My boyfriend and I went to the Hideaway Café on Grassy Key on one of our first official dates. It was still early in the summer months, so I thought it would be a good idea to sit on the patio for our special meal.
Upon returning there last week for dinner, we laughed with owners Robert and Jacquelyn Gray, at the helm for the past twelve years, about that memorable evening when neither one of us wanting to spoil the moment, tried desperately to ignore the rivers of sweat pouring from our foreheads and making our clothing impossibly sticky.
It certainly didn’t ruin the experience as we can now look back on the memory and laugh. It was in fact here that we introduced our parents to each other. We also recently celebrated a birthday at the Hideaway with friends and family.
Though it holds special memories for us, The Hideaway is a timeless classic that should be visited on a regular basis and not reserved only for celebrations and special occasions. In fact, the Horvat family, Mike and Stephanie, owners of the Gulf View Waterfront Resort, also enjoyed a family meal out with their sons, Jack and Casey.
“We just love it here!” Stephanie explained with her mother-in-law, Susan, of Louisville, Ky.
As they clinked their water glasses in a celebratory toast, couples and families began trickling in to the quaint space overlooking the glass-flat calm water of the Atlantic Ocean.
Aptly named, The Hideaway Café is tucked behind the Rainbow Bend Resort on Grassy Key. Regularly filled with guests from area accommodations on Grassy Key, families staying at nearby Hawks Cay on Duck Key are often steered to The Hideaway for an intimate, local experience.
While Robert breezes between tables, greeting customers and explaining the evening’s specialties, his wife, Jacquelyn prepares some of the most fantastic Continental European cuisine for their guests. Atypical of a Middle Keys waiter, the staff dresses in black pants and white button-down shirts with ties; it just doesn’t seem fitting to be wearing flip-flops and shorts, but they’re welcomed. Guests at the Rainbow Bend, however, are gently asked not to enter the dining room with wet bathing suits…just another “only in the Keys” kind of signage by the front door.
Appetizers like the Escargot a la Hideaway – sautéed with fresh spinach, garlic, tomatoes and just a touch of provolone cheese – and the Norwegian Smoked Salmon are enough to make your mouth water immediately. The French Onion Soup Gratinee and Escargot a la Edison, sautéed with fresh vegetables, garlic, black pepper, cognac, and heavy cream are classic staples on their menu that touches on nearly every great geographic region of Europe.
The staff proudly hand cuts each of their steaks to order, and hungry men seeking red meat have plenty of options from which to choose. The Hideaway Rib Steak promises to be “the biggest this side of Texas” and the Steak Au Poivre is perfectly prepared as though the corns were counted out. The traditional English Beef Wellington is flawlessly consistent each time.
On this particular trip, though I usually order the Hogfish, Robert sold me on the Whole Roasted Duck, and I’m so happy he did. Roasted and rendered three times with plenty of soy sauce, garlic, and honey, this little ducky was crispy yet juicy and fantastically flavored. There’s also a Coq Au Vin on the menu, which is certain not to disappoint.
A selection of espresso and cappuccino is the perfect ending to a meal. Wrap your leftovers in a silver swan and be sure to save room for a decadent dessert selection. We particularly love the Crème Brulee and White Chocolate Cheesecake!
Robert’s extensive wine list is complemented by a fine selection of ports, and if you’re interested, he’ll certainly give you a lesson on each one.
Their motto holds true: “The only thing we overlook is the ocean.”
(L-R) Mike, Casey, Susan, Jack, and Stephanie Horvat enjoy strolling across U.S. 1 from their area resort for a family meal.
Norwegian Smoked Salmon melts in your mouth like butter.
Escargot a la Hideaway is an elegant favorite.
Aptly named, The Hideaway Café is hidden behind the Rainbow Bend Resort on Grassy Key.