Based on favorable TripAdvisor reviews, my wife and I went to the Purple Onion for supper last Saturday. This restaurant is located in an unassuming strip center on St. Augustine Beach. It's small, with no more than 20 tables. We had made "reservations" (which actually only gives you priority for the next available table once you arrive) but were seated as soon as we arrived. Our server was prompt and efficient.
While waiting for our appetizers, we were given the obligatory fresh bread with garlic-infused olive oil for dipping. The bread was slightly sweet and didn't seem like a good candidate for dipping in the olive oil, which had a light, non-garlicky taste. For an appetizer, we chose the Sundried Tomato Pesto Flatbread, a tasty, tomatoey-cheesy concoction hung on a large plank of flatbread. The salad greens were acceptable, the customary field greens or baby spinach. The dressing for my baby spinach salad was an intriguing melange of candied pecans, apples, crispy bacon, & warmed brie. Actually, I think the brie was so warm that it melted away, since all I saw if it was the rind. It all did make for a tasty dressing, though.
At just the right time the entees arrived. I really wanted to get the Sesame Seared Scallops, but selected the tuna entree instead. I really love tuna well-prepared, so I'm a little picky, quality-wise. My Blackened Ahi Tuna did not disappoint. It was served rare, with just the right amount of peppery spice seared in, and served with just enough ginger soy sauce, shredded ginger & wasabi to please most diners. The jasmine rice was subtly sweet; the wok seared vegetables buttery and tasty. My wife had the catch of the day. The mahi was blackened just right, done with a lighter touch appropriate to the milder taste of the mahi. She really liked the mango chutney it came with. Her side dish was delicious, Asparagus with Almond Picada.
After all that delicious food, we certainly didn't have room for dessert. But we did talk to Deidre, one of the owners, who was gracious enough to take time to speak with us in the midst of what had become a busy evening. We never felt rushed while we were there. The place had a low-key, locals-eat-here vibe, and the prices were friendly, too. My wife and I agreed that it was the best meal we'd had in some time. HIGHLY recommended!
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