Steak and Seafood
The smoker at The Alpine Steakhouse and Karl Ehmers Quality Meats (4520 S. Tamiami Tr., 941/922-3797, 9 a.m.–9 p.m. Tues.–Sat., main courses from $9) produces a near-constant perfume that announces its meat-centric raison d’être. This steakhouse also doubles as a meat market, and people are often coming and going to pick up steaks and chops for home grilling. The casual old-school vibe is not to be missed. The Alpine has gotten some attention for its terducken—turkey stuffed with duck stuffed with chicken—and it’s attention they’re certainly proud of, but the dry-aged steaks, Kobe beef burgers, roast pig, and German delicacies on the menu give diners plenty of other options.
A bit south of the Alpine is one of Sarasota’s best seafood options, the Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar (5353 S. Tamiami Tr., 941/925-4444, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–10:30 p.m. Fri.–Sat., main courses from $9). Decidedly unpretentious, this creek-side raw bar manages to serve up the freshest and most expertly prepared seafood in town. Those preparations are generally straightforward—fried, broiled, baked, or steamed—and mouthwateringly awesome. Big eaters or hungry couples should try a “combo pot” piled with oysters, shrimp, corn on the cob, onions, and celery in an unglamorous but highly appetizing container.
Barnacle Bill’s Seafood Market (1526 Main St., 941/366-6800, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Sat., main courses from $14) is quite a bit fancier, with white-linen service, an extensive wine list, and more continental offerings (escargot, baked Brie en croûte) supplementing their high-priced fresh seafood, pasta, and meat dishes. Although they also serve basic baskets and sandwiches, this is definitely not a shorts-and-flip-flops kind of place.
Mozaic (1377 Main St., 941/951-6272, 5–10 p.m. Mon.–Sat., main courses from $18) has a compact menu, with less than a dozen Mediterranean-influenced entrées. Each of the dishes is artfully prepared and include roasted Cornish game hen with olives and lemon-saffron sauce, anise-infused duck breast, and a simple vegetable couscous. Large windows provide ample views of downtown.
© Jason Ferguson from Moon Florida, 1st Edition