The first European explorers set sail with hopes of finding new, exotic spices to placate the palates of epicurious monarchs, but all they found were heaps of boring, inedible gold. Pick up where they left off by broadening your mouth's horizons with today's Groupon to Derek’s Culinary Casual in downtown Sarasota. Warm, savory aromas of upscale nosh flood Derek's sophisticated interior, luring patrons' peepers to a creative menu saturated with the epicurean inventions of chef Derek Barnes–a James Beard Award semifinalist. Savor a selection from Derek's full wine list as you decide on a delectable dinner dish, such as sautéed Prince Edward Island mussels with garbanzo beans ($19), sea scallop tartine with sweet pea purée ($11), or braised lamb shank with date syrup ($27).
Zagat has rated Derek's Culinary Casual, and Florida Trend magazine gave Derek's a Golden Spoon Award in 2010. The restaurant's executive chef and owner, Derek Barnes, was a semifinalist for the James Beard "Best Chef South" award in 2009, and Creative Loafing declared him the "Best Chef" on the Suncoast in 2008. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune and Sarasota magazine have also reviewed the eatery.
- We also feasted on a duck dish that my husband, Jack, pronounced "best duck ever." The breast is lean, with a pleasantly gamy taste juxtaposed with a fabulously crispy, lush leg. This is served with a spaetzle done in a cream sauce alongside Asian-like seasoned greens, providing a spiciness that cut through the opulence of the dish. – Kristine Nickel, Sarasota Magazine
- The restaurant has reclaimed a venerable building on Central Avenue… and transformed it into the kind of urban chic that appears in large cities. More importantly, Derek's has fashioned a menu that blends the traditional and the trendy, humble comfort food and elegant fusion, in an engaging way. – Jack D. Winner, The Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Derek’s Culinary Casual
“I believe that if you’re not cooking with all five senses, you’re not cooking,” declares Derek Barnes in his feature for Sarasota’s Hot Chefs. It’s this maxim that earned him a lifetime of culinary achievement, starting with a four-year stint under the expertise of Emeril Lagasse and leading to a Zagat rating for his own restaurant and the title of semifinalist in the 2009 James Beard Awards. Derek channels these achievements into the innovative dishes he creates at his eponymous restaurant, which specializes in what he calls progressive American cuisine. That “progressive” moniker can mean a lot of things, whether it’s anointing a dish of foie gras with hazelnut honey and walnut streusel or braising a savory lamb shank in the tart flavors of lime and cilantro. Unlike a time-traveling Byzantine explorer, the chef doesn’t obsess over his plentiful spice cabinet, as the menu’s simple-grill selection serves up fresh cuts of steak, fish, and poultry in a simple, unadulterated form. Each flavor note finds its ideal complement in a wine list that features 100 bottles, many of which are available by the glass.
514 Central Ave.
Sarasota, Florida 34236Get Directions