'Titanic' flavor is on downtown menu

A number of St. Petersburg restaurants are resurrecting the grand dining
that could be had on the great liner.

Times Restaurant Critic

We don't eat like they did on the RMS Titanic, not in downtown St. Petersburg, not almost anywhere.

You just can't get dried spinal marrow of sturgeon in even the best fish markets, slices of which gave the Russian flavor to consomme Olga, featured on the Titanic's best menu.

Nor will most modern diners sit still for an 11-course meal -- or the bill for it.

"It was a very different time," when meals included servings of food that now seem very old-fashioned, says chef James Shields of the Heritage Grille.

But we're hungry to try them. And the renaissance in downtown dining inspired by past exhibits and future baseball games offer museumgoers a boatload of choices, including a number of meals designed with the flavor of grand dining on the great liner.

Despite the rarity of sturgeon marrow and plover's eggs, modern chefs still know the classic recipes for mousselines, potatoes Anna and other Titanic favorites, and plenty of other cooks are willing to try, using The Last Dinner on the Titanic cookbook (Rich Archbold and Dana McCauley, Hyperion/Madison Press, $24.95) as a guide.

Some local establishments will cater to museum visitors with dishes and meals of varying lengths inspired by the Titanic.

The Heritage Grille will offer Titanic specials on its daily menu ($6.50 to $9) as well as Titanic lunch menus ($9.50 to $12.50) for bus tours and other groups.

At Heimann's Restaurant, chef Reiner Heimann will include dishes from the Titanic menu on the restaurant's special prix fixe menus.

The Renaissance Vinoy Resort will offer a luncheon with a choice of historic entrees and desserts for $14.50 daily and more extensive banquet, which will start with hors d'oeuvres and end six courses later, at a cost of $60 per person. It will have grand, rich dishes such as paupiette of salmon with scallop mousseline and filet mignon with a Perigord sauce of foie gras.

The Don CeSar Beach Resort and Spa in St. Pete Beach will have seven-course Titanic dinners, complete with a string quartet playing classical music taken from programs of the time. The Don plans to cater the Titanic menu to large private groups and may also schedule banquets open to the public. The dinner, with six wines, will cost about $120 a person.

At the Garden Restaurant, which has served Russian, Egyptian and Greek specialties during other exhibits, owner Emmanuel Roux will stick to his lighter Mediterranean theme rather than incorporate heavier Continental specialties from the Titanic era. He is, however, expanding and upgrading his bar for elegant drinking.

If such extravagant dining is not to your taste or budget, don't forget that much of the food on the Titanic was familiar fare. The third-class dining room, for the servants, served roast pork, and even the top castes dined on such humble stuff as cream of barley soup.

You can experience Titanic flavor for free: Walk down to the bayfront, with or without a postprandial cigar, and pretend you're taking in the air and sea breeze on a stroll around the Titanic deck -- before it went down.

Open seating

(moderately priced)

