This past week was the yin and yang of food reviews. One was romantic, with spectacular views, impeccable service and our best meal yet on Siesta Key. The other is a clear neighborhood joint, with lots of TVs, no atmosphere, but good friendly service and real Jersey pizza.
Ophelia’s on the Bay has a special sentiment for me. When we first moved down here 14 years ago, I was the manager at Ophelia’s for five years. Over the past several years, they have struggled a bit to keep the caliber of service and consistency that made its name so many years ago. I am pleased to say that our meal last week was incredible. The steak tartare with quail egg was something the French dream of, and the Chilean salmon with smoked salmon crème fraiche a near food porn experience.
Ah...the steak tartare with essence of truffle and quail egg.
Chef Dan Olson’s creative spin on lump crab cakes atop fried green tomatoes was succulent. I noticed the bottles of wine seem to be more in line pricewise as many years back, no doubt a symbol of the economy. Due to the favorable pricing, I was able to enjoy a bottle of Duckhorn Cabernet for under $70. Even better, I was able to bring the other half home. And yes, the fish were jumping and the glow of the evening sky as magical as I always remember. Truly a yin experience.
Romantic dining at Ophelia's is back.
The yang of the week came at Lucia’s, a simple pizza bar on Osprey Avenue next to Knick’s Tavern. While I am a big fan of the pizza at Cosimo’s and Mediterraneo, I am always happy to find a good Jersey pie. Who doesn’t like Jersey? Home of Bruce Springsteen, our country’s finest tomatoes and really good Italian food. Lucia’s offers real deal pizza. We tried the meat lovers’ and Superior—with mozz, meatball, pepperoni, mushroom, pepper, onion and olives. Oh, yeah, bring me another.
The delicious pizza at Lucia's.
Pricing was at $16.99, a fair price indeed for a big pie. I enjoyed the Chicken and Shrimp Florentine and Pasta Primavera (even managed to get that recipe) but hold off on the appetizers; they need a little work. No worries, though, the pizza is the fix here, and already the word is out with the doctors from Sarasota Memorial Hospital doing regular takeout.
Lucia's may be a simple bar, but they serve a real wine glass—something a few fine dining places should take note of.
So now I feel balanced. My yin and yang of food has my tummy is a Zen state…..where is your yin and yang when you dine?
Lucia’s Pasta Primavera
½ cup of each garden vegetable:
1 ½ cup heavy cream
1 ½ tablespoon chopped garlic
1 ½ teaspoon fresh chopped parsley
½ cup Parmesan cheese
2-3 teaspoons of butter
Pinch of salt and pepper
Saute all veggies for about 5-7 minutes. (At this point start your pasta.) Add garlic to the sautéing vegetables for an additional 1-2 minutes. Add to same pan heavy cream and bring to a light boil. Add the Parmesan cheese and butter and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Now add salt, pepper and parsley. Place noodles on top and top with the veggies.