originally slated to open in November or December 2012, S3, the newest concept from the Restaurant People -- owners of YOLO, Vibe, and Tarpon Bend -- is about to open its doors at the end of this month.
Although it's still getting its finishing touches, Clean Plate Charlie got a tour of the new digs from the Restaurant People themselves. Details and menu items after the jump.
The spot has two main entrances: one from the hotel and one directly on the street.
From the sidewalk, patrons walk right into the outdoor lounge portion of the indoor/outdoor bar. The Atlantic ocean is the backdrop to the left. Just above the sidewalk, sits two signature fire-pits juxtaposed by sensual, curvy benches in the shape of an S -- this is a recurring theme in the space, many of the fixtures incorporate the flowing lines of the restaurant's namesake.
The bar sits across from the lounge in the bottom of the hotel: situated directly in the hotel's northern circular outpost. To create a more open feel, all of the sliding doors collapse back, allowing the ocean breeze to flow through the restaurant. The entire space is open to the the outdoors. In a similar fashion to the outdoor space at YOLO, S3 feels very lounge-like. "We didn't want it to feel like a hotel restaurant," said the Restaurant People's Tim Petrillo, "We wanted the space to feel like we just popped a restaurant onto the beach."
Just south of the bar sits the main entrance. Two huge wooden doors open into one of two indoor lounges. Decked out in the same warm teak, cool grey and warm cream slate as the rest of the space, the back wall of the lounge is anchored by serene hand-painted, Asian-influenced wall paper depicting a flowing wave in oceanic blues and greens.
The main dining room sits to the left. Staircased, half-moon booths face out to overlooked the Atlantic ocean. Every seat in the house -- with the exception of the fully private dining room -- allows for ocean views.
S3 will also serve as the hotel bar. From the hotel entrance, guests are greeted by a dramatic dark-wood floating, overhead trellis. It feels like walking into a luxury resort somewhere in Southeast Asia. The hotel lobby bar sits to the right. Divided by a wall of crisscrossed bamboo rods, the dark thick-veined natural stone bar is sunk down to allow guests to sit eye to eye with the bartender. Cocktail tables off to the side gives guests a quiet place to meet or conduct business. Just like the majority of the space, it overlooks the beach.
The kitchen is a masterpiece in and of itself. Highlighted by bright red tile, stainless steel, and a warm cream-colored granite bar, it has been sunk down 6 inches to allow guests to sit eye-level with the chefs. "It's very interactive," said Petrillo, "The chefs are just as important as the servers. Everyone is interested in what happens in there: we wanted to make sure to show them."
With a wood burning oven, wood grill, sushi station, two saute stations, and pantry, it is going to be quite the operation. The restaurant will offer a selection of tapas style small plates -- intended for sharing -- large plates for the more traditional diner, and weekend brunch.
Although prices and some menu items are still being flushed out by the Restaurant Group's Peter Boulukos and Executive Chef Chris Miracolo, the menu is comprised of Miracolo's signature globally eclectic style.
Snacks include items like fresh fried donuts, preserves, and vanilla custard dunk; crisp baby artichokes with lemon caper aioli; and deviled farm eggs topped with sea salt and smoked paprika.
Sandwiches include new takes on classics such as open faced B.E.L.T., bacon, pickles, arugula, tomato, pesto mayo, and fried egg on ciabatta and short rib grilled cheese with roasted tomato, onion, and fontina on sourdough.
Tapas-style small plates covers a selection of salads and items like a dip Trio with cool cucumber, gigande bean hummus, and whipped feta served with fresh pita; mussels with taco, garlic, corn, cilantro, and lime, with grilled bread; and sushi nachos topped with spicy salmon, seared tuna, guacamole on crispy wonton.
For the sushi, the team brought in Daniel Binghak, an alumnus of Morimoto in Philadelphia and Masa in New York. The menu will contain a contemporary, clean mix of classic nigiri, sashimi, and rolls. Creatively designed rolls will include Spicy Tuna with chopped tuna, cucumber, and spicy sauce; a Rock 'n Reel filled with crab, sushi, apple pear, wasabi caviar in a crisp spring wrap, and the Lollipop with tuna, salmon, escolar, and avocado in a cucumber wrap without rice. Boulukos and Miracolo are ecstatic about Binghak joining the team. "It's exciting," said Miracolo, "It's nice when you get to relearn your craft over again."
S3 will be opening the week of April 29.
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