Chef Tibor Andrejszky was born in Hungary and learned his culinary skills in Budapest. For 10 years now, he has been the head chef at Citron Bistro in Vero Beach. Since the restaurant is celebrating its 10th anniversary, Andrejszky says, “I was here from day one.”
He notes that Citron Bistro began as a café; however, there was an immediate demand for a bigger menu, and after just the first month, it expanded to being a restaurant. That meant the team was developing a menu and hiring new employees during a time frame in which most new businesses are just hoping to stay in the game. Was it intimidating?
“It was a little bit challenging,” Andrejszky admits, especially with finding staff. “But we managed. The owners are great people, and I was able to get a good crew.” In fact, some of the current staff have been there for eight or nine years—most of the restaurant’s history.
Andrejszky found it interesting to adjust his style of cuisine for Vero Beach. “Seafood is very popular in this area,” he notes. That goes for local favorites like conch as well as cold-water fish like salmon. Andrejszky cites his pepper bacon jam–crusted salmon, served with potato hash, asparagus, and a red pepper sauce, as a marquee dish.
“For lunchtime, we have lots of interesting salads with different combinations,” he says. Examples include a crab cake salad, a pear salad, and a curry apple chicken salad. The homemade desserts are also popular. “Some people come in just for the bread pudding.” Weekend brunches are another distinctive feature of the restaurant. Brunch at Citron Bistro is not a buffet; it is à la carte, with the choices freshly prepared.
Looking back on his culinary education in Budapest, Andrejszky recalls that the culinary school he attended had its own restaurant; after a brief period of classroom studies, that was where most of the education took place. “It was like on-the-job training,” he says, adding with a laugh, “Of course, whoever came into the restaurant took a risk, but they knew we were there to learn.”
Andrejszky still believes that kind of hands-on training is the best way to learn culinary arts. “You can read about it in a book, but when you have the flames of the stove next to you, that’s a different story.”
For 10 years, that practical and insightful training has served him well in Vero Beach—and there’s no doubt it will continue to do so.
Appetizer: Shrimp Bruschetta
This recipe reflects the love of seafood that Chef Andrejszky notes as characteristic of Vero Beach.
- 1/2 lb. large shrimp (16–20)
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 oz. white wine
- 2 oz. chicken broth
- 3 oz. unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp. each fresh basil and parsley
- 1/4 tsp. fresh cilantro
- 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 slices grilled sourdough bread
- 2 oz. scallions
- Balsamic glaze
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat pan and add olive oil, shrimp, and garlic. Sauté 30 seconds, then add white wine, chicken broth, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook for 2 minutes.
Add butter, fresh herbs, and tomato, and cook until butter melts.
Serve over grilled bread, garnished with scallions and drizzled with balsamic glaze.
Entrée: Grilled Swordfish with Key Lime Salsa
The range of flavors here include pineapple, cilantro, and scallions, along with Key lime juice!
- 2 swordfish steaks (7 oz., 1 inch thick)
- 3 tbsp. fresh Key lime juice
- 2 tsp. honey
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. chopped cilantro
Combine all ingredients.
- 3 Key limes
- 3 tsp. honey
- 1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced about 1/4 inch
- 3/4 cup pineapple, diced 1/4 inch
- 2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
- 4 tbsp. finely chopped scallions
- 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
Remove peel and white pith from limes. Finely chop. Combine with remaining ingredients.
Marinate swordfish for not more than 20 minutes, turning once.
Heat up grill. Remove swordfish from marinade and season both sides. Grill fish until just cooked through, about 3–4 minutes per side. Top with salsa.
Dessert: White Chocolate and Coffee Pots de Crème
This exemplifies the ingenious homemade desserts that Chef Andrejszky says are another magnet for Citron Bistro.
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 4 oz. white chocolate baking bar
- 2 tsp. instant coffee
- 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Whipped cream for garnish
- Chocolate-covered coffee beans for garnish
In a mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks with sugar until smooth.
In a medium saucepan, bring cream to a simmer. Add white chocolate and instant coffee, turn off heat, and whisk until chocolate is melted.
Add the white chocolate mixture to the mixing bowl slowly, whisking continually. Add vanilla.
Divide custard among six 6-oz. ramekins and cover each with foil.
Set ramekins in a large baking dish and pour hot water halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Transfer to oven and bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit until custard is set but still jiggly in the center, about 55–60 minutes.
Transfer ramekins to a rack, remove foil, and let cool. Chill 3 hours before serving. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate-covered coffee beans.