Florida Today
Toast of the Coast
By Carol Jose

   Our hearty congratulations to owners Pam and Alex Litras and Chef Erol Tugrul of Café Margaux, which was named one of  Florida Trend magazine’s Golden Spoon Award winners for the second year in a row.
Five hundred top Florida restaurants are selected annually as worthy competitors, Alex Litras explained, but the actual Golden Spoons are awarded only to the top 25.
“We are thrilled to be recognized among the best in the state,” he said.  “Exceeding quest expectations is our primary focus.” I was fortunate to be among such guests recently when the Litras and Café Margaux strutted their stuff for the Cape Canaveral Space Coast Confrerie de la Chaine des Rotisseurs at their “Puttin’ on the Ritz” 1930’s gala dinner. Kicking the Ritz up a notch were truly superb menu dishes executed by Tugrul and his staff, and terrific French wines presented by La Chaine, with excellent service throughout by the Café Margaux staff.  It was the kind of dining that La Chaine des Rotisseurs, one of the most respected gourmet societies in the world, is all about. From the opening cocktail and fresh oyster martinis with frisée; figs wrapped in prosciutto with Stilton and walnuts; smoked salmon bouchées with caper dill cream cheese; garlic and rosemary infused snails baked in puff pastry, and the sparkly Moet & Chandon Nectar Imperial, it was a grand dining night.
Dinner began with heavenly Billi-bi soup of mussels in saffron cream, with a ’97 Chateau LaVille Haut Brion from graves, and segued through a seeded goat cheese salad with sun-dried pears into a salmon and sturgeon mélange, caped in filo, sauced with Manzanilla sherry-laced Newburg.
A Puligny-Montrachet of Burgundy complemented that course.  Then peppercorn crusted duck breast with minted blood oranges and lavender honey cozied up to succulent black and white orzo risotto.
Glasses of ’96 Vigne de L’enfant Jésus, Grand Vin de Beaune, Greves were poured to “toast the roast” of duck.  La Chaine dinners usually feature flame-grilled or roasted meats or fowl.  Founded in Paris in 1950, but spawned by a group dating to the early 1200’s, its French name translates to Brotherhood of the guild of (Royal) Roasters.
The duck was followed by a crispy potato-crusted filet mignon, topped with goose liver mousse, on a pool of tarragon trumpet mushroom sauce.  Ooh, la la!  A very nice ’94 Chateau de Pichon-Longueville from Pauillac was poured.  After all that, some of us still managed to taste three wondrous chocolate desserts and a ’77 Warre’s Silver Jubilee port. If you like sharing and learning about wonderful food and wine, you’d probably enjoy being a member of the local chapter of the International Guild of Roasters.  Contact local Bailli (President) Greg Eisenmenger at 757-5211; or go to www.chaineus.org and learn more.  (Brevard’s own Joe Caruso is a national officer of La Chaine.) To dine at Café Margaux amd enjoy its regular Golden Spoon-winning fill lunch ($7.95-$12.95 served 11a.m. to 3p.m.) and/or a la carte dinner menu (soup and appetizers ($.95-$11.95 served 5 tp 9:30 p.m.), reservations are suggested.  The full menu can be viewed at www.Margaux.com