Nestled on the corner of an unassuming street one block north of downtown Sarasota is a charming gem known as The Savory Street International Café and Bakery. I have yet to visit Savory Street during daylight hours, though I am told that the bakery is superb and that the breakfast is as delicious as the lunch is delectable. So far, I've only had the pleasure of sampling [email protected].
I’m quite surprised by the high ceilings and the lovely décor, comprised of shades of green, cream and brown. We are seated at a table with a great view of the bakery case which immediately has me plotting my return. I glance to my left and I am captivated by a glimpse of brilliant green leaves and twinkling lights. I appear to be seated next to the Secret Garden that I read about as a girl. I ask one of the solicitous waiters about the exquisite room and I am told that it is a private dining room available to reserve for intimate dinner parties. I spend the next few minutes dreaming up an excuse for a fabulous private dinner party and longing for the kind of physique that would allow me to dress in a sleek jewel-toned cocktail frock, but my reverie is interrupted by the arrival of something mouth-watering and I sheepishly return my attention to the fabulous dinner party that I am actually currently attending.
The high ceilings allow for jocular conversations that don’t disturb the other diners and the full dining room is filled with the pleasant murmur of voices. The salad that we’ve been served is the Seven Wonders Salad (roasted beets, goat cheese, citrus segments, jicama toasted peanuts and palmitos on a bed of red oak lettuce with citrus mustard dressing in a Parmesan nest). The eigth wonder of the world on this evening is that the salad is perfectly balanced and does not suffer from competing ingredients. The different textures and flavors are harmonious and tasty and make for a perfect first course.
The salad course is followed by Empanadas Argentinas (a duo of savory flaky dough filled with beef picadillo or corn and manchego cheese, served with chimichurri sauce). The picadillo is savory and sweet and holds up nicely in the homemade dough. Manchego cheese and corn provide a veggie alternative that the lone vegetarian at our table declares to be quite delicious, especially with the piquant chimichurri.
My entrée, Ravioli de Langosta (lobster-filled raviolis with sauteed oyster mushrooms, fresh basil and roasted garlic in a yellow tomato-achiote cream with lobster garnish) is a beautifully presented dish that smells heavenly, thanks to the fresh basil and garlic. The sauce is a nice peachy color from the achiote and there is a decent amount of tender lobster meat inside the delicate ravioli skin.
For dessert we try a bit of everything, and everyone is quick to claim and finish their favorite. I am torn between the Hazelnut Dacquoise and the Tres Leches Cake. One would expect a bakery to produce delicious desserts but what has really impressed me about [email protected] is that this bakery is producing excellent dinner dishes with a cosmopolitan flair. I can’t wait to persuade some friends into the aforementioned private room for what I am sure would be a remarkable dinner party.