Living as we have on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico, we can’t help but pinch ourselves every day and appreciate the incredible beauty that surrounds us. And when the weather is right, there is nothing we enjoy more than dinner and/or drinks at a waterfront restaurant.
When the publicist for Zota Beach Resort reached out to us, letting us know that Viento Kitchen + Bar was introducing a new menu, we were intrigued to visit and see what was up. What we found was a menu offering an out-of-Sarasota experience featuring a Coastal/Floribbean/Mediterranean infused flavor.
After looking over the menu we jumped right in and began with the Meze Trio appetizer. Obviously influenced by Middle Eastern/Mediterranean flavor, every bite was uniquely delicious – a squeeze of lemon on the garlic hummus made the flavor pop, while the balance of garlic and mint in the tzatziki was lovely. (I love tzatziki, so that made this app an easy choice!) And, there was no mistaking the garlicky notes in the smoky, earthy, and creamy baba ganoush. This was a great “date night” dish – so long as you both partake! Lightly grilled pita bread? But of course!
Jill’s choice of entree ran to the Moroccan Chicken. Every component of this exotic dish romanced the other, with the texture of cauliflower complementing the delicately harissa-spiced chicken and the pièce de résistance of the dish . . . a beautifully aromatic apricot and golden raisin chutney. (More chutney please – like maybe a jar to take home?) This was a well-portioned dish, to be sure, offering a full half-chicken with crispy skin that just fell off the bone. The cauliflower had a hint of curry and was served to the perfect done-ness. She really enjoyed this dish!
My Lobster Risotto dish could not have been more perfect. While lobster is understandably a premium ingredient, I couldn’t help but revel in the fact that every single bite offered generous morsels of succulent lobster . . . not just the beauties that topped the dish.
The serving dish itself is deeper than it looks, so the portion was equally satisfying. Additionally, there was quite an assortment of different mushrooms enhancing the risotto. I didn’t ask our server how many varieties of mushrooms there were – hey, it’s hard to ask questions with a full mouth – but I will add that the sherry butter and fresh peas added a depth of flavor that made this dish a stand out. What a wonderfully creamy arborio rice lobster-rich masterpiece! I’m hungry all over just writing about it! (I’m 100% serious!)
Dessert? No . . . Well, maybe . . . Ok . . .YES! (Best decision we’ve made in quite some time!)
We decided to share the Passion Fruit Panna Cotta. This astonishingly gorgeous dish was graced with molecular gastronomic elements, including dots of a coconut fluid gel, and a coconut olive oil powder that seemingly vanished on the way to my tongue – it’s like fluffed up air, it’s so light. . . I thought at first that I hadn’t gotten any, but then the sensory sorcery of the powder left a lovely coconutty olive oil taste on my palate. Awesome! The Panna Cotta itself was light and creamy, as it should be . . . This isn’t an overly rich indulgence that confirms you’re cheating on your diet. Let me just say, the Passion Fruit Panna Cotta is an A++ dessert that surprised and delighted us both!
If you’re considering taking a stay-cation on Longboat Key, or maybe want to score some points by recommending a great beachfront hotel and restaurant, take a ride out to Viento Kitchen + Bar at Zota Beach Resort. (Zota, we learned, is short for Sarasota!) You may not be on a dinner cruise along the Mediterranean, but your taste buds won’t know any better!
Congratulations to Dayle Hoffmann of Sarasota Florida for correctly identifying our latest “Guess Where We Ate?” challenge and winning a $25 gift certificate to Viento Kitchen + Bar at the Zota Beach Resort on Longboat Key! Thanks for subscribing to our blog!
By all means, subscribe to www.SarasotaFoodies.com, and we’ll be offering an array of foodie freebies in the form of gift certificates by choosing email subscribers at random. So, subscribe, good luck, and enjoy!
Thank you to Zota Beach Resort for sponsoring the gift card!