Veronica empress of india ny5ao0

This week: The Empress of India at Veronica Fish & Oyster

The drink: Bourbon, blackberry, vanilla and star anise. The flavors hit you in waves, with just a hint of sweet-tart blackberry and bourbon up front, then warm vanilla and then the subtle licorice of the star anise lingers way behind everything. It's complex and lovely, a cocktail that insists you take your time with it.

The bar: The Caragiulo's/Owen's Fish Camp/Shore team's foray into Southside Village, Veronica has the same charmingly curated style, in this case a subtly maritime rustic-chic kind of vibe. The marble bar with fixed-in-place padded stools, refreshingly sans televisions, has already become a popular neighborhood hangout.

Food: Boy howdy. In addition to a vast selection of fresh raw oysters and flavorful crudo, the small plates selection is almost too much to choose from. (We went with wood-roasted oysters with uni butter and leek confit, and a side of fries with amazing malt vinegar aioli.)

Other notable potables: The Autumn (cinnamon apple pear vodka and ginger beer) is a refreshing ode to the season. Veronica also serves a rum runner on tap, which is both sweet and powerful.

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Editor’s Pick

Shore Diner

$$$ New American 465 John Ringling Boulevard

At Shore Diner, the mid-century modern ambiance is reason enough to stop in for a cocktail and a meal.

Editor’s Pick

Owen's Fish Camp

$$ Seafood, Southern 516 Burns Lane

Located in a historic Burns Court cottage, Owen’s presents Southern-style cuisine with an emphasis on seafood.