SANDESTIN — One of the area’s most upscale restaurants has gotten even better, thanks to a recently completed $1 million renovation and an updated menu.
Each winter, Seagars Prime Steaks and Seafood in the Hilton Sandestin Golf Resort & Spa closes for about a week for a thorough deep cleaning, some preventive maintenance and minor renovations.
But for the first time in years, the restaurant closed down for a month starting Jan. 2 to complete a major renovation that included overhauling the bar and piano area, bringing in new furniture and dishes and updating the look of the restaurant.
“They’ve done some really neat things to keep that steakhouse look and feel, but added some more modern feel and touches,” said Karen Cooksey, marketing director for the Hilton Sandestin.
Seagars opened in 1998. From the beginning it was designed to be a classic upscale New York steakhouse.
The restaurant reopened on Feb. 4 after the work with a new private dining area that allows couples to have a romantic dinner or for families to be separated from the rest of the restaurant.
Seagars also purchased several iPads and has a specialized app that details all of the more than 600 bottles of wine it offers, and evens makes recommendations based on food pairings.
Along with the renovations, Seagars unveiled a new menu when it reopened to the public.
Chef Dan Vargo joined the staff last May, and one of his main goals was to improve the seafood dishes. Vargo has added seared scamp and seared snapper to the menu. One of the most popular additions has been the pan-roasted halibut.
“For me, using something like halibut, which is a superior product, has been a win, and the feedback we’ve gotten has been great,” Vargo said.
In the past, Seagars offered only a 10 ounce filet mignon, which was either too big or too small for many customers. Vargo has created a custom-cut option that now offers 6- ounce, 8-ounce, 10-ounce and 12-ounce filets, ranging from $38 to $55.
“It gets great reception,” Vargo said. “We actually sell the most 6 ounces and 12 ounces now, which is great and a big win for us.”
A new menu exclusive to the bar and lounge area includes potato croquettes, tenderloin tips and a pork belly, lettuce and tomato sandwich.
“(Reaction to the renovations and new menu) have been wonderful from start to finish,” Cooksey said. “Some of Dan’s new dishes are just getting rave remarks from the customers on them. Everybody is excited about the renovation, everyone loves the new semi-private wine room.”