I've long been a huge fan of Station 400. Their pancakes are insanely delicious, and the smoked salmon scramble with avocado and dill sauce has always been a favorite. And now the restaurant is offering more excellent new dishes--and it has a new owner who has a long history in the hospitality industry. Deen Fox, a longtime managing partner at the Bonefish Grill on University Parkway, decided to go out on his own and purchase both Station 400 locations (the one downtown, on Fourth Street, and the one on Main Street in Lakewood Ranch).
This is like a restaurant dream come true: an incredibly friendly owner and some spot-on new menu items. Fear not, dear Station 400 fans--and I know there are many of you--all the regular favorites remain on the menu. But Deen and his culinary team has been working overtime in the kitchen to bring creative brunch and lunch dishes for those of us that love seasonal changes. (Just don’t ever take off my blueberry pancakes, Deen).
Speaking of blueberries, you must try the blueberry-stuffed French toast. It's made with croissants and oozes with warm berries and butter.
There are new pancakes, too. Take the sea salt and caramel-bacon pancakes--salted cream sauce, melty orange zest butter with pure vanilla and maple syrup make these both sweet and savory. My fear of the combination being too sweet was dashed upon first bite (and the many others that followed).
People who like floral notes will appreciate the fresh strawberry and lavender pancakes, while omelet lovers will need to buckle up for the poached Maine lobster and blue crab omelet, served with chervil and Station 400's infamous truffle Hollandaise. The omelet melts in your mouth.
The South is represented well, with a new fried green tomato Benedict with crispy bacon and a fresh, light pesto Hollandaise. And the eggs are perfectly runny.
Perhaps the most fun items on the new menu are the sharing plates, which include waffled sausages served with powdered sugar and warm maple syrup; fried green tomatoes with roasted garlic dressing; and lemon-poached shrimp with chipotle cocktail sauce. They're perfect as an appetizer alongside a mimosa.
Lunch features four new menu items, including a classic corned beef Reuben and a turkey Reuben, both trending on most menus.
The apple-cheddar grilled cheese with bacon, sliced Granny Smith apples, cheddar cheese and apple butter on grilled sourdough goes into the category of best grilled cheese sandwiches on the Suncoast. The open-faced tuna melt is a modern take on the classic 1980s sandwich, but lighter, with one slice of bread, English cucumber, avocado, dill Havarti, pickled radishes and pea shoots.
Hats off to Station 400, Deen Fox and his dream team! This spring menu starts today, March 21, and is certain to please both snowbirds and year round residents.
Station 400 | 400 N. Lemon Ave., Sarasota, 34236 (941) 906-1400 | 8215 Lakewood Main Street, Suite P103, Lakewood Ranch (941) 907-0848