Downtown Sarasota has so much to offer it’s no surprise we found the best po-boy sandwiches outside of New Orleans at Duval’s New World Cuisine, which opened on Main Street in early 2012.
Mart and I dropped into Duval’s the first time for lunch after attending a downtown art festival, and were blow away by the amazing scallop po-boy sandwich and shrimp & calamari po boy. The bread was warm and fresh with a crunchy outer crust and the sauces complimented the seafood perfectly. It was a spur of the moment decisions to drop in for lunch, and we were so encouraged we made reservations to come back for dinner.
A week later, we were back for dinner with the intent to try as much as we could, while saving room for Duval’s renowned bread pudding for dessert. So we split the Thai chicken with peanut sauce appetizer and shared the French onion soup. Both were delicious, but I’ll point out the soup had less cheese than your average French onion soup. We’re happy to say we didn’t miss the calories of all that missing cheese – the soup was splendid, with the onions taking a commanding roll. A word to describe the taste would be “clean and uncompromised”. (ok . . . three words!)
We also shared a main course of Sautéed Scallops Rockefeller – which was topped with two deep fried oysters, with a side of ratatouille and rosemary mashed potatoes. The scallops were large and cooked to perfection – the Rockefeller sauce a lovely blend of spinach, butter, garlic and bacon that we like so much we spread some over our potatoes.
While every dish we’d had so far was delicious, the real star of the evening was next – Duval’s Bread Pudding. I am still dreaming about this dessert! One bite and it was like the stars aligned, music filled the air and the world became a perfect place. (HOW is that possible without chocolate?) There is no way to explain how wonderful this dessert smelled without a ‘scratch and sniff’ tab on our website! The Realtor part of me wants to bottle the smell to unleash on guests at my next Open House! It was after 9:00 when we ordered dessert, and I know they hadn’t baked the bread moments before serving, but it tasted like it! The pudding had a crispy toasted exterior, and a moist – not doughy – interior that soaked up the rum sauce from the bottom of the dish. A fresh dollop of homemade whip cream was swirled next to it, but that was hardly necessary.
The Bread Pudding was a masterpiece all to itself – which is symbolic of where we started with Duval’s weeks before. First it was the best po-boy sandwiches – then the best bread pudding. And I haven’t mentioned the sophisticated decor, impeccable service or lively atmosphere We’ve recommended Duval’s to our broker, Pauline and a number of our clients, and they all have confessed to making repeated visits.
(Hint: Why not check out their New World Passport — each month Chef Duval features a different country and features a multi-course meal highlighted that country every Monday of that given month. Punch your card 12 times and the 13th meal is free! Join anytime!)