Azurea at One Ocean Review – 2/7/2020
Cole Slate – St. Johns, Florida
FINALLY! It seems as though the third time was a charm, with our Jacksonville Magazine Top 50 Restaurants Date Night Tour. Laura and I both loved Azurea, located in One Ocean Resort and Spa! It was only the two of us on Saturday night, and we are still waiting for you to join our foodie efforts!
The first aspect of Azurea you must learn is the dress code. At a minimum, you must be in business casual attire. This meant no shorts and flops for me- Which of course, Laura enjoyed. She also loves the excuse to dress up a tad as well.
Next, I’m not the biggest fan of driving (But mostly parking) around the beaches or historic areas of town. This is mostly due to the size of my truck, so why not have someone else do it?! I was able to take advantage of the One Ocean valet, which was complimentary, thanks to patronizing Azurea. Don’t forget to tip though!
We showed up a bit early for our reservation, this was by design though. We didn’t want to be out too late past our bedtime. Due to our early arrival, we threw off their timing a bit. We were greeted and given waters fairly soon after we were seated, but didn’t actually meet our server until we had been in our booth for about 20 minutes. This was okay though because the manager personally came and introduced himself, checked on us twice, and apologized again for our initial wait as we were leaving- Exactly how a restaurant on this list should handle such a scenario.
For thirst-quenchers, Laura stuck with her routine Pellegrino; and I got crazy with water and lime… on the rocks. Our first edibles of the night weren’t even ordered! We were first presented with a small goat cheese amuse-bouche, to cleanse the pallet. Then a small basket of different carb options (Bread) was delivered with various spreads- herb butter, salsa hummus, olive oil with balsamic, and a strawberry and goat cheese spread. We both preferred the salsa hummus but enjoyed all the options.
We ordered two starters, the grilled octopus and the pork belly. Though Laura is not a pork belly fan because it is “too fatty,” I am! The way I see it, like Paula Dean says, “Fat equals flavor!” The pork belly was great, but the grilled octopus stole the starting show! We are both big fans of grilled octopus and order it every chance we get, but this was like nothing we’ve ever tasted. The waitress informed us the octopus is marinated in red wine for a while, which is what made it so tender. We were cutting it with our fork, unlike most octopus which is quite tough. Definitely a must-try!
Our entree course ended in a fight. We both believed ours was the best! Laura is a sea bass snob. After the waitress explained that the sea bass was her favorite dish on the menu, of course, Laura had to have it. The result was Laura proclaiming her dish to be the best she has ever had! I went with the duck duo. As I said, mine was better 😜. The duo consisted of duck breast, and house-made duck sausage accompanied by a mushroom bread pudding. The fight continues…
Our stuffed stomachs result in nothing from the dessert menu, but we were delivered four pop-able truffles to conclude our meal anyways!
Laura and I are thrilled that a restaurant on this list finally exceeded our expectations. Not only that, but absolutely demolished them! As you know, my rule-of-thumb for this list is “Would I create an excuse to make the drive for this experience?” In this case, absolutely. Over…and over… again.
2. Aqua Grill
3. Chophouse 13