Sharing the joy of discovery is always a great pleasure for us, especially when delicious food and drinks are involved. There are so many fabulous breakfast, lunch, and dinner options on the Suncoast that going out to eat can resemble a wonderful treasure hunt.
That being said, discovering a new brunch spot is even more like a reward we give ourselves, and so it was when we visited The Overture Restaurant and Gallery Lounge inside The Art Ovation Hotel. Lucky us!
Brunch at The Overture started just a few weekends ago, and I can certainly see myself returning with friends and out of town guests to “show off” our lovely Sarasota.
The brunch is an all-you-care-to-eat affair, modestly priced at $34 per guest that includes a complimentary mimosa or bellini, with children under 12 dining for $15 each . . . but no mimosa for them! After brunch guests are welcomed to head upstairs to the Perspective Rooftop Bar/Restaurant where there’s more live entertainment, craft cocktails and complimentary pool access to enjoy.
I don’t know about you, but it would be pretty easy to go all “kid in a candy store” when viewing all of the tempting offerings at brunch, but Jill and I have learned over the years that it is more prudent (and enjoyable) to graze and pick out a little of this, a little of that . . . on the smaller plates . . . and meet up at the table and share bites of the different offerings with each other. This is much better on the waistline than loading up a big plate and discovering you missed out on something truly special when you’re too full to try another bite. It also cuts down on food waste at the restaurant, so we’re being good citizens. And it’s a Sunday after all, and we’re meant to relax over a leisurely brunch- which is easy to do with the sophisticated ambiance of the Overture.
Art Ovation Hotel is known for its cultural focus and performing artists, both visual artists, and musicians. So we weren’t surprised to find a talented violinist playing soft pop standards to enhance the”Easy Like Sunday Morning” mood. Talk about setting the tone for the day!
And because it’s brunch at the Art Ovation, Overture’s Sunday offerings are called Brunch and Brushes and feature an accomplished artist working on a painting in the corner of the dining room. On our visit, we noticed that the painting had been started previously and both Jill and I were surprised by how much the artist accomplished during the hour or two we were in. We could have hung back to see if she finished her painting by the time brunch was over, but there were other guests walking in, so we decided to tour Art Ovation’s lobby and gallery walls instead. This is an added treat, as you can’t take in live art, live music and an art gallery (or two) while enjoying brunch anywhere else in Sarasota!
With months of “alfresco dining weather” rapidly approaching, we had the option of dining inside or sitting on the outdoor patio. Being that it was brunch, we decided to take a table closer to the carving station . . . you know, for return trips for the prime rib!
Nothing left to do but scope out the artfully prepared presentations, which includes a carving station and an omelet station with all the crowd-pleasing ingredients you would expect, as well as a line of chafing dishes serving warm breakfast offerings like French toast, bacon and sausages, a far-ranging selection of fresh salads and fruits, huge peel and eat shrimp, and a dazzling display of sweets not to be missed.
Oh, and I didn’t even mention the interactive bar experience where you can choose your base spirit and garnishes (candied bacon? freshly grated horseradish? Um yeah…) to dress up one of the best Bloody Mary mixes I can remember.
Besides the fresh-squeezed Florida orange juice for the mimosas, the Bellini selections include flavors of passionfruit, strawberry, and watermelon. They even allow you to choose which Champagne they pour!
It would be practically impossible to list every option, so we opted to let the pictures tell the story. There were a few surprises, like the Grilled Snapper served with the sweetness of pineapple/tomato relish. This was pretty delicious alongside the Jasmine rice.
And while they are technically shrimp, these Peel and Eat delights deserve a better name than that. They are easily a three or four bite crustacean and easily one of my favorites indulgences of the day! Just beautiful!
While some dishes aren’t the most photogenic, the sausage gravy served during Brunch and Brushes reminded Jill of late-night study sessions during her college days in Indiana, while the Red Eye gravy offered a flavor profile that reminded me of New Orleans. Both were well enjoyed over one of the homemade biscuits served at the carving station.
And the dessert bar . . . What can I say about this sugar-laden slice of “forget the diet” delights? Each offering was more beautiful than the next and I felt absolutely guilty taking a slice off of any cake stand or platter. This was edible artwork that I personally didn’t want to destroy. As planned, Jill and I took a small slice of this one, a small slice of that one, and then shared . . . allowing me to have a brownie, some mango cheesecake, a lemon bar, a coconut macaroon, and some Poppy Seed cake and not feel too terribly guilty! Next time I’m getting one of those pineapple upsides down cakes!
My question is: Is there anything more indulgent than an elegant brunch on a lazy Sunday? Not hardly.
And on a final note: It’s entirely your own fault if you leave Art Ovation’s Brunch and Brushes hungry!