Monday, December 31, 2012

Pomona Bistro & Wine: Downtown Sarasota

One of the best restaurants in Sarasota is Pomona Bistro & Wine Bar run by two of city's most sought after chef-restaurateurs, executive chef Ryan Boeve and pastry chef Arthur Lopes, both formerly of Zoria. Their location on Citrus Square has an inviting old world character, with an attractive exterior, large windows, and handsome wood doors. Inside, a tranquil elegance reigns. The room itself, lit by tall windows on two sides, is a charming and welcoming mix of modern and traditional influences. Its well-spaced tables are dressed in fine white table linens set very simply with classic modern wine stems and sleek contemporary flatware. At the back, a wine bar with black stools overlooks a picture window through which Chef Boeve and his sous-chefs can be observed creating culinary magic each evening in their small but meticulous kitchen. 

Pomona's maestro — the superby talented Chef-owner Ryan Boeve

Pomona dinner menu

Pomona's inspired menu is a wonderful blend of French and Italian influences, and includes a lovely series of small plates, salads or charcuterie to start followed by about eight main plates or entrées to follow. Our table of eight started with a little bubbly — Cà Furlan, Prosecco ‘Cuvee Beatrice’ from the Veneto — followed by Hofstätter, Pinot Grigio 2010 from Alto Adige in Italy and Clos Thalès red wine from Roussillon, the perfect accompaniment to our dinner.

Clos Thalès red wine from Roussillon

Warm fresh baked bread with whipped churned butter

The menu includes a series of small plates, salads or charcuterie to start followed by about eight main plates or entrées to follow. Our table started with an assortment of small plates to start including an outstanding dish of Smoked Salmon served with whipped cream cheese, capers, salmon roe and chives with delicate homemade melba toasts that seemed to melt in the mouth; Mussels St. Germaine which came in an aromatic garlic, saffron, mustard and white wine broth; French Onion Soup with emmenthal cheese and baguette croutons; a Pear and Gorgonzola Salad with microgreens; and a delicious Vegetarian Vegetable Soup with white beans and kale.

Smoked Salmon with whipped cream cheese, capers, salmon roe, chives and baguette toasts

Mussels St Germaine with garlic, saffron, mustard and white wine

French Onion Soup with Emmentaler Cheese and baguette crouton

Pear & Blue Cheese Salad

Pomona Soup of the Day, a vegetarian white bean and kale potage

For our main plates we decided on Sea Scallops served with mixed wild mushroom ravioli; Roast Chicken with brussels sprouts, pancetta and root vegetables in a fragrant jus; Marinated Flank Steak and frites with homemade katsup; and exceptional Poached Lobster with mixed wild mushrooms in an ambrosial aromatic broth, which Arthur set before me as "Heaven on a plate!", and it was. The lobster was perfectly poached and the broth, intoxicating. For those with smaller appetites, Pomona offers half portions for many of their main courses, which allows diners to save room for one of Pastry-artiste Chef Arthur Lopes decadent desserts, which for us this evening was his 'gossamer' Warm Chocolate Soufflé with chocolate sauce and his Maple Mascarpone Cheesecake with candied walnuts.

Chicken Breast with brussels sprouts, pancetta and jus

Poached Lobster with wild mushrooms, fennel and fragrant broth

Beef Flatiron Steak with Shallot Puree, Maitre D’ Hotel Butter and French Fries

Seared Sea Scallops with Wild Mushroom Angnolotti 

Maple Mascarpone Cheesecake with Candied Walnuts

Warm Chocolate Soufflé with chocolate sauce

For diners wanting to enjoy a more al fresco experience or a pre-dinner cocktail and cigar, Pomona has an inviting outdoor courtyard complete with outdoor fireplace, twinkle lights, festive garlands and a little Christmas tree for the holiday season. It's just another small detail that makes Pomona one of the more exceptional dining destinations in the Sarasota area. Quietly refined with an understated elegance, inspired menu, exceptional kitchen and wonderfully friendly professional staff, Pomona is always the culinary highlight of our Christmas season.

Busy every night, there were people still arriving for dinner as we left at 9:30pm

The magical evening sky as we left Pomona

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