June is a good month for foodies, and not just because the town is thinning out, which makes reservations and parking spaces easier to get. The first two weeks (June 1-14) are devoted to Savor Sarasota, a once-a-year event when restaurateurs create special menus for those who stick out the hot summer months.
A Savor Sarasota menu offers a prix-fixe three-course lunch for $16 and a $32 dinner. Upwards of 60 restaurants, both casual and fine dining, are part of this county restaurant industry initiative. Some participating restaurants extend their Savor Sarasota menus to the end of June and a few more keep the fun and bargains going all summer. Just another benefit when you summer in paradise. (Another is that just maybe you can park at Siesta Beach.) Here are a few examples of Savor Sarasota deals.
Brick’s pulls out the stops for a dinner entrée that’s a house favorite: Texas Trinity, which is brisket, ribs and sausage. This comes with a cold side dish and a hot one, too. Starter choices are Shishito peppers, pimento cheese, Lone Star caviar or smoked poblano queso. Enjoy with house complimentary glass of wine, tap beer or a specialty cocktail. Brick’s, well-regarded for its smoked meats, has a Texas farmhouse vibe and draws diners from families to the date-night crowd and seniors who want to spice up their meal choices with a Savor lunch that includes a pulled pork bun or a prime brisket bun. S’mores and brûlée banana pudding are on the Savor dessert menu. What former (or current) camper couldn’t love a s’more?
Cafe BarBosso is a good deal anytime because chef/owner Joe DiMaggio Jr. prepares delicious, moderately priced New York-Italian-American specialties like no one else, and his big personality is all over the large, art-filled restaurant. (Artists work at their easels while you eat.) Chef Joe thinks big and has a dozen entrées on his Savor evening meal that accurately reflect what his kitchen is all about, including shrimp fra diavolo, veal Marsala, wild-caught tuna puttanesca, wild mushroom risotto and, yes, Grandma’s spaghetti and meatballs with Sunday sauce. Seven appetizers to choose from, but for dessert you have to trust the pastry chef. Selections will be revealed to you just when you’re too full to think you could possibly eat another bite. And then you do.
Chic and cozy, The Table Creekside has a menu characterized by global curiosity and chef Pedro Flores’ confident hand in the kitchen. This year The Table Savor menu has the added option of a $15 up-charge for a bottle of wine. Choose among five whites and reds. Each is made to ideally pair with your stuffed Florida grouper, chicken Marrakesh, braised short ribs or a Latin dish that combines cast-iron seared jumbo shrimp and oven roasted beef. Sides are intriguing—white hominy croquette or pecorino risotto or even tajin sofrito. For dessert, how about Catalonian chocolate custard with "rumchata" anglaise, or caramel bread pudding with Calvados-roasted apple slices?
The Rosemary has so many regulars who want to see their favorites on the menu that proprietor George Armstrong says he was challenged to come up with new items for his three-course Savor Sarasota luncheon menu that would still appeal to his everyday eaters. We think he’s surpassed expectations, with South African fried feta and shrimp salad, driftwood baby back ribs, Texas round rock tacos, tournedos Benedict (polenta-fried oysters are part of this layered dish), Bermuda fish chowder or a genuine New England lobster roll. The all-purpose Rosemary serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and is doing a Savor Sarasota dinner menu, too.