Conscious and discriminating diners have discovered a “home away from home” at Essensia Restaurant at The Palms Hotel, and guests look forward to seasonal menu changes almost as much as Chef Julie Frans and her team do. No matter what the season, guests can always count on food that is clean, ingredient-focused, fresh, healthfully prepared, naturally colorful, and globally inspired. Essensia Restaurant has launched summer menus, featuring a variety of locally sourced produce, sustainably raised and/or caught meats and seafood, and featured produce grown and picked straight from the Chef’s edible garden.
Summertime presents unique challenges for farm-to-table chefs in South Florida, as growing season runs Oct-May. Chef Frans, who depends on locally grown ingredients, gets creative during summer months to keep local influence, working with local foragers, specialty farms, and featuring local ingredients like seafood and artisenal products. And, in the case of Chef Frans at Essensia, The Palms’ onsite garden definitely helps ensure the ability to use local herbs and greens through the summer months.
Essensia’s summer menu offers dishes that feature as many locally sourced ingredients as possible, including Gulf Caught Corvina, crusted in macadamia nuts and served with coconut saffron sauce and local mango compote. The Grilled Natural Flat Iron is enhanced with a garden herb chimichurri, blending fresh picked oregano and parsley, picked from the Chef’s garden. Locally crafted “Proper Sausage” shows up on the menus in the form of Lamb Sausage Sliders, paired perfectly with cherry chutney and cucumber – Greek yogurt sauce, and Gnocchi with Proper Romagna Sausage. Save room for dessert, as the Coconut Lime Semifreddo infuses garden picked kaffir lime leaf and lemongrass with ginger and coconut, and is topped with local mango and candied macadamia nuts.
Not everything changes, as many dishes are favorites to returning guests, including the Signature Kale Caesar, which incorporates garden grown kale, and Signature Snapper that features locally caught snapper, cooked with tomatoes and castlevetrano olives, and served with aztec quinoa and grilled peppers. Some of last summer’s favorites also return, like Grilled Key West Shrimp, paired with mango and aji amarillo sauce.
Essensia’s summer menu follows suit with previous menus and it’s adaptability to vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, and dairy free diets. Cuisine is prepared with fresh, high quality ingredients, never processed or mysterious products. Vegetarian dishes vary, and include favorites like Signature Eggplant Parmesan, featuring roasted red pepper puree and kale pesto, and Sprouted Organic Tofu Skewer, served with turmeric and coconut rice and seared snap peas. Gluten Free diners will delight in finding that our menus are mostly gluten free, and most other selections can be easily be modified to adapt to dietary needs. Try the Israele Quinoa Salad, featuring grilled haloumi cheese and harissa-tahini vinaigrette, or Tandoori Spiced Natural Chicken Breast with Saffron Rice and Mango Chutney Sauce.