Aviles Street is one of St. Augustine’s oldest — narrow and cobbled. At No. 6 is a sophisticated urban fine-dining establishment that manages to segue gracefully into the 21st century. Welcome to Cellar 6.
For native-born, Flagler educated Craig Colee, Cellar 6 is his seventh restaurant. The décor is warm and sleek. Barn wood well over 100 years old gives a nod to the traditional. Red accents add a layer of sultry to the lights-turned-down atmosphere.
Open since 2011, the fine-dining establishment offers continental urban cuisine. You will find gourmet shrimp, scallop, steaks and pasta dishes on the iPad menu. Vegetarian and gluten-free meals are also available.
Cellar 6 has a robust wine menu, five different types of champagne and a host of creative martinis.
The in-house temperature-controlled wine cellar holds 1,000 bottles.
As an incentive, Cellar 6 will deduct the cost of parking from your meal when you park in the lot behind Trinity Episcopal church.
Q&A WITH OWNER CRAIG COLEE AND CHEF MATTHIEU LANDILLON
How would you describe the restaurant’s atmosphere?
Loungy and upscale. A night spot where you can come in and feel like you are in a cosmopolitan restaurant with quiet, southern appeal. I’ve brought in 120-year-old barn wood for the bar. The menus are on lit iPads, which puts us on the cutting edge.
What is your food philosophy?
Food is magic, but unlike a magician we don’t trick you. I see it in my dreams and I am picky. I bring food back to its roots. There is a lot of fancy crazy food being made, but do they know how to make a traditional sauce?
What types of cuisine do you specialize in?
Continental, urban cuisine with ethnic undertones. I’ve been here a little over a year and have retooled the menu. We have pan-seared scallops, shrimp and grits, vegetarian pasta primavera and the revered filet mignon. You will find the traditional baked brie and brushetta for continental appetizers. To complement the menu, I create two to three special dishes a week.
What is your signature dish?
The shrimp and grits entree [with a twist]. It is four pan seared jumbo sea scallops served with a citrus sauce served over cheddar cheese grits alongside okra and andouille sausage and Cajun diced peppers. I’ve taken a Cajun staple and added an urban interpretation.
What would you recommend for a first timer?
I ask where are they from, what do they like? If they are from Texas, I’d suggest the filet mignon or the Angus-certified New York strip. If they wanted to try our local seafood, then I’d recommend the shrimp and grits. It all depends. The entire menu is excellent.