Cuisine with a Heart

By staff April 2, 2007



A toast to the new Cork’s on St. Armands, fresh berry smoothies and more.

By Judi Gallagher


An Eric Clapton song says it all. He sings, “Oh what a feeling I get when I’m with you/You put your heart into everything you do.” Chefs Mac Decarl and Jeremy Chambers do exactly that with everything they cook. This past weekend we dined at Cork, the new restaurant on St. Armand’s Circle that is creating a buzz in the world of foodies (941-388-CORK). Open for just a little over five weeks, Cork is clearly going to be the new hot spot, especially now that season winds down and we locals search out Friday and Saturday night reservations after 5 p.m. and before 9:30 p.m. as dictated from January through April 15.

Maximum pleasure: the mini biscuits at Cork.


 We began our tasting journey with mini Parmesan and black pepper biscuits filled with Bayonne ham and green herb mayonnaise followed by a perfect frisée and lardon salad with poached duck egg. If I had to stop right there I would have left fully contented, but for the sake of my readers, I found it best to sit for another two hours consuming intense flavors and bold culinary pairings that screamed of decadence with an added spot of flavor. Without running out of blog space, let me just say the orange and coriander-crusted tuna with braised fennel and the veal scallop with black butter on sautéed spinach are a rock concert on the plate and represent pure flavors. Managing partner Jeff Trefry hints that more soufflés will be added to the dessert menu in the coming months. (Jeff, if you are reading this I must put in my vote for a lemon soufflé with blueberry sauce and personally offer to be your taste tester as long as needed!)

All in the family: Johnny Carrabba (at right) with our son Sean, daughter-in-law Melissa and their Sophie Grace at the original Carrabbas on Kirby street in Houston.


Check this one out: While I was lunching with Johnny Carrabba at his original restaurant in Texas (which he and Uncle Damien still own privately) Johnny told me that construction is well underway on a Carrabba’s Market inside the Publix supermarket on University Park. Look for Johnny and Damien Mandola’s favorite olive oils and authentic Italian specialties as well as a small counter for some great tastes that Carrabba’s is known for like pizza and pasta. Digital camera will be in hand when the Carrabba boys come into Sarasota later this summer for the grand opening. You know what they say, don’t go food shopping on an empty stomach—I think I will belly up to that counter for a bite just to control the “over shopping” urge.

Berry nice: Fresh strawberries and smoothies at Overholt's.


 By the way, Overholt’s produce stand on Bahia Vista, (across from Yoder’s) has a sweet and refreshing new treat: fresh strawberry smoothies for $3.50. Trust me, they’re as good as their flats of strawberries for only $10.


Do you have a new dining or food discovery? Please share it with readers by posting below.

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