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by Marisa Olsen

Restaurant Review: A Tasting at Muse at Vanderbilt Grace Hotel in Newport, RI (aka my 100th Post)

Happy 100th birthday to Les Foodites! I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of my readers and supporters as I celebrate the 100th post. I am excited to reach this milestone and feel so grateful to share it with my loyal followers. So thank you.
I thought I'd feature a special post for this occasion. 
I recently had the opportunity to indulge in a private tasting with Chef Amanda Charbonneau at the signature Muse restaurant at the Vanderbilt Grace Hotel in Newport, RI. Chef Charbonneau recently graduated from Johnson & Wales and has been the Head Chef at Muse for several months. 

Our tasting took place in a lovely private garden at the Vanderbilt Grace. We were greeted with champagne (always a welcome "welcome"). The first dish that we tasted was a tuna tartare with red and yellow peppers, topped with bruleed feta, a hard boiled quail egg, and olive tapenade surrounding the tartare.  This was one of the best tuna tartares I have ever tasted. The tuna was so fresh and perfectly seasoned, and the accompanying grilled feta and salty tapenade were a wonderful complement. The addition of a quail egg  gave this dish even more elegance and uniqueness.
Our second course was Napa Cabbage with shaved carrots, toasted cashews, grapefruit segments, cilantro, and mint leaves. This dish was light and managed to keep a balance between the crispness of the vegetables and sweetness of the fruits and herbs. 

Our third course was a seared halibut plated over a spring onion and pea risotto, sauteed cauliflower, and a lemon beurre blanc sauce. This course really knocked my socks off. I've had several discouraging experiences with halibut of late, namely that the fish was dry and flaky. However, this rendition made me believe that halibut can indeed be delicious if given the time and attention it deserves. The fish was perfectly seared, enveloping the moist white flesh that practically melted on my fork and in my mouth. A sensual and delicate delight.
The fourth course was a sirloin steak topped with an herbed butter and served over sauteed asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes. Sounds typical, right? This preparation brought back my love for meat and potatoes. The perfect crispy, salty outer layer sealed in the juiciness of the red meat. A real crowd pleaser.

Finally, our tasting ended with a vanilla bean creme brulee served with fresh berries.  A lovely finish to our decadent tasting. 

I was so utterly delighted with our meal that I am determined to visit Muse as much as possible when back in Newport. Next time you're in Newport, RI, make sure to book a reservation at Muse . . . and give my regards to the chef! 

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