Lovely scenery and good German cuisine add up to romantic dining in Melbourne Beach
It seems a little incongruous, the good hearty cuisine of Germany’s Rhineland served amid the tropical scenery of Melbourne Beach, moreover, with the name “Café Coconut Cove.”
But the river landing site and dock once used by fishermen for access to the ocean, later abandoned, works well for the Himmeroeder family, its proprietors since 1987, and they have transformed what once was “Gray’s Landing” and “Charlie’s Landing” into one of the Space Coast’s most inviting – and romantic – restaurants.
“Oh, people do love it because it is romantic,” says Renee Hartley, a member of the Himmeroeder family and manager of the restaurant. “It is very popular at Valentine’s Day, so much so that we open an hour earlier. It has great ambience for couples.”
It is not gigantic, nor is it even open for lunch, but its views of the Indian River Lagoon are stunning, with a riverfront patio as well as indoor dining, all done with propriety, though no over-formality. The food is classic European, with a Rhenish twist imparted by a chef (Franz-Peter Himmeroeder) whose family operated a meat market and restaurant in historic Aachen for generations.
Appetizers include liver pate, mushroom toast (sautéed mushrooms served with horseradish sauce and toast), smoked fish dip and potato pancakes served with apple compote and sour cream.
Entrees are what you seek in a good German-style restaurant: rouladen, sauerbraten, goulash (gulasch), schnitzels and sausage plates, complete with potato puffs (a specialty of the house) and red cabbage where appropriate. There are variations too, like the pineapple melt schnitzel, in which has two pieces of pork tenderloin are breaded and sautéed, then topped with asparagus, melted cheese and, of course, pineapple.
Café Coconut Cove does not leave it at things Teutonic, however, as various filets and a Delmonico steak are served, as are seared tuna, pork shank and chicken dishes. Seasonal specials also are popular.
Its lush desserts are reflective of the restaurant’s heritage, with Black Forest cake and strudel, of course, but also a fine lemon curd and meringue concoction as well as a flourless, white and dark chocolate torte filled with raspberry.
In the end, it does not seem incongruous at all, but intimate, relaxing and overall, wunderbar: a terrific place to consider for that Valentine’s Day dinner.
Café Coconut Cove
Address: 4210 Highway A1A, Melbourne Beach
Phone: (321) 727-3133
Web site: www.cafecoconutcove.com
Hours: 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; 4 to 10 p.m. Valentine’s Day
Prices: Entrees $14-$29
Other: Reservations are not accepted. Imported beers and wines, including champagnes, ports and sherries, are served