Sarasota - Special Birthday Dinner (for 2)
Hi Chounds ;)
I'll be making a quick trip to Sarasota in the middle of next week to surprise my mom for her 60th birthday. I'm arriving at lunchtime the day of her birthday and wanted to whisk her off to a special birthday supper. I like the idea of a beach setting, but it is not a necessity.
I've been over the board a few times in the last few days and was kind of thinking between Beach Bistro and Euphemia Haye... until I read somewhere (Yelp?) that either of these places carry a $150/person price tag!? Considering that I'm flying in from San Diego for the weekend, I'd like to keep my supper bill under the price of my flight.
We're both Montreal natives, so we have a good nose for good food. My grandparents are from Florida and we have done the Sarasota beach/intercoastal food places (tiki huts, oyster bars, dive bars) to death, so we know our way around too.
I'll be staying in the Siesta Key/Gulf Gate area, but I am not adverse to driving as far as Tampa/St.Pete's or Naples (in the other direction), if that's what it takes.
Thanks Nick and Irwin for the push for BB.
Dinner was under my feared estimate, but not by much ;)
On the other hand, it was well worth every penny (and more). My mom's current "situation" leaves her in the company of a company of a great group of people, but they're idea of a night "out" probably caps off at Chili's (for both price and taste...).
We (especially my mom) were treated like absolute royalty! Our waiter was great and both the "head of the house" and sommelier paid individual attention to all our needs and requests. The timing was perfect for the sunset, followed by great arcs of lightning over the ocean as the subsequent thunder shook the windows (couldn't hear it in the resto, just the shaking windows was cool...). We had the corner table nearest the beach which was wonderful.
Onto the food:
She started with a Manhattan (I was driving and opted just for wine with the meal) as they brought our menus and served fresh bread with a dried tomato, olive "pesto". We decided that multiple small plates were a better option to taste around the menu.
We switched plates after each of us finished half and the small amount of people in the place made for a great little ambiance (there was another couple celebrating the husbands b-day at the same time as our sitting).
Amuse - Roasted tomato soup w/ blue cheese: sublime, seriously. (I despise tomato soup and I would have drank a bucket of this stuff!)
Salads - Roast duckling over arugula and watercress: great combination of peppery bite from the arugula tempered with maple syrup(?) and citrus infused dressing
- Caesar w/ blue cheese: incredibly strong flavours, incredibly well balanced
(Note - the salads were huge for a restaurant of this type, actually I found everything to be very generous... We ordered 3 plates each with the idea of adding more, and were unable to order dessert!)
Mains - Lobstergargots: great play of using spiny lobster served in escargots style with spinach and garlic butter
Grouper: each element of this dish was good, especially the pomegranate reduction, but the combination of flavors together knocked my socks off
Osso bucco on wild mushroom risotto: fantastic preparation (I couldn't finish the risotto in this dish and had it on bread for a snack this afternoon - please sir, may I have another =P
Foie gras on bread pudding: this was quite a dish! Soooo rich (I'm not the biggest foie gras fan *ducks for cover* but this was like dessert dinner decadence). This was also presented with a small glass of Sauterne that complimented the vanilla Sauterne reduction that adorned the plate
Despite not ordering dessert, we presented with shot glass desserts (with a small b-day candle ;) that had a Frangelica base, covered with almond(?) ice cream and whipped cream.
We also shared a bottle of California Pinot Noir (Ama'Rosa, I think), suggested by the sommelier based on our dinner selections that paired well with almost everything (perfect with the Lobstercargots and grouper, mmmm).
Thanks again for the push guys! This is obviously not an everyday resto for every budget, but I'm going to have a hard time resisting another visit to the casual bar before I leave on Saturday.