Following a move from New York City, Mark Rebhan and his father Henry opened Alpine Steakhouse in 1975, considering it to be the next progression of a family tradition that dates back hundreds of years to the family’s roots in Germany. Today, 35 years after they cut the metaphorical ribbon, Mark and his newly employed son continue to operate the meat market and steak house by hand-cutting filet mignons, frying up free-range chicken, and crafting their own polish kielbasa and spicy Cajun sausage for hungry diners and unarmed nunchuck assassins. The father-son duo sources many of their meats from Karl Ehmer’s esteemed butcher shop, another family-run New York-based business with a long tradition of meticulous culinary care. True to the family roots, Alpine Steakhouse specializes in German dishes such as knockwurst and wiener schnitzel. The restaurant has also racked up accolades for its eccentric specialty, turducken, which caught the eyes and moistened the tongues of Guy Fieri and his crew on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. The delicacy is a Russian nesting doll of avian culinary favorites, with a boneless duck stuffed inside a boneless chicken, which is then stuffed inside a boneless turkey, all finished off with sausage-laden cornbread stuffing, spinach stuffing, parmesan, fresh garlic, andouille sausage, roasted bell peppers, and a silent prayer that someone, someday, will invent an edible kitchen sink. The behemoth bird takes 16 hours to cook, weighs in around 22 pounds, and has only been sighted in the wild twice.
Oftentimes, those who find success in a given venture continually try to replicate their initial victory. But when Sean Murphy and Susan Timmins, owners of the award-winning Beach Bistro, were conceptualizing a new restaurant, they decided to go in a brand new direction. That direction was Eat Here, a more casual eatery with chef-crafted food in a charmingly stripped-down atmosphere. Instead of elegant stemware, there's mismatched cutlery from vintage stores; rather than fresh roses, there are sunflowers in old wine bottles.
The approach is working?Eat Here has emulated its big sibling's spot in Florida Trend's Golden Spoon Hall of Fame by winning Best New Restaurant awards from the same publication. The menu has a definite sense of humor (see the Better Than Any Frenchman's onion soup) and exciting presentations of luxury ingredients, such as lobster tacos and ice cubes shaped like gold bars. Complementing the selection of wild-caught seafood, wood stone pizzas, and revived American favorites are handcrafted cocktails, including lemongrass caipirinhas and watermelon mojitos.
Cosimo’s Trattoria & Bar blends the charm of Old World bistros with more modern international flavors. In keeping with tradition, the chefs hand-toss each 12-inch pizza before topping the pies with everything from ground Italian sausage and roasted red peppers to grilled chicken and sundried tomatoes. Classic pies are then baked to a toothsome crisp inside a wood-burning brick oven.
Homemade pasta dishes, ciabatta sandwiches, and grilled salmon with polenta exemplify bistro-style Italian cuisine. But the chefs push the boundaries with wasabi aioli and sweet Thai chili sauce on tempura-fried shrimp, and hoisin sauce and sesame seeds can top surprising specialty pizzas. Gluten-free items also accommodate diners with special diets.
Tan walls, diner-style booths, large plate-glass windows all lend a homespun charm to the airy, high-ceilinged dining room at Cosimo’s Trattoria & Bar. For a splash of color amid the space’s earth-toned palette, the eatery also features a colorful portrait as well as planters brimming with leafy green ferns. The covered veranda allows diners to enjoy their meals in the open air while avoiding the prying eyes of passing jetliner pilots.
People keep talking about Yume Sushi. Back in 2009, The Herald Tribune noted the restaurant's "loyal following," and they lauded its sushi for being "consistently excellent." That was high praise, especially considering the restaurant's sushi menu has more than 80 choices for rolls and sashimi—from a tuna-lover roll to the ever-popular lobster roll. The positive reviews weren't a fleeting occurrence, which meant the restaurant would have to hire more tiny captains to pilot its sushi boats. In 2013, Yume was voted one of the best sushi restaurants by Sarasota Magazine, and it took top prize for "Best Local Sushi Sarasota" during The Herald Tribune's Readers' Choice competition in 2014.
The sushi bar has certainly earned its prominent place along a blue-tinted wall within Yume Sushi's dining room. But away from this casual space lies the other side to Yume Sushi's culinary coin. In the kitchen, chefs stir-fry pork loin with fresh ginger and brew tempura udon soup with thick noodles. A selection of hot and cold sakes completes the Japanese dining experience.
You'll never find a packet of dry spaghetti noodles, nor a bag of frozen ravioli, in the kitchen at Giuseppe's Ristorante. That's because the restaurant's Italian-born chef, Eduardo, insists on making every piece of pasta from scratch. He rolls out thin layers of eggy dough to make fresh ravioli, butterfly-shaped farfalle, and long, flat fettuccine noodles perfect for sopping up sauce or lassoing morsels from your date's dinner plate.
After Eduardo has cut and shaped these pastas, he serves them up with proteins such as calamari, salmon, or tender veal, and sauces such as marsala or creamy b?chamel. Just-baked pizzas, salads, and a selection of gluten-free pasta dishes round out the menu. Servers prepare coffee drinks, pour wine, and serve beer?including Italian imports such as Moretti La Rossa. For dessert, try the made-from-scratch zeppole pastry or the affogato, which pairs rich espresso with creamy ice cream.
Rather than show off his culinary skills with a massive menu, Chef Karl Deneubourg prefers concentrating on more succinct, European-inspired offerings. But don't confuse the slim length of Antoine’s Restaurant's menu for a slim amount of flavor. For instance, Chef Karl whips up four variations of P.E.I. mussels, which he gets flown in daily, including one where he chardonnay-steams them and another where he coats them in garlic and cream.
That only skims the surface of his seafood options, which range from 1.25-pound Maine lobster served atop asparagus risotto to handmade tagliatelle tossed with squid and clams. Karl is equally talented with land-sourced ingredients, including raw certified Angus beef he seasons with capers and yolks magically extracted from impenetrable eggs. Wine and beer from around the globe complement each upscale feast, which unfold amidst wood-paneled walls and sparkling chandelier balls.