Friday, December 27, 2013

Mozaic: Sophisticated French-Moroccan in Sarasota

Tucked into a jazzy two-story space on Sarasota's Main Street, Mozaic features chef Dylan Elhajoui's unique vision, a mix of classical French techniques married with the lush bounty of western Mediterranean produce with the sly exoticism of Moroccan spicing, and stands as one of the more luxurious dinner options in downtown Sarasota. Chef Dylan Elhajoui learned how to cook in his native Fes, Morocco surrounded by a family of chefs and restaurant owners, flavourful foods and fragrances, and bustling markets brimming with fresh produce. He infuses the recipes of his youth with abundant herbs and spices, organic meats, and fresh fish, depending on what can be found in that week's farmers' markets and fishermen's nets. He also dips into cuisines on the other side of the Med, with Provençal flavours, Italian ingredients and techniques that mesh seamlessly with the African foundation. Ever since opening Mozaic a few years ago, Chef Dylan Elhajoui has earned rave reviews from foodies and celebrities alike, including Maria Sharapova who calls his couscous, 'the best'. 

View from our upstairs table looking over the balcony to the main floor dining area

Susan von Gies 'Out of the Blue' - one of a series of paintings on display at Mosaic

The results are fragrant, flavourful and fabulous, with dishes such as the Mussels in a Moroccan Chermoula-Scented Lobster Broth, Garbanzo Beans and Garlic Ciabatta, Diver Scallops with rice-lentil medley and lobster lemongrass vinaigrette, Shrimp Risotto with leeks and Meyer lemon oil, and Jasmine Tea Dusted Duck Breast with sour cherry bread pudding and port sauce. Chef Elhajoui and his team also craft delicacies such as Sautéed Escargots and Mushrooms in boursin gougère, with dry Riesling and shallots, Estofado of Boneless Short Ribs and Cannelini beans with anise sausage and dark chocolate, and Wild Mushroom Ravioli and asparagus in a light garlic sherry cream sauce. Guests can conclude meals with one of the house's eclectic desserts, such as the Tangier, a flourless pear-and-walnut cake topped with a dollop of vanilla-bean crème anglaise and toasted-coconut ice cream, but every meal ends with a plate of chilled chocolate truffles, handmade each evening. The interior is vibrant and full of colour with original works of art on the walls available for purchase. Since opening in 2008, Mozaic has consistently earned rave reviews — a place of great distinction, which it maintains to this day.

Mosaic dinner menu

Amuse-bouche of puréed raspberry, beet and fresh ginger

Sautéed escargots and mushrooms in boursin gougère, with dry Riesling and shallots

Mussels in a Moroccan chermoula-scented lobster broth, garbanzo beans and garlic ciabatta

Shrimp risotto with leeks and Meyer lemon oil

Golden hubbard squash potage with sage and crystallized ginger cheese puff

Lightly rosemary smoked quail and Italian sausage, fingerling potatoes, bosc pears and porto

Caraway and violette mustard flavored pork tenderloin with red cabbage-apple 
compote & tarragon cider sauce

Diver Scallops with rice-lentil medley and lobster lemongrass vinaigrette

Wild mushroom ravioli and asparagus in a light garlic sherry cream sauce

Jasmine tea dusted duck breast with sour cherry bread pudding and port sauce

Estofado of boneless short ribs and Cannelini beans with anise sausage and dark chocolate

Wild caught Argentinean shrimp risotto, shaved parmesan and Meyer lemon oil

Handmade chilled chocolate truffles arrive as a final flourish to a marvellous meal