1. AJ's Deli Cafe, 111 Second Ave. N; 821-4151. American.

2. Alfresco, Renaissance Vinoy, 501 Fifth Ave. NE; 894-1000. Seafood, water view, outdoor seating.

3. Apropos Bistro & Bar, 300 Second Ave. NE; 823-8934. Contemporary, water view, outdoor seating.

4. Arcane Chocolates & Coffee Bars, 211 Second St. S; 827-4722. Lunch, desserts, coffees.

5. Bay Gables Tea Room, 136 Fourth Ave. NE; 822-0044. Tea, lunch.

6. Benson's Antiques & Coffee Emporium, 244 First Ave. N; 823-6065. American, coffees.

7. Blimpie, 360 Central Ave., 896-5000. Sandwiches, ice cream, outdoor seating.

8. Bluemoon Cafe, 27 Fourth St. N; 895-1493. Natural foods, outdoor seating.

9. C Note Cafe, 526 Central Ave., 892-2408. American, live jazz.

10. Central Coffee Shoppe, 530 Central Ave; 821-1125. American.

11. Cha Cha Coconuts, The Pier, 800 Second Ave. NE; 822-6655. Caribbean, water view, outdoor seating.

12. Chicago Deli, 277 Central Ave.; 822-6553. Sandwiches, outdoor seating.

13. Columbia Restaurant, The Pier, 800 Second Ave. NE; 822-8000. Spanish, water view.

14. Courthouse Grill and Pizza, 536 First Ave. N; 898-3375. American.

15. Cullin's, 330 First Ave. S. Soup, salad, bread, coffees. (Opening in mid-November).

16. Dome Grill, 561 Central Ave.; 823-5090. Grill, outdoor seating.

17. The Express Gourmet, 624 First Ave. S; 896-3122. Sandwiches, salads for takeout.

18. Firehouse Bar & Grille, 260 First Ave. S; 895-4716. American.

19. Garden Restaurant, 217 Central Ave.; 896-3800. Mediterranean, outdoor dining.

20. Gaslight Deli & Sandwich Shop, 445 First Ave. N; 822-2564. American.

21. Gourmet Bagels and Pizza, 501 First Ave. N; 827-0696. Bagels, pizzas, coffees, teas.

22. Hilda La Tropicana, 320 First Ave. N; 898-9902. Cuban.

23. JJ's Soup Salad and Pizza, 405 Central Ave; 892-2300. Italian.

24. Jeff's Desserts, 300 Central Ave.; 896-9866. Desserts, meals, coffees.

25. Jo Jo's In Citta and Bella Notte, 200 Central Ave.; 894-0075. Italian, piano bar, outdoor dining.

26. Judy's, 208 Fourth St. N; 822-5542. Soups, sandwiches, salads and desserts.

27. Lisa's Yogurt, 210 First Ave N; 823-5686. Yogurt, snacks.

28. MJ Smoothy's, 8 Fourth St. N; 821-5084. Smoothies, sandwiches.

29. Lonni's Sandwiches, Etc., 133 First St. NE; 894-1944. Natural food.

30. The Moon Under Water, 332 Beach Drive NE; 896-6160. English pub, Indian and Middle Eastern foods, outdoor seating, water view.

31. #9 Bangkok Thai Restaurant, 571 Central Ave.; 894-5990.

32. Ollie's Grille, 111 Second Ave. N; 822-6200. American, waterview.

33. The Patio Grill, 270 First Ave. N; 894-4200. Greek, American, outdoor seating.

34. St. Pete Bagel, 249 Central Ave.; 822-4092. Bagels, coffee.

35. Tamarind Tree, 537 Central Ave.; 898-2115. Natural foods, outdoor seating.

36. A Taste for Wine, 241 Central Ave.; 895-1623. Wine, light foods, outdoor seating.

37. Telly's Deli, City Center, 100 Second Ave. S; 896-6175. Delicatessen.

38. Tangelo's Too, 226 First Ave. N; 894-1695. Caribbean, outdoor seating.

39. Theo's New York Deli & Bagel Emporium, 689 Central Ave.; 821-8077. Sandwiches, bagels.

Captain's table

(more expensive)

40. Bertoni, 16 Second St. N; 822-5503. Italian.

41. Camelot on the Bay, Carlton Towers Apartments, 470 Third St. S; 894-3240. American.

42. Cafe 333, St. Petersburg Bayfront Hilton, 333 First St. S; 894-5000. American.

43. Heimann's, 1 Beach Drive SE, Bayfront Tower; 827-0200. Continental.

44. Heritage Grille, 256 Second St. N; 823-6382. Contemporary, Floridian.

45. Keystone Club, 320 Fourth St. N; 822-6600. Steaks, chops.

46. Marchand's Bar & Grill, Renaissance Vinoy, 501 Fifth Ave. NE; 894-1000. Mediterranean grill.

47. Nick's on the Water, The Pier, 800 Second Ave. NE; 898-5800. Italian, seafood, water view.

48. Ovo Cafe, 515 Central Ave.; 895-5515. Contemporary, desserts.

49. Ten Beach Drive, 10 Beach Drive NE; 823-1247. Continental, piano bar.

50. Terrace Room, Renaissance Vinoy, 501 Fifth Ave. NE; 894-1000. Contemporary, seafood and pasta.

Restaurant map

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