The Table Creekside and Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar are two favorites of your SarasotaFoodies. With Chef Pedro Flores and his team of talented chefs at the helm of both restaurants, you can always count on a delicious meal, tasty appetizers and desserts, and cocktails that tempt you to try “just one more!”
However the one thing both venues lack is a private dining room where guests can host family and friends. Since both The Table Creekside and Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar’s dining rooms showcase broad views of Phillippi Creek, there didn’t seem a way to hold an event on the premises, without closing part of either restaurant. . . at least until now!
Last week I was invited to attend a media dinner held inside Creekside Trader, the newly renovated market situated between the two popular restaurants. I didn’t know what to expect, and boy! What a surprise!
Imagine, hosting a dinner party, shower, business conference . . . or even better, a surprise party inside a store! My first thought after seeing the lovely table setting inside Creekside Trader was “What a great place for a yacht broker to host a dinner party, or a bridal shower for a bride and groom who have picked a casual, beach theme for their wedding!”
The table was set up for the 14 of us in attendance, with three large Lazy Susan’s showcasing a variety of tasty appetizers and side dishes from The Table. The lovely blue accents in the table cloth and water glasses set off the crisp white plates and napkins, all spread against a driftwood colored table. Surrounding us was the many amenities of Creekside Trader – a cooler with select wines and craft beers, home décor, beach apparel, spices and such. The store remained open as we set down for a delicious meal.
The coastal lifestyle of the store lends itself to the dynamics of the menus at both The Table Creekside and Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar. Our hostess, Chef Judi Gallagher, explained that anyone hosting a dinner/lunch at Creekside Trader can pick their favorite menu items from either restaurant, and the staff will put together a quote just for you!
To remind us all what that means, our Lazy Susan’s were laden with a variety of tasty dishes, including a terrific tabouleh salad that took a place of honor on the top tier, as well as several servings on my plate. The second tier was taken up by pan-seared Ahi tuna steaks with an absolutely perfect tomato ragu, coriander-crusted sliced tenderloin with a savory potato salad, a charcuterie of meats and cheeses, and a knock-me-off-my-chair plantain salad. A large plate of bruschetta sat to the side of this tower of tastiness, an ideal accompaniment for the charcuterie’s meats, cheese and olives.
It seemed like I had just started to enjoy the tastings from the Lazy Susan when the staff brought out a few more dishes for our enjoyment. The Peruvian chicken a la Brasa was juicy and delicious, as were the Chorizo stuffed clams!
A true crowd pleaser was the Spanish Roasted Langoustines grilled in shallot butter. These crustaceans were an easy 5 inches long and delicious from tip to tail. Besides being larger than prawns, their flavor leans more towards lobster, highlighted by a wonderful flavor that only grilling can provide.
We all discussed the various ways this unique dining space could provide while we enjoyed a luscious caramel flan for dessert. Everyone agreed that Creekside Trader offered a venue unlike any other in Sarasota. Right off the water, with plenty of parking just outside the door and two acclaimed restaurant menus to pick from . . .Creekside Trader makes for a relaxed, coastal experience for any party or get-together.
But it wasn’t until I was in my car driving home that I thought of the perfect use of the Creekside Trader’s dining experience! Consider this . . .
You invite your best friend and/or loved one for a drink at the inside bar of Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar.
“Let’s just have a drink here, ” you say, “And then we’ll walk over to The Table for dinner. After all, it is your (birthday/graduation/bachelorette) and I want to treat you to an amazing cocktail at the Oyster Bar, and then a delicious meal at The Table.”
Then, as you make the walk over to The Table, you decide to take a quick detour into Creekside Trader to pick up a little something you know only the Trader has in stock. And, as you walk in with your loved one, there is a table of their closest friends, ready to celebrate! Who would guess they were walking into their own surprise party?
Well, anyone who reads this blog, I guess. Just a delicious idea we thought you should know!