Our group headed south to Bradenton for our March Great Escape. This second location of Derek’s opened in 2009 to rave reviews from Zagat. The original is in Sarasota. Chef/owner Derek Barnes has some impressive culinary credentials including the title of Most Innovative Chef in the Best of SRQ Magazine, Florida Trend’s Golden Spoon award, and inclusion in Zagat America’s Top Restaurant listings. Derek went to culinary school in Denver then worked for Emeril Lagasse in New Orleans for four years where he learned to develop flavors and use spices. He gets all his unique and international spices from www.Savoryspiceshop.com
With that many titles and accolades, we expected the menu to be a pricy one. But hey you only live once, and we budget for our monthly splurge. The exterior of the restaurant is lovely and looked brand new. The interior is tastefully decorated, sleek and homey at the same time with an assortment of lovely paintings of fish and other coastal themes all painted by local Sarasota artist Tim Jaeger who earned his BA from Ringling College of Art & Design and now works and paints there. Derek supports the local art community. For more information on Jaeger visit www.regaej.com.
Now about the food…..it was very good. Having said that, there were some flaws. Hubby ordered the short ribs dish and said it was delicious but alas the portion was too small for him and he left hungry. He might have filled up on some bread but the only thing our waiter brought us was one tiny cheddar biscuit each. We might have ordered an appetizer but as I said the menu was pricy and we decided to focus on the main course. I had a very tasty Red Snapper dish with a very small amount of roasted fingerling potatoes and a few thin string beans. That dish was $27 and I was fine with my portion size. The others in our group ordered Pork Shank, Flank Steak, Kale Salad, Flatbread, or Classic Burger and Fries. There were high marks all around our table for the food.
Cheryl and I opted to split a bottle of wine, and our waiter Zach brought us a bottle of Gouguenheim Malbec. It was so delicious that I snapped a photo of the bottle so I’d remember the name and buy it next chance I got. What would we do without our smart phones eh? We finished every last drop!
Derek's, 5516 Manatee Avenue West, Bradenton, FL 34209 Tel: 941-794-1100