If you’re looking for the perfect place for a special occasion in Stuart, or you just like fine dining, Chop House 88 is the place for you. I consider it somewhat of a hidden gem. It’s location in Plantation Plaza doesn’t prepare you for the experience that awaits you when you pass through its modest portal.
The restaurant has been completely renovated. To the right of the reception area is a beautiful bar. To the left is the dining area. Seating is comfortable and the décor is relaxing, stylish and elegant all at the same time—without that 70’s steakhouse look. Even the restrooms give a sense of comfort and charm.
The experience starts with great service—drink orders were promptly taken and delivered. There is an ample wine list from which to choose, and our server, Ty, was happy to recommend a nice Cabernet. He also brought us a basket of crusty sourdough bread, served with butter and a plate of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. For a touch of whimsy, he drew a smiley face in our olive oil with the balsamic vinegar, and it was well-deserved, as this combination with the sourdough bread gave us another thing to smile about. The oil was earthy and fruity, the balsamic adding the perfect touch of tangy sweetness. But Ty wasn’t just cheerful, he was also knowledgeable and perfectly attentive.
We each ordered a crock of French onion soup. Hearty and delicious with that same homemade sourdough bread topped with cheese. My husband ordered the salmon of the day with a fried egg on top. The smokiness of the salmon combined perfectly with the egg. It was served with mashed potatoes and a vegetable. I ordered the braised short ribs with demi-glace, served with wood-smoked grilled asparagus and feta risotto. My husband is a great chef, and his short ribs are a joy to behold, but I have to say, this was one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever eaten. And unlike the haute cuisine of years past, the meals were generous in portion—we each had leftovers for another meal.
Chop House 88 has become my new special occasion restaurant. I have heard they have an early bird special which I’d like to try for a not-as special occasion and I’m going to give it a try because I really don’t want to wait.
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