Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Michael's on East: Award-Winning Cuisine in Sarasota

Michael's on East is a Sarasota institution. Founded in 1987 by partners Michael Klauber and Phil Mancini, the duo built their unmatched reputation for exceptional service and inspired cuisine on the principle that "each guest should be treated the way they expect to be treated, every moment of each and every visit". And they seem to have done just about everything right for Michael’s on East has been a treasured fixture on Sarasota’s culinary landscape for years, which is especially impressive given that it's tucked away in the back of the Midtown Plaza in downtown Sarasota. The sophisticated décor by Anne Folsom Smith Interior Design from Sarasota, sets the tone and ambiance for the restaurant: the interior space is conceived as an Art Deco luxury liner, and we’re all guests cruising to some exotic port while being royally entertained en route. The décor scheme is rich in comfortable, opulent fabrics, deep colors and art work that favour the heavy use of gold and copper metal work. It all enhances the concept that you’re being pampered on a glamorous cruise ship — and pampered we are.

Chef Jamil Piñeda's sensational menu changes frequently, but some classics have been at Micahel's from the start and will probably never go away. Starters such as Maine Lobster Bisque with Tempura Blue Crabmeat, Brandied Creme Fraiche, Espresso-Crusted Yellowtail Tuna Carpaccio, and House-Cured Salmon Crostini with Olive Oil Crostinis with Roasted Yellow Beets and Montchevré Goat Cheese Drizzled with Caper Oil, and their outstanding Hoisin Duck and Crispy Vegetable Spring Rolls with Sweet-Sour Chile Dipping Sauce and Pickled Ginger. The steak and seafood menu at Michael's is legendary with dishes such as the delicious Pan-Seared Scallops with Maine Lobster and Housemade Ricotta Gnocchi with Roasted Butternut Squash in a Sage Brown Butter Sauce with Crushed Amaretti, Grilled Provimi Veal Chop with Crushed Red Bliss Potatoes & Garlic Scented Broccoli Rabe, and selection of gorgeous steaks from the meltingly tender Filet Mignon to Phil’s Porcini-Rubbed 14-ounce New York Strip served with Roasted Shiitake Mushrooms, Arugula and Lemon-Oregano Fingerling Potatoes. Side dishes are equally tempting with Potato Croquettes, Fresh Creamed Spinach, Royal Trumpet Wild Mushrooms and Molly’s Truffled Macaroni and Cheese with Manchego, Gruyere, Parmesan. Welcome to Michael's on East — food heaven.

The courtyard entrance to Michael's on East with hanging twinkle-lights 

Michael’s on East has been a treasured fixture on Sarasota’s culinary landscape 
since opening in 1987

Castello Banfi San Angelo Pinot Grigio 

Hoisin Duck and Crispy Vegetable Spring Rolls with sweet and sour chili sauce, 
wakame salad and pickled ginger

East Avenue Caesar Salad

Pompano Casbarian topped with gulf shrimp, tomatoes and haricot verts topped 
with a lemon beurre blanc sauce

Pan-Seared Jumbo Diver Scallops and Maine Lobster with housemade ricotta gnocchi,
roasted butternut squash, sage brown butter and Crushed Amaretti

Southwestern Seared Mahi Mahi with roasted garlic tomatoes, corn-avocado salsa, 
yellow tomato gazpacho and sautéed spinach

Roasted Bone-In Niman Ranch Pork Chop served with caramelized sweet potatoes,
candied pecans in a Creole mustard reduction sauce

Chef Jamil Piñeda

Sweet Onion, Baby Kale & Sausage Stuffed Chicken Roll with roasted garlic fingerling potato, 
baby carrots and grilled red bell peppers

Down South Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Icing and Candied Pecans
and Pan-Seared Scottish Salmon with black Eyed Pea & Tasso Casserole, Roasted Tomatoes, 
Ham Bone Broth, Garnished with Crispy Leeks

Black Pepper Corn-Crusted Salmon with Fennel-Onion Confit, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes & Lemon Beurre Blanc
Serves 4
Recipe courtesy of Chef Jamil Piñeda, Michael's on East 

4 7-ounce salmon filets
3 oz olive oil
Kosher Salt & black pepper for seasoning

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes:
1 lb fingerling potatoes, thinly sliced lengthwise  to about 1/8-inch thick
3 tbsp olive oil
Kosher Salt & black pepper for seasoning

Lemon Beurre Blanc:
1 shallot, minced
1 cup white wine
3 oz champagne vinegar
1 cup heavy cream
1 lb unsalted butter, cut into cubes
4 oz fresh lemon juice
Kosher Salt & black pepper to taste

Fennel-Onion Confit:
2 medium fennel bulbs
1 medium Spanish onion
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable stock
Kosher salt to taste

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. In a large bowl, toss the potato slices with the oil, 1 1/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper, and then spread the chips flat on the baking sheet. Bake the potatoes, turning after 10 minutes, until they brown and start to crisp, approximately 25 to 30 minutes. They should be tender and browned. Set aside the potatoes until the dish is ready to be plated.

