By Judi Gallagher
From downtown gourmet at Lan to Siesta Key casual at the Daiquiri Deck, two Sarasota restaurants charmed us this week.
I have had two distinctly different food experiences recently- a “just before chaperoning the prom” three- course dinner of infused Asian inspired cuisine, the other a “flip flops and snapper wrapper and oyster-shooting Saturday afternoon post beach lunch” kinda thing. Each restaurant experience more than impressed.
Lan has me singing her sweet name and style of cuisine. Located on Main Street , a few doors west of Pho Cali (our favorite Vietnamese noodle house). Lan (named for the gracious orchid that garnishes most plates) is for the sophisticated palate, but not necessarily the overstocked wallet. A three-course menu offers incredible flavors with most of the specials of the day included in the offerings. The additional charges for the pan seared foie gras and ahi tuna are worth every penny. Do not- I repeat, do not miss the blueberry parfait as a dessert offering, if you are fortunate enough to dine there while blueberries are still in season. Mascarpone, fresh blueberries, lemon and a slight crumble topping make this the exclamation point to the memorable culinary event.
Colorful oyster shooters at the Daiquiri Deck.
I confess to thinking of the Daiquiri Deck as a younger person’s hangout, also somewhat touristy. Not that there is anything wrong with that—I just haven’t taken the food seriously. It seemed average at best. Well, along with with the new patio came some new menu items that are a step up in flavor. The new oyster bar is a re-creation from the old Speakeasy Bar, offering fresh oysters with caviar and a variety of oyster shooters. With a flavorful snapper wrapper sandwich and some pretty good oysters Rockefeller, I will don the flip-flops and head over to play tourist in my own town this summer.
Stepped-up fare will keep us coming back.