Culinary Art + Design
Downtown Sarasota: the Gulf Coast of the “Sunshine State,” is booming with art, culture and small businesses – a revitialization of the city is in full swing along with a gastronomical movement to impress “The Food Network” as well as every Iron Chef.
Sarasota exists as a cultural mecca for approximately 100 years. In 1925, similar to Scranton, PA, B. Edwards built a theater that could be adapted for either vaudeville performances or movie screenings. Sally Rand did her bubble bath and fan dance here back in the day. Tommy Dorsey, Will Rodgers and Elvis Presley performed at a local theatre that still remains at the intersection of Pineapple Avenue and Second Street.
One of the Ringling brothers pitched his fabulous tent and called it home.
Note: The Ca’D’Zan was the home of of the circus king and his wife, a couple from humble mid-western origins, their outlandish mansion still stands as a testament to the American dream of the Roaring Twenties.
I’ve recently visited this quintessential American city and following is what I discovered with their renaissance.
Sage restaurant (above), located on First Street in the historic district was once the home of The Sarasota Times Newspaper. The classic Mediterranean-style structure has been renovated into a modern space with esthetic flair while keeping many of the original 1920’s architectural elements in tact. The contemporary, two-floor dining room is beautiful and the rooftop lounge offers an impressive view of downtown Sarasota and its pristine, sandy coast. Owner Sharon Carole, G.M. Cameron Hall and Executive Chef Christopher Covelli have transformed this historic site into a modern day eatery while maintaining the integrity of the landmark building.
Inspired Libations On The Rooftop
I suggest that you start with a smart cocktail at their rooftop lounge. The drinks and good times flow with a creative cocktail menu. The beverages are innovative with a splash of whimsy to satisfy every taste. Sage’s golden martini (above) includes a fresh, floral bud that makes the tongue tingle and just a sip sets the palate into overdrive — it’s an awesome sensation.
Hospitality At Its Very Best
Bartenders, Brandon and Connor, man the upstairs lounge with skill and a good sense of humor. I recommend that you ask them for suggestions regarding the adult beverages as the menu is extensive and complex.
The veneered architecture keeps the spacious triplex alive with patrons of every age from the dining room floor to the rafters. Heating lamps keep out the night-time chill and on a clear day, the vista is perfect to watch the sun go down.
Seasoned Sea Bass & Vegies
The dinner menu is vast and offers something for every hunger pang. The kitchen’s front line, under the leadership of James Beard Award wining Executive Chef, Christopher Covelli, orchestrates a balance of fresh ingredients, local seafood and global spices that elevates the dining experience. The Sea Bass (above) is prepared and served in a steamer bag that keeps the fish moist, white and flaky. The vegetables are also cooked to perfection with a little snap to their texture. In one word, delicious!
Signature Seafood Dish
The menu changes seasonally. Sage’s Bouillabaisse (Cioppino in Italian/American) is a tasty entrée made with fresh seafood: scallops, shrimp, cod fish and lobster.
Every chef worth their salt and discriminating foodie understand that it’s very easy to over-cook seafood, especially crustaceans, Chef Covelli has perfected this dish with a balance of timing and a touch of seasonings from the East.
The end result is mouth-watering.
For The Sweet Tooth
Dessert choices range from mango infused Crème Brûlée (above) to chocolate confections and a cheese platter. The custard is served with a side of seasonal berries and a cookie spoon.
Note: Sage restaurant accommodates all dietary restrictions and food allergies.
When visiting the Sarasota area, Sage restaurant is well worth booking a table.
P.K. Greenfield is the BNNYC City Pulse and Metro Man Editor. He is a freelance writer contributing to several publications including, Millennium Magazine, Passport, British Airways Magazine, i-Italy and The Wall Street Journal.
Photo Credits: P.K. Greenfield