A little more than a year ago, the Shore Diner opened for dinner on St. Armands Circle. At the time, the Sarasota community highly anticipated the opening, and the initial response was excited. Although earlier than most of my reviews, (I usually give a new restaurant time to work out details and train staff) I shared my initial thoughts on Shore Diner. Now, a little more than a year later, it is time to revisit the Shore Diner experience.
Can a year really make a difference? In the case of Shore Diner, I think the answer is yes. Although the location, setting and décor remain the same, (all are excellent) the restaurant has found its footing in the casual, upscale dining category. With the addition of a creative lunch menu, a refocused casual, comfort dining menu and an outstanding bar menu, Shore Diner is delivering consistent, high-quality menu items for all to enjoy. For our meals, we chose the following:
- Roasted Beet Salad: Florida grapefruit, Alabama goat cheese, pistachio, sherry vinaigrette. $9 A good-size portion; love the combination of sweet beets, citrus/tart grapefruit and soft, creamy goat cheese, all enhanced by the various textures and lightly dressed (the way we like it).
- A Nice Salad: Local baby lettuces, shaved olive oil-marinated vegetables, herb vinaigrette. $7 Not your typical house salad; fresh, flavorful and full of color, a great accompaniment to a meal.
- Local Kale 'Caesar' Salad: Arugula, sourdough croutons, vine tomato, avocado, pumpkin seed, vegan. $9 A very fresh and interesting blend of flavors and textures; we are big fans of this salad.
- Fried Oyster Sliders: Tabasco tarter, butter lettuce. $12 Sweet, tasty, fresh, fried oysters with a slightly kicked-up sauce; delicious.
- Tuna Tartare: Avocado, cucumber, yuzu, tobiko, wonton. $14 Creamy, rich, luscious texture, fresh and full of flavor.
- Surf ’n’ Swine Tacos: Blackened lobster and shrimp taco and shredded pork taco, cabbage corn slaw, chipotle-avocado cream. $14 My mouth just starts watering thinking of these tacos; delicious flavor with a kick!
- Chicken Salad Sandwich: Tarragon, red grape, pecan brioche toast, nice green salad. $9 This is a big sandwich with nice, crunchy textures; a little too much mayo for my taste.
- Tom’s Mother’s Meatloaf: Griddled, peas and carrots, smashed potato, mushroom gravy. $19 Just like mom used to make; soft, tender, with lots of gravy, a classic comfort food if there ever was one.
- Key West Shrimp and Scallop: Lemon risotto, local braised greens, roasted cherry tomato, citrus oil. $28 Good-size portion; lemon added a depth of flavor to the creamy risotto; grilled fish was sweet and moist; nice presentation.
- Red Snapper: Local spinach, Arborio rice cake, eggplant caponata, lemon butter. $28 The vertical presentation was both beautiful and delicious ... with each bite you got a mouth full of complementary flavors.
- Everything Crusted Tuna: Thai black rice, ginger bok choy, shitake, miso butter. $32 An Asian tuna preparation, perfectly cooked and presented; full of flavor.
- Prime Angus Ribeye: Wild mushroom butter, bacon-Brussels sprouts, cheesy mashed potato. $36 Not my first choice when choosing an item from the menu. A large tender, juicy ribeye, well-prepared and plated. For a non-steakhouse restaurant this was very good.
- Chocolate Cake: $7 Sharing-size portion of moist, dark, rich chocolate cake. There were four of us sharing; half liked that the cake was cold, the other half would have preferred a warm slice. A perfect example of why you cannot please all the people all the time!
The Shore Diner offers a full bar service, a good selection of beers, wines and soft drinks. There are some creative cocktails, such as The Shore cocktail: Hendrick’s gin, St. Germain, cucumber, mint. Priced at $10; just perfect for the summer. Please note, there is no bread service with the meals. We found the staff at Shore to be very friendly, exceptionally helpful, professional, energetic and efficient. Clearly people who are well trained, knowledgeable and enjoy what they are doing.
One of the early Sarasota entrants into the modern American cuisine category, Shore Diner hits the mark for casual, upscale dining. The open-air setting, the retractable roof and well-defined bar space make this a “destination dining” experience.
Even though people say, “There is no such thing as a sure thing,” dining at the Shore Diner is a shore thing!
465 John Ringling Blvd.
Sarasota, FL 34236
Monday through Thursday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.