Monday, January 16, 2017

Beach Bistro: The Ultimate Gulf Coast Cuisine

Relaxed and sophisticated, Beach Bistro’s relentless pursuit of culinary and service excellence has earned owner Sean Murphy regional and national acclaim. One of Zagat’s “Top Restaurants in America”, Beach Bistro has been the island’s most romantic, fine-dining destination for more than 30 years, and its spectacular waterfront location makes it the perfect place to catch a spectacular sunset and enjoy some of the best cuisine in South Florida. And the cuisine is always consistently excellent, from their Nova Scotia Smoked Salmon on Parade with capers, caviar and key lime crème fraiche, outstanding Bouillabaise with lobster tails, jumbo shrimp, shellfish and calamari with garlic toasts and aioli, Herb Rubbed Pan Seared Rack of Lamb finished with a port rosemary demi-glace to the over-the-top 'Food Heaven' — Beach Bistro's rich marriage of Colorado lamb, butter-poached Nova Scotia lobster and Hudson Valley foie gras, all on a brioche bread pudding and served with a port, demi-glace and a sip of Essensia, which Sean christened — "a Dionysian vision from the end of a pier in Maine."

With it's spectacular setting overlooking Holmes Beach on beautiful Anna Maria Island, Beach Bistro is like a painting, complimented by the finest food in the area, an extraordinary wine list and dedicated professional staff that have been with owner Sean Murphy for years. White tablecloths, a rose on each table and romantic sunset view sets the scene for an outstanding menu that celebrates coastal cuisine at the highest level. Sean’s ambition has been the same throughout Beach Bistro’s history — to provide his guests with one of the best dining experiences they've ever had, and he's definitely succeeding, reflected in all of the glowing accolades that Beach Bistro consistently receives, and his dedicated following that return over and over again. Our family has been making a culinary pilgrimage to Beach Bistro over and over again since it opened in 1985, and it's definitely one of our favourite gastronomic traditions. Sean’s ambition has been the same throughout the Bistro’s 30 year history — to provide patrons with one of the best dining experiences that they've have ever had. Mission accomplished.

The cozy beachfront interior

Even a simple glass of water gets the royal treatment with lemon and rosemary

Complimentary cocktail with vodka, St Germaine elderflower liquor and lime juice over ice

Amuse-Bouche of "Helluva Tomato Soup" and grilled focaccia with tapenade, 
basil pesto and oven roasted tomato

2014 Nebel Rheinhessen Riesling

Orange blossoms and summer peaches perfume this delectably fruity wine

Bella Roma Tomato Salad with heritage plum tomatoes, warmed with an herbed vinaigrette, and garnished with baby greens, herb toast and Parmesan crisp

“One Helluva Soup” seasoned with Parrish plum tomatoes, sweet cream and Maytag blue cheese

Grouper Cooper with Gulf Coast grouper, pan-seared and crowned with a butter poached lobster tail then kissed with aurora cream

American Ranchland's Rack of Domestic Lamb from Colorado: Herb-rubbed, pan-seared and oven-roasted then finished with a port, rosemary demi-glace, and served with a glass of port

Grahams Six Grapes Reserve Porto

With a seductive, rich aroma of ripe plums, cherries and dark chocolate, the port was sensational

Floribbean Grouper with a toasted coconut and cashew crust caressed with a red pepper-papaya jam

Bistro Bouillabaisse: first, you hire a bunch of pros to build a killer broth, poach to order “Nova Scotia” lobster tails, jumbo shrimp, premium market fish, shellfish and calamari, served with clever asides of herbed, garlic toast and aiöli

Beach Bistro's Famous Bouillabaisse
Serves 2
Recipe courtesy of Sean Murphy

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup vertically sliced onion
1/4 cup julienne-cut leek
1/4 cup thinly sliced celery
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup diced plum tomato
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp dried tarragon
Dash of crushed saffron threads
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp Pernod 
1 cup bottled clam juice
1/2 cup tomato juice
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 littleneck clams
4 oz grouper, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 medium mussels, scrubbed and debearded
6 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 5-oz lobster tail, split in half lengthwise
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Sprigs of fresh thyme for garnish

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, leeks, celery and garlic and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the tomato, fennel seeds, thyme, tarragon, and saffron and cook 1 minute. Stir in the wine and Pernod, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the clam and tomato juices and freshly ground black pepper, and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes. Add the clams and grouper and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes or until the clams begin to open. Then add the mussels, shrimp, and lobster, and cook for 4 minutes or until the mussels open. Discard any unopened clams or mussels and garnish with fresh parsley and thyme.

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