First off, our title isn’t meant to confuse. There are over 90 other restaurants in Sarasota Country participating in the 13th Annual Savor Sarasota Event, but only one of them invited a group of us in for a sneak peek!
Looking at The Table Creekside’s Savor Sarasota menu, I deduced that there are 24 different ways you could order of their Prix Fixe menu. With 3 First Course Options, 4 Second Course options and 2 choices for dessert, the easiest way to try every item on their special menu is to get together a table of four, and make sure each of you orders a different entreé. Then make sure only 2 guests duplicate their choice of First Course and talk the person next to you into ordering a different dessert than you . . . And then you share! Or, if you’re lucky like me, you could just get invited to preview the menu with Celebrity Chef Judi Gallagher. Trust me. . . it was a table of six women and we all shared!
I cannot compliment the staff at The Table Creekside often enough. The service is always amazing and the presentation is on point. Even my evening’s choice of cocktail, the Rosé Sangria was as attractive as it was flavorful. Made with Rosé wine, limoncello, grapefruit juice and macerated strawberries and lemon, the sangria was topped with frozen cranberries. Overall, we ladies complimented the tang of the grapefruit and the refreshing flavors of the cocktail. Confession time . . . I had two!
Keeping in line with my earlier comment about presentation, The Table Creekside brought out our first starter to share; Mediterranean Watermelon Salad. This was light, cool and so refreshing, consisting of watermelon slices and creamy feta resting on a fresh mint vinaigrette. (I adored the dressing!) Topping that was focaccia croutons and baked kalamata olives. These olives were a nice twist, baking them resulted in a nice crunch that melted in your mouth while still delivering the rich, smoky flavor of the kalamata. A few micro greens and black pepper dusted the plate, making for a wonderful start to our meal.
Also a sight to behold was the Barcelona Gravlax! It seriously looked like an artist’s palette of spring colors. Two crunchy pastries, similar to crackers in texture, are filled with manchego piquillo spread and topped with house-cured gravlax; thinly sliced raw salmon cured in salt, sugar, and dill. A dot of crème fraîche and a pinch of salmon roe, and this dish is complete. Reminding me of an eggroll, these crunchy bites offered a unique flavor and texture — the crunchy cracker against the creamy manchego spread, the briny salmon against the crème fraîche. Presenting two on a plate was just enough to get your taste buds excited for the next course.
On the other side of the culinary color wheel, we enjoyed Chef Pedro’s Calamari Octopus Cassoulet. Dressed in a basil oil, the calamari and octopus were mixed with various fresh market beans and fried chickpeas. While the previous two starters lent themselves to the lighter side, this option in Course One of their Savor Sarasota menu was a bit more robust in flavor. The beans added a bit of velvety goodness and the snap of the baked chickpeas added a crunch that otherwise would have been missing. Every one of the three choices would be on my list for a repeat visit.
On to the Second Course are our entreé options, including the Puebla Land & Sea, which delivers dual flavors that aren’t competing for your attention. The composition is complimentary, featuring cast iron seared jumbo shrimp and oven roasted beef. Let me comment on the beef first . . . resting on a tomato fondue, the beef was so tender you could cut it with a paper knife. And that twist of onion straws on top was a wonderful enhancement to both the beef and the tomato fondue. The jumbo shrimp rested on a velvety purple mash with a spicy pasilla heirloom vegetable sofrito sauce. Two white hominy croquettes accompanied the two proteins, adding a delightful almost bready bite to the dish.
From the sea was my favorite entreé, Stuffed Florida Grouper Filet. I simply can NOT wait to order this again. The grouper was topped with a stuffing of baby scallops, crabmeat, and butter shrimp all resting on a cheesy pecorino risotto. Next to it was a side of summer green bean, with sliced grapes. All of this goodness was surrounded by a creamy lemon butter sauce that was so luscious, so smooooooth and tangy that every ingredient on the plate was excited to pair up with it. And those grapes . . . what a wonderful way to cut through all the briny creaminess with just a bit of fruit acids. Simply amazing!
If you’re a fan of flavorful chicken, you’ll want to consider the Grilled Chicken Marrakesh. Just the aroma of this dish commanded my attention.. Large chunks of chicken are skewered and grilled just to temperature, remaining juicy and tender. The combination of farro, roasted noodle stir-fry, and spicy tajin sofrito brought out the rich aroma of cumin, cinnamon, and tangy sumac. Topped with a lovely red rice chip, the dish really embraces the Moroccan flavors so popular in Marrakesh. Spot on, Chef!
Chef Judi Gallagher didn’t need a crystal ball when she predicted that the fourth choice of entreé will no doubt be the biggest seller. . . The Table’s Braised Short Ribs. Served with Sicilian black polenta and a California vegetable scampi with Swiss chard, red peppers, and herbs, this is a well-balanced dish that is both hearty and delicious. The short rib is topped with a beef gravy and a nutty praline that had me asking for more. Divine!
I don’t know about you, but I expect my desserts to be visually appealing, but sometimes even I am blown away by the creative plating at The Table Creekside. This Catalonian Chocolate Custard has the consistency of a flan, surrounded by a swirl of rumchata anglaise. Topping the custard are mini marshmallow buds, for the lack of a better word, that are crunchy in texture. This added texture took this dessert to another level, adding a pop to each creamy spoonful. Like the rings surrounding Saturn and all her moons, this dessert was out of this world!
Before I tasted the Catalonian Chocolate Custard, I had already decided the Caramel Bread Pudding would be my favorite. Was it? I’m calling it a toss-up. I love a good bread pudding, and hadn’t had one for some time, so “Thank you, Chef, for including one of your Savor Sarasota menu.” Served with gooey caramel sauce and topped with calvados roasted apples (apples cooked in an apple brandy) this dessert had that ‘adult beverage’ spin on it that bread pudding is ideal for. Lucious, inviting and old school all wrapped up in one .. . or at least that’s how I’d try to describe the taste.
Thanks again, to The Table Creekside for providing a wonderful dinner that so perfectly illustrates the delicious options offered during Savor Sarasota. Check out the savorsarasota.com website to see which of the restaurants are also offering a 3-course lunch for $16, as well as a 3-4 course dinner for $32. All Savor Sarasota menus are unique to each restaurant and may include a beverage course. If you’d like to add a bottle of Frontera Chilean wine to your order at The Table Creekside they offer a Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon for an additional $15 per bottle.
As we say every year, get ready . . . get set . . . SavorSarasota!