Monday, December 26, 2016

Café L'Europe: Christmas Dinner on St Armands Circle

Celebrating over 40 years as one of St. Armand's more elegant and relaxing restaurants, Café L'Europe continues to be a charming and popular culinary destination for many along Florida's sunny Sarasota coast. Established in 1973 in John Ringling's original real estate office, which was the oldest building on St Armand's, Café L'Europe is one of the best seats on the 'Circle', aside from one of my longtime sentimental favourites, the quintessentially-popular Crab and Fin. Under new ownership since August, proprietors Ron Milton and Joe Bolzano are dedicated honouring the restaurant’s old world traditions, while adding their own special touches. Café L'Europe strikes a balance between the traditional and innovative, with some popular menu items that have been served since the restaurant first opened. Some of the dishes are even prepared table-side, adding an old world elegance and time honoured drama to the delight of many of chef Rolando Casillas' rapacious regulars. The restaurant's charming original brick walls enhanced with featured artwork from the Café Collection, fresh flowers, stained glass and Spanish terra cotta tiles provide a warm, relaxing old-world ambiance, with an attractive outdoor terrace for long languorous lunches after shopping on St Armand's Circle. Each Christmas, they also feature a full seasonal menu such as Roast Turkey and Prime Rib of Beef with all of the traditional yuletide accompaniments. For many along Longboat Key, that means less time in the kitchen, more to spend with family, and of course no washing up!

Christmas Dinner Menu

A lovely big bold Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley

A full-flavoured red

A light and crisp Pinot Grigio

Gulf Oysters Rockefeller topped with spinach, bacon, onion, a hint of Pernod 
and topped with Hollandaise

Classic Caesar Salad

Classic Turkey Dinner with Sage Dressing, Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Haricot Verts, Sweet Potatoes and Cranberry Relish 

Classic Prime Rib Dinner with twelve ounces of prime rib, served with vegetables and Yorkshire pudding

6 oz Aged Centre-Cut Filet Mignon with wild mushroom cabernet demi-glace,
potato purée, asparagus and sweet potato

Pecan Pie with whipped cream and berry coulis

Sacred Valley X by Gary Fisher - oil on canvas - one of the paintings 
in the restaurants Café Collection

Shrimp Pernod
Serves 2
Recipe courtesy of Café L'Europe

8 large shrimp
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 shallots, minced
1/2 cup Pernod liqueur
2 cup fresh spinach leaves
2 lemons, juiced
6 tablespoons butter

Add oil to pan and turn stove to high heat. Once oil is smoking add shrimp to sear on each side. After shrimp is cooked turn off heat and add 1 tablespoon butter. Add garlic and shallots while pan is still hot. Remove pan and turn up flame on stove. Add Pernod and flambe over the flame. Add lemon juice while flame is burning off. Set pan back on stove and turn down heat. Add spinach to wilt in pan. Add remaining butter and mix. Serve by plating spinach, then arrange shrimp over spinach and drizzle sauce over the whole dish.

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