Ahhh. The annual Savor Sarasota “week” is fast approaching. The annual Visit Sarasota promotion from June 1st to the 14, is officially billed as a “restaurant week,” even though it lasts two weeks at most restaurants, and all summer long at a number of others! Savor Sarasota, to us, is the absolute best time of the year for those of us that relish dining at any number of the brilliant participating restaurants in our fabulous town.
But, with 79 (hello!) local restaurants vying for your taste buds, one has to abandon all hope that you will get to them all. So, where does one start? With Jill and I, maybe the most frequently recommended restaurant on our list is The Table Creekside.
Little wonder, with the effort and execution from the back of the house, where Chef Pedro Flores works his magic, to the front of house staff, headed by managers Matthew Serrano and Amy Berlin and their impeccably trained service staff, put into every libation and phenomenal dish.
Our recent “sneak savoring” only confirmed what we already knew – The Table Creekside is a “don’t miss” place in Sarasota, kinda like Siesta Key Beach, The Asolo Reparatory Theater, and Ringling Museum.
We were greeted with a pear sangria, which was a cool and refreshing mix of chardonnay, pear nectar and a hint of nutmeg. This our “endless” summer in a glass, if you ask me! Let’s make that two!
The way Savor Sarasota works, is each restaurant provides a Prix Fixed menu offering three courses for $32 at dinner. Guests can choose one Savor Sarasota selection from each course. At our tasting, we joined a few other guests and tasted each of The Table Creekside’s 8 offerings during Savor Sarasota 2017.
Our first taste from the first course of the Savor menu was the Farmer’s Cheese Stuffed Watermelon Salad. The farmer’s cheese, somewhere between the textures and flavors of cottage cheese and ricotta, were complemented by some capers, organic greens and a key lime vinaigrette served with cubed, cool succulent watermelon. Simply delicious and totally refreshing!
If it sounds like everything Chef Pedro does is a show-stopper, it’s probably because it is. Case in point: our next taste was of the Lamb Goat Cheese Meatball. Perched atop a basil tomato reduction, and topped with a dollop of cucumber tzatziki, this was just one mesmerizing bite after another. This is my definition of a “do not miss” dish. You, or somebody in your party needs to order this one! Trust me, everyone will want a bite of this tantalizing dish!
The third 1st course offering was no less stunning. The Roasted Suckling Pig with and Octopus Cassoulet gave us a crackling, crispy skin on the pork, while the octopus mixed with fava beans and a sumac reduction is the very definition of savor on this Savor Sarasota menu. The flavors are delicate, but totally there. Very refined, and so different from the other two offerings in the first course section.
Holy Moly! The second course selections were still to come, and I can’t wait, as (almost) sated as I am.
Braised Short Ribs have been climbing my personal go-to dishes culinary pop chart for some time now. Chef Pedro’s version just ramped it up another notch, with a creamy polenta and a Fiji apple wild mushroom confit and a porter reduction. This is comfort food that simply knocks it out of the park! Robust, rich, creamy, dreamy, (must I go on?)
For something lighter, but no less beautifully composed, we sampled the Lemon Roasted Chilean Sea Bass. Trust me when I tell all the home cooks out there (yours truly included,) why bother making a dish like this at home?? Spoil yourself rotten with this delicate fish, resplendently served with summer vegetables and a butter shrimp risotto, garnished with a crispy slice of Florida orange. Did I mention that there’s 79 restaurants cooking up a storm? I might just forego some of the other 78 (or 12, or 6, or whenever I fall over from acute foodie-euphoria,) to get to this a few more times.
Did I just hear someone say, but Mart, “I want it all?” By “all,” I would guess either A) I’m already marking my calendar for numerous visits to The Table, or B) I want the Farm & Sea dish. (The correct answer of course is both A and B.)
This Key West Snapper is nestled up next to a Duck Confit Tortelloni, and served with a subtle yet earthy mushroom cappuccino reduction, and a cauliflower mash. Every bite brings a new delectable kaleidoscope of flavor here! That tortelloni was so amazing. I just love homemade pasta!
Last, but absolutely not least, was the Valencia Oven Roasted Chicken dish. Chicken gets a bad rap as far as I’m concerned. As in “this (insert protein here) tastes like chicken!” Not so fast my friends.
This may be the finest chicken dish on the Suncoast . . . Cantimpalo chorizo sausage, Yukon potato hash and a piquillo sofrito elevate this dish to superstar status. Perfectly seasoned, moist chicken is accompanied by its new best friends of zesty chorizo and poquillo peppers will take you straight to the Mediterranean seaside. The skin was crispy, the interior moist and juicy . . . ok, we have a tie between the Sea Bass and the chicken . . . and the Farm and Sea . . . and the Short Ribs! Good heavens! How will I ever choose?
And of course, there’s a third course. After all, life is more fully realized when you include desert.
We were exulted with a serving of the Valrhona Chocolate Rice Pudding Parfait. This was a pièce de résistance dessert course consisting of a warm chocolate (!) rice pudding served with ice cream on top. Top that!
I think I should Uber it home from the Table from now on, because I caught myself distracted in a dream-like state on the drive home, with my taste buds still singing the praises of the The Table Creekside’s exquisite, yet wonderfully affordable Savor Sarasota menu.
So, Sarasota . . . on your mark . . . Get Set . . . Savor!