I sat down to dinner with long-lost friends I was meeting for the first time. Our table overlooked the water and the lights flickered over the waves.
Transporting guests is a passion of Operations Manager for New Concepts, Miguel Estevez-Gonzales. “You have to love what you do or you’d better stay at home.” He says with an enormous, sincere Spanish smile. He exudes a positive energy that is contagious.
Miguel comes to
His philosophy is simply based on four essential ingredients to restaurant management: Ambiance, food, service and entertainment. “If one is missing, none of the others matters.” He mentions “entertaining the guest” often. “Don’t ever forget you are on a stage.” He wants people to feel like they belong; like the restaurant is someplace where they can come to relax and feel at home. “I love people. I want to put soul into the restaurant. We want to be proud of it.”
His methods translate through the ranks. He uses positive energy and a hands-on approach to training. “Some people think your work stops when you become a manager, but that is when the work starts.” He gladly empowers staff members and gives incentives, but warns that quality must be consistent. “I don’t want to hear the same old, ‘thank you sir/maam.’ I want servers to have a personal approach, to be welcoming. You don’t call a 25-year old customer, ‘Sir’ for example. We do it right or we don’t do it at all. Let’s entertain people! I don’t believe in advertising a product. I believe in advertising who you are.”
Corporate Chef Souhail Ahmad shouldn’t need to advertise his product. His creations don’t just speak to you, they sing. Souhail has been in
Their pride was apparent in presenting an enormous amount of some of the best seafood I have ever tasted - anywhere in the world. The new paella dish at Seven Seas puts all other paellas anywhere to shame. “It serves two,” says Miguel; but two of what? The portion is enormous (large enough to easily serve four) and like all the other seafood we were presented, perfectly cooked and arranged artistically, but not over-the-top. In my thirteen years in
But it was a hard choice to determine a favorite, really. All the dishes were fantastic and memorable: appetizers of tender shrimp in a finely minced mango salsa, eggplant layered with ricotta and tomatoes, drizzled with fresh pesto sauce; a side of grilled asparagus with lemon; entrees of fish stew of balool (baby hamoor or grouper) in a light saffron-based sauce served in a terracotta dish, and an amazing rock-salt encased wild British sea bass that was professionally cut by first peeling back the skin to reveal fish cooked to perfection. This was all followed by a sampling of cakes; outstanding berry cheesecake (which Miguel thought was “too strong”, but I found to be just right) and an orange pound cake which was light and soft.
We ate a tremendous amount of food for a single setting. The other items on the new menu sound equally as spectacular as the food we “sampled”: battered cod and hand-cut olive oil chips, poached salmon with rocca and dill yoghurt, fresh rock oysters with shallot vinegar sauce, beluga caviar. The restaurant has kept their seafood display of fresh fish cooked in as-you-like-it styles accompanied by a variety of sauces. And – much to my delight - someone has finally come up with interesting salads in
Our dinner time flew by. We were there for almost three and a half hours, but didn’t realize it. We felt so at ease and completely comfortable - as if we had known Miguel all our lives. He had, quite obviously, accomplished his mission of making us feel at home with friends; transported away from worries of the day. Driving off, I was contentedly sleepy and full of food. I was surprised at myself as my thoughts turned to the time when I could next visit Seven Seas. It was one of those memorable dinners that I won’t soon forget. The restaurant has combination just right: Outstanding food, great service, and comfortable ambiance.
The Seven Seas is located on the seaside of the
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