Raintree Shrimp and Steakhouse
Not Your Normal Restaurant Experience
102 San Marco Avenue, St. Augustine, FL / www.raintreerestaurant.com
by Innkeeper Megan Stephens
Edited by Jamie Narehood
I’m ashamed to say, that although I grew up in this town, I’d not been to the Raintree Restaurant or experienced its dinner theatre until now.
I have always thought it a beautiful home at 102 San Marco Avenue--a yellow Victorian house with broad porches and black shutters—a section of town that was once an orange grove and where, sadly, many of the other historic buildings have been demolished to facilitate our burgeoning tourist town.
The Raintree boasts multiple dining areas, including an interior garden atrium, traditional Victorian dining room with a fireplace, and a beautiful outdoor courtyard that features a koi fountain and gazebos. The upstairs room in which we dined was quite warm and cozy, with a beautiful Christmas tree in the corner and modern décor.
My friend and I arrived and were escorted upstairs, where a little table and chair with a decanter and cigar tray were set up, in anticipation of Mr. Twain. A house salad with fresh bread and butter started things off. I chose the chicken with mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables; my friend ordered tilapia. Both were very good, but the piece de resistance was dessert--crème brulée. I do not have words to describe just how good this was! Served in ramekins with a scorched top and a fresh berry, this is by far the most scrumptious thing I have ever eaten. My friend devoured hers in record time; I made mine last as long as possible, savoring each scrumptious bite.
The minute our plates were cleared and drinks topped off, Robert Gill (aka Samuel Clemens and Mark Twain) claimed his table. Gill completely embodied Mark Twain, who we all know as the author of American classics “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “Huckleberry Finn,” but Gill’s performance introduces the man behind the words in that he shares his opinions on various subjects, anecdotes from his personal life, and a few Christmas thoughts. He ends with one of his most popular quotes, “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do …” (perhaps a quote to keep in mind when you are considering passing on the crème brulée).
I am now spoiled for any “normal” restaurant experience, and I look forward to a return visit to Twaintree (as it is known when Robert Gill is in town).
Sunday brunch (10 am to 2 pm) menu choices include huevos rancheros, frittata with chorizo, veggie and cheese omlette, eggs capresse, croquet Monsieur/Madame, warm apple crepe with crème fraiche, lobster mushroom crepe, and beef tips marsala crepe.
The dinner menu tempts with grilled pita bread pizzas, Kobe beef burgers, mesquite blackened fish sandwich, grilled salmon salad, grilled sausage and house made sausage, lasagna puttanesca, capellini pomodoro, veal San Marco, crisp-roasted half duckling, grilled lamb chops, New Zealand rack of lamb, Beef Wellington, filet mignon béarnaise, and brandy pepper steak, to name a few.
On the dessert bar you might find warm chocolate dome cake with banana ice cream and macadamia nut brittle; Reese's peanut butter cookie sandwiched with cappucino ice cream caramel and chocolate; Bourbon Street bread pudding served warm with vanilla ice cream; or chocolate mousse served on raspberry and chocolate sauce. If you love ice cream drinks, you'll love your choices -- Old-fashioned Root Beer Float, Nutty Irishman with Bailey's and Frangelico, Brandy Alexander with dark Creme de Cacao, a grasshopper with Creme de Menthe and White Creme de Cacao, or maybe French Nut with Amaretto and Grand Marnier.
Entertainment features include “Happy New Year with Mark Twain” on Sunday evenings in January; “Murder in the Olde City” on Sunday evenings in February; “Wives and Lives of Henry Flagler” on Sunday evenings in March; and live musical performances on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Whether you live in St. Augustine or are planning a visit, I highly recommend taking the time to go to Raintree, even if just for the crème brulée. And of course if you’re just visiting, consider this St Augustine bed and breakfast as your lodging host! Bayfront Westcott House Bed and Breakfast—we’ll coordinate your every wish and spoil you every second!