By Jessica Tuggle
VERO BEACH -- Date night at Dockside Grille in Vero Beach can be intimate and romantic or exciting and full of energy.
Located in Royal Palm Pointe, the four-year-old restaurant has made a definite impact on the community with its high-quality seafood, excellent waterside location and friendly atmosphere.
With an engaging hostess and a kind waitress, a good first impression was easily made on a recent trip to the dining establishment.
The classy restaurant has framed pictures on the walls with a definite nautical theme and the polished wooden floors lend a touch of sophistication.
The appetizer dish of a trio of crab cakes served on a long white rectangular plate was both attractive and delicious. The cakes were lightly breaded and seasoned and very tender.
Dinner prices range from a more-than-reasonable $9 to more than $26.
There are several items on the "dine for $9" menu, including a half-pound burger grilled to order. The large burger can be topped with cheese, bacon or mushrooms and comes to the table piled high with tomatoes and lettuce.
A side order of sweet potato fries was a special treat for a more unusual side order. The fries were hot and not too crunchy and definitely sweet.
Parmesan-encrusted grouper in a lemon caper sauce was also cooked to perfection, making the delicate white fish easily cut with a fork. The seasoning on the side of rice was an excellent complement to the seafood order, as were the colorful medley of vegetables on the plate.
The wide and padded chairs indoors mean between courses guests can sit back and relax and converse with each other during the meal without feeling hurried, uncomfortable or stiff.
Outside, the patio is filled with tables and chairs for guests who want to take full advantage of dining on the waterside.
There are umbrellas to block the sun and outdoor heaters to warm guests on chillier nights.
Guests who arrive at the restaurant via watercraft, whether kayaks or larger boats, receive a 10 percent discount on their meal, said Marie Williams, restaurant manager.
The restaurant's docks can hold about 10 boats at a time, she said.
Recently, the restaurant has been able to offer a new service to the community by opening its menu and services to cater outside the confines of the restaurant.
The restaurant has long been a choice location for small wedding parties and rehearsal dinners, but now the quality food and service is available to locations around the community, Ms. Williams said.
Cocktail, bartending, other rental equipment and linens, as well as complimentary party planning are offered in addition to choice food.
"Catering events gives the customers more options together and it can save money and time because it's like one-stop shopping," Ms. Williams said.
Dockside Grille is located at 41 Royal Palm Pointe, Vero Beach. For more information, call (772) 569-6865 or visit www.facebook.com/docksidegrille.