Margarita making and delectable new menu at Ilios

Commencing the evening with a waterfront mixology experience on their outdoor rotunda was a great way to kick things off at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort’s Cocktail Experience and Dinner.

Margarita making station

The resort’s Director of Operations Christian Dammert gave us all the background on the tequila we’d be using. He then taught us how to make a fresh margarita mix and the proper way to shake away to make the perfectly chilled cocktail.

Rimmed glass ready for shaking

With cocktails in hand we proceeded to the private dining room of their restaurant Ilios for an exclusive look at their new Fall menu items. Executive Chef Nicole Rhone created a dynamite selection that showcased all their highlights and Mr. Dammert carefully curated the wine pairings.

Presented first was a gorgeous charcuterie board with a variety of meats, cheeses and olives that made the ideal starter to the meal.

Scallops and pork belly

Next were the seared diver scallops with Asian-infused pork belly beautifully presented atop a chestnut puree. The scallop and pork belly were equally succulent.

A crisp, refreshing Mediterranean salad followed made with peppery arugula, bright fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, hearty garbanzo beans, salty kalamata olives and feta cheese, all tossed in a preserved lemon dressing.

The tender bite after bite octopus a la plancha had the perfect char and was delightful with shaved fennel, juicy blistered cherry tomatoes, briny capers and a citrus finish.

Next, it was time for a palate cleanser, an ice cold granita made with prosecco and lime zest, served over a single fresh raspberry. Icy deliciousness.

The delicate pan seared Florida snapper, served with sauteed little neck clams, smoked bacon and sea beans over a fire roasted tomato sauce was light and hit all the right notes. The clams and smoked bacon played well together and the sea beans added a nice bite and color.

Key lime pie, chocolate cake, mango topped cheesecake

Finally, the dessert was a trio of classics prepared in individual portions and presented in a way the each one shined on its own.

Having Executive Chef Rhone and Mr. Dammert introducing each course and wine pairing made the evening that much more special. Their passion showed in their smiles as they described each course. They’re both at the top of their game, you should definitely go pay them a visit.

Ilios in the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, 505 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale (954) 414-2222



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