Restaurant Roundup

By Beau Denton July 12, 2010

Some good news on the dining front. After several closings, most recently Aristo on the North Trail, I have found a few new little spots.

Michelle’s Brown Bag downtown on South Osprey is certainly worth a lunch visit. The whole wheat bread will get you at first bite. Try their version of the “day after Thanksgiving.” The De Soto is a hearty sandwich of smoked turkey breast, homemade herbed stuffing, baby greens and cranberry relish with pesto aioli. It will cost you $7.25, like most of the sandwiches, but trust me; you will take half home for the next day.



Michelle leaves Maine for Sarasota's newest lunch spot.

I was a little leery of the Maine lobster, although not because it wasn’t authentic New England lobster. After all, the owner is from Maine and was famous for her lobster salad back home. But being a New Englander myself, I am a crustacean purist and the capers scared me a bit. But it worked.



Now that's a sandwich!

Next up over on Hillview is 62 Bistrot, the French Creperie & French Bistro (known as Paris Bistro in Lakewood Ranch). While I haven’t sat down to eat here yet, Margaret Wise tells me that it is worth a visit and I have a Croque Madame on my mind when I join her (white bread, ham, melted cheese and an egg on the top). Traditional French dinners include a starter and a choice of entrée with gratin dauphinois, so jump on the treadmill before the feast begins.



62 Bistrot

While on Hillview, I stopped into Gecko’s newest location for my favorite, an Ultimate Chicken Sandwich lightly blackened, and their new mojito made with peach tea. Good choice on a hot summer night and good to see the place so packed. What an “in crowd” of business people, bankers, lawyers—plus a food writer stuffing the French fries dipped in mayo into her mouth as fast as possible so as not to be called out going for the fried food. I hadn’t had an Ultimate Chicken in so long, and the hardest decision really was whether to go with the fries or housemade chips with ranch dressing. Sometimes, you just have to go for it; and the half sandwich that I just finished as a leftover today confirmed my food craving.

I hear a few other restaurants are ready to sign leases on downtown, so stay tuned. Do you have some new foodie finds to share?

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