Behind their teppanyaki grilling stations, chefs at Kumo Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi flip lobster tails, filet mignon, and shrimp through the air as diners look on. A short distance away from the hibachi flames, chefs at the sushi bar craft fresh hand rolls based on local catches, such as the cape coral maki with salmon, tuna, and avocado and the Top of the World roll with yellowtail, scallion, and cucumber. Staff pour hot and cold sake and imported beer for patrons to quaff when not digging into a noodle bowl. The dining area’s decor teems with Asian accents such as bamboo shoots, a zen-garden-inspired rock wall, and a zen-garden-inspired ball pit.
Eating at Bimini Bar & Grill is an immersive experience. The waterfront restaurant overlooks Casey Key, and guests sitting in the restaurant's second level—The Overlook Grill—are well equipped to view it. The water serves as obvious inspiration for the restaurant's menu, which features locally-sourced, seasonal seafood. Starters of hot crab dip or New England clam chowder lead to pan-seared ahi tuna, its halves encrusted in wasabi and garlic ginger. Fish tacos champion filets of grilled fish and fresh cabbage slaw, while friend shrimp rest atop a 10" hoagie roll for a po-boy.
Downstairs, a casual, nautically-themed space called Bimini Bar pours libations. Draft beers accompany bites sourced from the full menu, available in regular and small-plate portions. The bar hosts live music several nights a week, and on other nights revelers might find karaoke, televised sports, or a paper-airplane relay.
A flash of silver glimmers in Little Sarasota Bay, mere feet from the lush, tropical patio of Ophelia's on the Bay. It could be the belly of a leaping dolphin, the petals of a water lily, or the shiny lures of fishermen as they reel in the evening's catch. No matter its source, this sparkle reminds guests that simple pastimes such as nature gazing and family dinners are among life's greatest riches. Owner Stanley Ferro has honored this sentiment by naming Ophelia's after his grandmother, an epicure who has lived in Sarasota for more than 40 years.
In the kitchen, chefs use black grouper and tuna to showcase recipes from Florida's coasts and seaside countries such as France, Nicaragua, and Japan. Maine lobster tails morph into Mexican-inspired rellenos, and New England sea scallops bask in an emulsion of caramelized shallots and dill. Within the dining room, floor-to-ceiling windows frame views of the bay, where sea captains dock their boats or play Marco Polo with the nearby nesting herons. As the evening sky dims, moonlight casts a romantic glow over the patio's white tablecloths, and guests raise glasses of French champagne to a lovely evening under the stars.
The Italian Grill's chefs forge southern Italian entrees based on the family recipes of the restaurant's three founders, who hailed from Naples, Sicily, and Calabria. To re-create authentic Old-World flavors, the chefs rely on traditional cooking techniques to blanch imported Italian pastas and simmer their own housemade marinara sauce. After loading pizzas with up to 13 different toppings—including bacon bits, garlic, and spinach—they bake crusts in a wood-fired brick oven, which leaves them crispy on the outside and airy on the inside, much like the deep-fried balloons clowns sell when they run out of animal shapes. Lit by conical pendant lamps, the dining room's booth-lined walls leave ample space for occasional live entertainment, which can include accordion performances.