From  the Grill


by Mary Frances Holleran

    It's not often that you find a restaurant that becomes "your special place", one that you are reluctant to share, one that you want to keep all to yourself. This is how I feel about Courtine's. Housed in the old Bon Appetite Restaurant, the new proprietors, Michel and Laura Courtine, have given the restaurant new life, restoring it in an area of Stuart that is not easy to find. The restaurant is tucked away beneath the new Roosevelt Bridge, and to find it, coming from the south, you must travel the old Roosevelt Bridge. The trip is definitely worth it! A visit to Courtines is a must if you are looking for  culinary excellence, as well as dining intimacy, in a restaurant that combines traditional elegance with a comfortable coziness.

     For Laura and Michel Courtine, this restaurant is the culmination of a lifetime of experience. A native of Switzerland and a longtime restaurateur, Michel Courtine is familiar with the nuances of the consummate dining experience and is concerned with the tastes and appetites of his diners, using recipes and techniques that are tried and true. If there is a special dish that's not on the menu, simply call ahead and Michel will make it for you. "It's really a matter of what I love, and cooking fine food, and its presentation, is what I love to do," says Michel.

  Chef Michel Courtine, with many years of experience both here and abroad, specializes in French Continental cuisine and combines American favorites with some of his own innovative creations. The menu boasts some tried and true favorites of the chef, including Long Island Duck a l'orange, oven roasted, honey basted, and served with a Grand Marnier sauce; Lamb Shank Bordelaise, braised in a rich red wine sauce; Filet Mignon Courtine, stuffed with Gorgonzola, fresh spinach and served with a port wine sauce; New Zealand rack of lamb; and Mustard Crusted Pork Tenderloin. From the sea: Baked Shrimp Wellington (one of my favorites), Michel's Jambalaya, Shrimp and Salmon, Dolphin ala George, Salmon Florentine, and Mustard Crusted Snook. Nightly specials are offered.

     Laura has paid special attention to every decorating detail, selecting the china, flowers, linens and artwork. She is responsible for the inviting ambiance of the interior. During the course of the evening meal, Laura and Michel usually chat with their guests and inquire about the satisfaction of the meal.

     It's always good to call for reservations. There is a lighter menu available in the bar, for more casual dining. Also,an outside courtyard offers alfresco dining when weather permits.  Courtine's offers an extensive wine menu, including selections from France, California, and Chili, as well as fine California house wines at moderate prices.

     I hate to give away good secrets, but for exceptional dining in a relaxed atmosphere, visit Courtine's.