New chef elevates Castile's menu using French, Mediterranean influences

The waterfront eatery has announced a new bill of fare and executive chef, Nicolas Lebas.

click to enlarge Castile's new executive chef, Nicolas Lebas. - Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants
Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants
Castile's new executive chef, Nicolas Lebas.

Castile has introduced a new chef and food menu to its 2-year-old waterfront operation.

The casual-elegant dining spot inside St. Pete Beach’s Hotel Zamora, now managed by Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, recently appointed Nicolas Lebas as executive chef. Lebas — a native of Marseille, a port city in France, who’s traveled the world to hone his skills — has had stints at restaurants like San Antonio’s L’Etoile and France’s Le Relais de la Madeleine, as well as James Beard Award-winning chef John Besh’s fine-dining Luke, also in San Antonio.

Most recently chef de cuisine at Waldorf Astoria Orlando steakhouse Bull & Bear, Lebas is using the Mediterranean and Southern French influences he was exposed to at an early age to elevate Castile’s signature selection of Spanish Mediterranean eats.

“Castile showcases my love for the Mediterranean, with a great focus on the flavors and dishes found in the Iberian Peninsula of Spain and the South of France,” the executive chef said.

Now, the dinner menu offers more tapas, including fresh crudo, lamb meatballs and a cheese and charcuterie plate offering Spanish meats and cheeses like serrano ham and Manchego. The tapas lineup is also served on the hotel’s 360° Rooftop, which showcases panoramic views of Gulf of Mexico and Intracoastal Waterway.

On the entrée side, classic Spanish items like Paella Castile (shrimp, mussels, clams, snails, chorizo, salmorra) are highlighted alongside fish stew (octopus, shrimp, scallop, branzino), beef tenderloin (potato confit, charred cipollini, Rioja reduction), and romesco butter-crusted sea scallops (black risotto, piquillo pepper coulis). Tuna of Provence (potato fondant, hard cooked egg, garlic chips, olive emulsion, olive tapenade) is one of the menu’s South of France offerings.

Guests can wash down dishes with European wines or cocktails from Castile lead bartender Robby Rosello. Rosello’s specialty lineup features the new Castilian Gin & Tonic, among others.

In the new year, Lebas will roll out fresh lunch, breakfast and pool menus as well.

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