Recently, on a beautiful evening, we decided to take advantage of a cool breeze and enjoy outdoor dining at Ophelia’s on the Bay (941-349-2212) on Siesta Key. It was a little trip down memory lane, as I was a manager there years ago when we first moved to Sarasota. Over the years, Ophelia’s has seen several chef changes; by far the best has been the promotion of Dan Olson from sous to executive chef two years ago. Chef Dan is clearly at the top of his game with an incredibly balanced menu.
Himachi is a Japanese fish that is often severed sashimi style. When cooked properly, it is delicate yet addresses a complementing sauce like a Ferragamo scarf on a Chanel suit. Harmony, good taste and a clear sense of presentation went into Ophelia’s version of this classic Asian fish with whiskey- smoked bacon cubes accenting the stir-fried rice. If you are a stone crab lover, Ophelia’s has a fresh dill aioli along with the more classic mustard sauce that will please any shellfish lover, but the over-the-top experience is the Kobe rib eye. Tender but enhanced with the marbling content of a rib eye, this is a meat lover’s dream. Kobe beef gets its tenderness from the feed the cattle are given and their twice daily massages. Your taste buds are just as massaged with this winning dish.
Oh, did I mention Ophelia’s lightly breaded and fried truffle mozzarella, which is impossibly scrumptious?
Slider mania has hit Sarasota! Sliders—no, not a new winter sled or jello shot—are small two-bite mini burgers that mimic a White Castle burger (in size). Over the past few years what was once considered cute for children’s menus has blossomed into a gourmet experience for adult diners. Tommy Bahama’s (941-388-2888) has a fabulous scallop slider with Asian slaw; and now the award-winning Beach Bistro (941-778-6444) has taken the slider to a new level of culinary nirvana. Only Sean Murphy could think to take a garlic-butter-glazed mini Hawaiian roll and fill it with seared tenderloin, topped with seared foie gras, and top that with Béarnaise and demi glace. I was also pleased to see a new, creative menu that includes Beach Bistro favorites like the bouillabaisse and rack of lamb but now offers many small plate dining options including these melt-in-your mouth babies. When they ask you at a dinner party the famous question If you had one last meal what would it be? Beach Bistro Sliders would make the top of my list—oh, what a way to go!
Now that’s a slider (at Beach Bistro)!