by Damon Noisette // photos by Agnes Lopez
The Beaches Town Center, where Atlantic and Neptune Beach meet at the ocean, continues to add to its roster of dining options. Restaurant Doro opened in late August, offering “New American” in the space previously occupied by Tama’s Sushi.
Culinary Institute of America-trained chef Christopher Polidoro and his wife Jessica are banking on their years of experience in the hospitality industry in Doro, their first venture together as restaurant owners.
The Polidoros worked with Starr Sanford Design to transform the space into a stunning and sleek, beach chic dining room with whitewashed wood accents and white tables and chairs. On a busy night it could conceivably be a little loud; the dining room is intimate, with only 40 seats and an open design.
Doro’s menu is seasonal and changes frequently based on what is fresh and available, inspired partly by Christopher’s time spent working at the organic farm of a friend. Diners are encouraged to order all at once from the selections split into first and second courses, with a handful of à la carte sides. The dishes aren’t named so much as they are broken down to their elements, like the seared shrimp, asparagus, poached egg and togarashi appetizer ($13). In a way it’s a shame because the coffee cured salmon, fennel, hazelnuts and raisins starter ($12) definitely deserves an alias.
The entrées run the gamut of land to sea, with highlights like the lamb ribeye, cauliflower purée, glazed carrots and charmoula ($29) and the grilled snapper, raw tomato, Brussels sprout leaves and roasted olives ($25). The albacore tuna, eggplant caviar, ratatouille, and parsley ($27) is enhanced by touches such as fresh fennel and sour cream foam. And some ingredients from off the beaten path, like steamed kohlrabi, show up to challenge what would normally be a straightforward choice, such as beef filet, cherry tomato, bordelaise and celery cream ($32).
Sides shouldn’t be an afterthought at Doro. Adding the creamy cauliflower purée ($6) or the crispy quinoa ($6)—or both—is a fantastic idea.
Doro’s desserts are also candidates for combination. The toasted angel cake with salted butter and fresh fruit jam ($8) goes well with a scoop of the house made vanilla ice cream ($4).
Parking Finding a parking space at the Beaches Town Center is notoriously difficult, so consider using the valet (free with validation) or take the first spot you happen to find.
Reservations With limited seats, reservations are highly recommended. You can make a reservation via OpenTable.
Libations Beer and wine are available, with a solid wine list and some local beers from San Marco’s Aardwolf Brewery on tap. Diners can bring their own wine and pay a corkage fee of $36.
Restaurant Doro 106 1st St., Neptune Beach 853-6943 restuarantdoro.com