Pulling the Cork

By staff January 20, 2007

A dream restaurant team circles the Circle.


By Judi Gallagher


On Thursday I attended a cooking demo/fundraiser for the International Baccalaureate scholarship program at Riverview High School. I was attending as the administrator’s proud wife, not a professional chef. Although the venue had an air-conditioning snafu, both chef Ryan Kelly from Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion and chef Mac DeCarle from Beach Bistro dished out fabulous cuisine and informative cooking tips. Well worth a warm room for generous portions of ahi tuna with rock shrimp salsa (Roy’s) and the infamous bouillabaisse and macadamia-nut-crusted grouper (Beach Bistro). (I do consulting work for both restaurants.)  Beach Bistro proprietor Sean Murphy took us by surprise when he announced, with warm wishes for continued success, that DeCarle would be moving on after more than seven award-winning years to become the new executive chef of two restaurants under one roof (on the site of the former Bottle Shop) on St. Armands Circle.

Cooking for a cause: The Beach Bistro's Mac De Carle, Roy's chef Ryan Kelly and Riverview IB head (and my hubby) Paul Gallagher.


Jeff Trefry, whose experience includes a five-year stint at Café Europe, has taken over as operating partner of the project; DeCarle will be executive chef and John Ketler maitre’d. This is a dream team and augurs well for local diners. Here’s what to expect when the two restaurants under one roof open around Feb. 15 at 29 North Boulevard of the Presidents. A restaurant named Cork will premiere upstairs as a fine-dining destination. Chef Mac hinted at tantalizing dishes such as foie gras suite, a triple-play presentation of the beloved buttery goose liver; Maine lobster salad with lemongrass, vanilla bean and Sardinian yogurt dressing with Reggiano cheese straws; lion’s paw scallops, porcini-dusted and finished with sweet corn and Reggiano milk. And get this: various flavors and styles of soufflés! How I have longed for a classic Grand Manier soufflé with crème fraiche and raspberry coulis.


Downstairs, appropriately named the Bottle Shop Restaurant, will feature a wood-burning oven, which means tender roasted chicken, gourmet pizzas and nightly specials and of course a fab burger, all served with comfort and ease.


Watch for announcements of the opening—I know I’ll be there!


Lamb Shank Heaven

I stopped by Southgate Gourmet with my Suncoast Cuisine TV show co-host Mike Kradlak the other day to check out the new menu items. If this blog were a scratch and sniff, the picture would say it all. Chef Cliff Whatmore has hit the mark with this beer-basted lamb shank, tender to the bone, with a stick to scoop out the marrow—a shank lover’s icing on the cake.

Delish dish: Southgate Gourmet has added lamb shanks to the menu.


This has been a great food week—I’ll tell you more about it in my next posting.
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