I was aware of The Bijou before I even walked through their doors. One of Sarasota's prettiest restaurants, this little jewel of a place is nestled on the quiet corner of Pineapple and First in the old quarter of Sarasota and the heart of the theatre district. It's a lovely building with a small beautifully landscaped courtyard in the front, that's decked out with twinkle lights in the evening.
The Bijou is absolutely lovely, inside and out, but the food is even more exceptional. And the staff, knowledgable and friendly. I ordered the Shrimp and Crab Bisque with cognac, sherry, baby shrimp, blue crab and cream, which was exquisitely rich, thick and velvety with a hint of cayenne, which provided a wonderful underlying warmth and spiciness to the soup. I knew as I took the first spoonful, it was the best bisque I had ever tasted. It was pure heaven.
While sipping on a chilled glass of Italian Pinot Grigio and a small basket of fresh baked rolls with fresh churned butter, my Cornmeal Fried Oysters arrived.
My server Karen, informed me that The Bijou only uses the plumpest oysters that are delivered fresh each day. They came with a refreshing citrus tartar sauce, picked shallots and a delightful chervil oil drizzle. Light and delicate, the oysters were especially delicious, with the grated orange zest that accented the citrus tartar sauce.
After the fabulous lunch, I declined the offer of a dessert menu, when lo and behold, a complimentary platter arrived with three hand made Bijou chocolate truffles, nicely chilled with a fine dusting of cocoa powder and a hint of orange, each truffle was placed over an artful drizzle of raspberry coulis spelling out the word — Bijou. I don't remember, but I think I floated home.
The Bijou Café
1287 First Street, Sarasota, Florida 34236
Tel: (941) 366-8111