Archive for March, 2011

03/14/2011

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

More refined than Outback and less price intimidating than Ruth’s Chris, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar is upscale, but not haute extreme. Wine is important at Fleming’s; it’s used as part of the decor at the bar and displayed in racks in the upper and lounge-level dining rooms. Look for an open kitchen (notice […]

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03/14/2011

Five Guys Burgers and Fries

(2008) Five Guys Burgers and Fries built its cult following in the Washington, D.C., metro area and has been spreading the mania far and wide, including—thank heaven!—to two locations here. How good is the chow? Well, Michelle Obama treated her staff to a Five Guys luncheon not long after she arrived in Washington, which just […]

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03/14/2011

Ezra

(2006) The wait staff at Ezra wears blue jeans with white dress shirts, neckties and bistro aprons. Such counterpoint of high-low, casual-sophisticated makes this Bradenton cafe work as both a relaxed neighborhood hangout for locals and as a destination for Sarasota foodies. The biggest surprise here is how ambitious the menu is and how reasonable […]

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03/14/2011

El Warike

(2008) On 26th Street West in Bradenton, a short block north of Cortez Road, look for a down-at-the-heels strip center anchored at its south end by a diamond in the rough. The name above the door is El Warike, and its secret is superb Peruvian cuisine with a strong accent on seafood. The quality of […]

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03/14/2011

El Greco

(2009) A facelift and name change have brightened up this downtown stalwart considerably, but the best news is that there now are sidewalk tables under a shade canopy. El Greco built its rep on its gyro, that meld of thinly sliced lamb and beef on pita bread with raw onion, tomato and yogurt-y, cucumber-y tzatziki […]

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03/14/2011

Derek’s

(2006) When we arrived at Derek’s, there seemed to be an overabundance of neatly attired waitstaff standing about in black pants and shirts with long bistro aprons tied trimly around the waist. But it wasn’t long until they were bustling around the restaurant, shuttling from open kitchen to table, shouldering a constant stream of interesting-looking […]

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03/14/2011

Currents

(2005) It once was called Scalini’s and before that Pompano Cay. Now the restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota is called Currents, but much more than the name has changed. Both the decor and the menu have been thoughtfully updated and streamlined. The dining room’s design is now ultra-clean, relying for its punch on the […]

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03/14/2011

Cosimo’s

(2007) It used to be that mall food was associated with fast food, not fine dining. That’s changed in a big way. Nowadays, you’ll find many chain and independent restaurants either incorporated into the array of retail at a mall or saddled up next to it as free-standing eateries. In Sarasota, we’ve been ahead of […]

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03/14/2011

Chutney’s

(2007) Chutney’s, in the foodie’s mecca of Southside Village, is a “nabe.” At least that’s what we would have called it when I lived in Chicago, which abounds in small restaurants serving what once might quaintly have been thought of as “niche cuisine,” usually a style of cooking and foodstuffs associated with one particular patch […]

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03/14/2011

C’est La Vie

(2007) For the adventurous diner with eclectic tastes, the restaurants, bars and cafés that line Sarasota’s Main Street between Palm and Orange avenues constitute the mother lode. Tapas or sushi or pho, Peruvian or Italian or Mexican cooking, cheap or dear, clubby or utterly unpretentious: It’s all right there in three gloriously mixed-up blocks. On […]

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