Mart and I just had lunch at Blue Moon Grill, located in the Saba Plaza on the corner of Bahia Vista and US41 . . . and I wonder if we hadn’t stumbled in upon Sarasota High School’s newest hangout for parents. Seriously . . . If I had the choice of waiting in line to pick up my student at the end of the school day versus waiting at the Blue Moon Grill, enjoying a delicious appetizer or even a glass of wine, I know what I would do!
Located next to Sarasota’s Circus Arts Conservatory, Blue Moon Grill is right next to Sarasota High School’s Bahia Vista parking lot. (It is also within a short walk to the new Sarasota Museum of Art. Hint. Hint.) I know my nieces would have appreciated not waiting outside the school pickup lot, watching for my car among the hundred or so parents driving the perpetual circle in front of the school, attempting to find a place to park and pick up their kids. I could have been relaxing at Blue Moon Grill with a plate of hot tater tots or artichoke spinach dip waiting for them. Note: You can’t park in Blue Moon’s parking lot without ordering at the restaurant, but why would you! The food is delicious and the prices so affordable. And you’re not in that traffic!
Since we dropped by for lunch, sandwiches and/or salads were on our mind, until we saw the Four Cheese Mushrooms on the appetizer portion of Blue Moon Grill’s lunch menu. It sounded too good to pass up, so we ordered one to share. Truthfully, I could have settled for just the appetizer and been satiated for the rest of the day. The mushrooms were baked in a stoneware French Onion Soup crock, complete with browned cheese bubbling on the top. The broth is 100% mushroom flavor, with a hint of buttery garlic. And the cheese? Holy cow!!!! The dish is packed with mozzarella, romano, provolone, and swiss cheese, melted and gooey, creating silly strings of cheesy goodness that any dairy fan would melt over (or even fight over!) The four slices of grilled garlic bread were hearty and crisp, perfect for sopping up any remaining broth. Too good!
Mart ordered the Blue Moon Burger for his lunch, with a side of what can only be described as perfectly fried tater tots. Just look at them! The color and crunch on these were ideal. The Blue Moon Burger is a good half-inch thick, cooked medium and topped with blue cheese crumbles, red onion, pickle, tomato, and lettuce. Mart practically had to unhinge his jaw to take that first bite! No wonder Blue Moon Grill recently won Best Burger and a slew of other accolades from local publication Clipper Magazine and Local Flavor.com. They also have a weekly $5 Burger Day every Tuesday until 4 pm. (We went on a Wednesday and still thought we got a deal!)
After thoroughly enjoying the Four Cheese Mushrooms, I knew I would struggle to finish my lunch, I just couldn’t stop eating it. I ordered one of Blue Moon’s signature sandwiches — The Sailor — featuring slow-roasted beef on garlic bread with melted mozzarella, a side of au jus and my choice of sides, french fries. (I knew Mart would share his tater tots!) The sandwich was large and meaty and looking at my photo, I wish I’ had thought to peel back the cheese a bit to show how much meat was on the sandwich. Suffice it to say The Sailor was packed with beef and I was only able to finish half of it! I especially liked the au jus which offered a fair share of caramelized onions making it reminiscent in flavor to french onion soup. It was ideal for dipping the french fries as well!
A few other things to note about Blue Moon Grill . . . the lunch menu features sandwiches, salads, wraps, and burgers . . . perfect for lunchtime when so many people are on the go. During the evening, when folks aren’t as rushed, the menu changes to include items like Chicken Francese, Shrimp Oreganata, Cilantro Lime Chicken, Grilled Grouper and steak. The atmosphere is family-friendly, right down to the butcher paper table covering. The most expensive item on the menu is the 10 ounce Top Sirloin served during the dinner hour and priced under $20. There are a handful of Mexican dishes on the menu, both at lunch and dinner, and Blue Moon Grill serves beer and wine along with fountain drinks, tea, and lemonade. The atmosphere is laid back and charming and even the bathrooms are decorated and charming. Such a find!
Blue Moon Grill also offers a catering menu, so check that out for your next in-office lunch, party or get-together. Their menu is available on the website provided with this blog. Check it out and I’m sure you’ll be tempted to visit Blue Moon Grill soon.