Slice the fennel and onion vertically into long strips 1/2-inch thick. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pan. Add the onion and sauté‚ over medium-high heat until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low. Add the fennel, salt and pepper. Partially cover the pan with a lid. Stir once or twice, adding the stock and cook until the fennel is soft and brown, and the onion slightly caramelized, approximately 15 minutes. Remove the fennel-onion mixture from the heat and set aside until the dish is ready to be plated.

In a sauté pan over medium heat, simmer the shallots, wine and vinegar, until reduced. Add the cream and let cook until thickened. Then incorporate the butter with a whisk until fully emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, add the lemon juice, stir and simmer for 2 minutes. Set the Beurre blanc aside until the dish is ready to be plated.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat a sauté pan to medium high, add the oil and heat until it begins to smoke. Season the salmon with salt and black pepper. Place the salmon top down on the pan and cook for 1 minute. Turn the salmon and finish cooking in the oven for 4 minutes for a medium temperature. Set aside the salmon until the dish is ready to be plated.

On a plate of your choosing, place a small ladle of Beurre Blanc and spread all around the plate covering the inside the rim. Place a portion of the fingerling potatoes in the middle of the plate, add the salmon on top of the potatoes and top with fennel-onion confit. Garnish with micro greens and serve!

Padang-Style Snapper Curry with Lemongrass, Jasmine Rice & Fresh Cilantro
Serves 4
Recipe courtesy of Chef Jamil Piñeda, Michael's on East 

For the Paste:
5 small Asian shallots or 2 regular shallots, peeled
6 fresh red Thai chilies, stemmed
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 oz fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 cup macadamia nuts

For the Fish and Curry:
4 each pieces of 7 to 8 oz Red Snapper
2 tsp fresh lime juice
3 tbsp canola oil
3 fresh or frozen Kaffir lime leaves
2 fresh or dried red Thai chilies, stemmed and halved lengthwise
2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed, crushed, and tied into knots
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cup coconut milk,
1 1/2 tbsp tamarind concentrate
3 tbsp coconut cream,
1 tbsp grated sugar
Kosher salt, to taste
Cooked jasmine rice, for serving
Chopped cilantro for garnish

Purée shallots, chilies, garlic, ginger, turmeric, coriander, macadamia nuts, salt, and 2 tbsp water in a small food processor into a smooth paste. Set aside until the dish is ready to be plated.

Rub snapper with lime juice and season with salt; let sit 10 minutes. In a 12” skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil. Add reserved paste, Kaffir lime leaves, chilies, lemongrass and bay leaf. Cook, stirring constantly, until golden and aromatic, approximately 3–4 minutes. Stir in coconut milk and 1¼ cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add snapper and tamarind; cook until fish is done but not falling apart, 4–6 minutes. Stir in coconut cream, sugar, and salt. Serve with jasmine rice and fresh cilantro on the side.

Pan-Roasted Bluefin Crab Cakes with Herbed Tartar Sauce
Serves 4
Recipe courtesy of Chef Jamil Piñeda, Michael's on East 

Crab Cakes:
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 oz Dijon mustard
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp basil, chopped
1/2 tbsp garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp. coriander
2 oz. mayonnaise
4 stalks celery, minced
1 Spanish onion, minced
4 3/4 cups panko breadcrumbs, divided
8 oz jumbo lump crab
12 oz lump crab
1 large egg

Herbed Tartar Sauce:
1 1/2 oz cornichons
2/3 oz capers
1/2 a shallot
6 oz mayonnaise
3/4 oz parsley
1/2 oz dill
1 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz Dijon mustard
1/8 oz garlic
1/4 oz extra virgin olive oil

Process all of the sauce ingredients in a food processor, then cool until ready to plate and serve dish.

In a medium sauté pan over low heat, sweat the celery, onion and garlic. Take care not to allow them to brown; the low heat will take liquid out of vegetables. Set aside and allow to cool. Mix together all ingredients except the crab meat, then fold in the lump crab. Gently mix in the jumbo crabmeat. Do not break up the jumbo lump meat.
To portion each cake, use a 3-ounce scoop or mold into cakes with your hands. Coat the exterior of the cakes in Panko breadcrumbs. Set aside until ready to sauté and finish.

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil, then four crab cakes. Sauté crab cakes on one side until golden brown, flip in pan and place in 350-degree oven for 5 minutes to finish. Repeat with the additional four cakes.

To plate individual servings, nestle two crab cakes together in the center of a rectangular plate. Prop asparagus between crab cakes and spoon tartar sauce on plate. Place potatoes on other side of cakes, drizzle with truffle oil, garnish with parsley and serve.

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