Birthday Dinner at Artist Point

Laurie is back with another review of one of her favorite restaurants…….see what she has to say about Artist Point.
I could have chosen any restaurant in Florida for dinner but none compares to Artist Point for awesome food and staff that I know can provide a memorable dinner. My favorite entrance into the lodge is through the lower entrance that leads to the pool. I enjoyed a lovely fun scooter ride past trees that brings back memories of being a girl on the living room floor playing with Lincoln logs. I scooted through the lower level entrance into Western American grandeur. There is a ramp up to the lobby that I love going down on my scooter. At the top of this ramp is a ramp up to Artist Point, bathrooms, and Territory Lounge. I went into the lobby to find a place to charge the scooter, which a nice lady from the front desk found me a plug. I love sitting in the cartoon area to watch cartoons while checking e-mail.My next stop was ice tea at the Territory Lounge and to enjoy the warm Pacific Northwest theme. Then it was down the ramp to the hostess station and back up the ramp to Artist Point. The first thing you see is a room with good but not bright lighting and hardwood floors. I walked past the hostess desk to my two top table that overlooked the trees on my right and straight ahead was the geyser and more awesome natural beauty. I was in a very comfortable chair but guests who need a bit more room can ask for the banquet seating along the wall. The banquet seating provides a bit more privacy. I like how the tables are spaced so that guests are not elbow to elbow with other guests.

What? Menu? I was too busy taking in the Northwest themed room’s artwork, decor, soaring columns, and the view out the window. The chef came by to go over my diet which I cannot have wheat gluten, most soy, and some chicken egg products. The menu is market and season driven so you never know what my be the newest item to try. I chose whiskey glaze confit natural bacon for my appetizer and the entree was half of the “Berkshire” pork tenderloin and half of the seared diver scallops. I was asked what temperature I wanted on both entrees which is rare as most places do not ask how you want your scallops done.

Out came a white rectangular plate with rolls, a tiny pot of fennel and garlic infused olive oil, and real butter. I started with the warm oil that sang of herbs that made for a delicious bite. I am a bigger fan of butter on rolls but I sat there staring at the black shining crystals of black Cypress sea salt. I later found out that this mild salt is white Cypress sea salt that has charcoal added. Black sea salt is touted as a detoxifier and deacidifier but I just know that it was a wonderful companion to the buttered rolls. I was having fun sampling the crystals of black sea salt.

I ordered the “Whiskey glaze confit natural bacon” due to the grammar and wording of the item. Is it with a glaze type of sauce or is it glazed? Normally I see “duck confit” so what is done confit style? Finally the “natural” bacon got me as how do they make natural bacon? Out came a white rectangular plate with an orange colored whipped thing and the big chunk of bacon topped with a sunny side up quail egg. I thought “silk” meant whipped but it refers to the silk squash plant that I never had before. I dived into the squash for smooth whipped squash with slivered almonds for pure squash bliss that I would love to see as a side dish. The bacon sat on a pool of sweet glaze that I sopped up with my bread. Not everyone would like the bacon because it is rather fatty like pork belly. It was pure bacon goodness that was enhanced by the glaze. The quail egg just sat there doing nothing special but for me it was so nice to eat an egg. Overall this is one dish I would love to do again.

The scallops came with corn risotto, fennel jus, 2 blistered cherry tomatoes, citrus pistou, and a huge piece of Serranno ham. The ham was not crispy but more chewy and very strong in flavor as it sat there on the plate like an oversized sail. The large chive topped large scallops were perfectly cooked. I loved that the risotto had corn for additional texture and flavor. Next I dug into cheddar polenta that was very finely ground and full of Cheddar cheese goodness. They use Beecher’s Flagship Reserve Cheddar cheese which has less moisture, more salt, and a richer taste. The Berkshire pork tenderloin was flavorful and properly cooked. On the dish were two pearl onions, black mission figs, and baby fennel each like a birthday present with its own unique experience. Overall each item on the dish was a palate pleasing treat and I cannot decide which to have again as both were BODACIOUS AWESOME.

The shock was staff bringing out flourless chocolate cake with a candle in it. HAPPY BIRTHDAY was written on the plate and a glowing Tinkerbelle was on the plate. Being alone on your birthday is not so bad when you are spoiled rotten by the staff of Artist Point. The dark chocolate cake came with a raspberry sauce. This was one of the best cakes ever with nuts, dark chocolate, and the rasperry sauce. A woman stopped to take a picture of my cake before I dug into bliss. The best part was the bacon brittle which is sweet and crunch like peanut brittle. The best part is sucking the candy off the brittle to end up with a mouthful of chewy bacon goodness. I was like a kid reveling in the soft dark chocolate then a bit of brittle then a taste of the lettering of the plate. This was the grande finale to an awesome birthday dinner. I wish they sold the bacon brittle as it was the best part of the dinner.