Friday, January 20, 2017

Tommy Bahama: Tropical Island Fare & Balmy Breezes

Located on St Armands Circle just steps to the sandy white beaches of Lido Key, Tommy Bahama is a celebration of the relaxed island living. Eclectic with a tropical twist, the restaurant is casual and inviting with an island-inspired menu featuring fresh seafood and "Floribbean" classics from Blackened Fish Tacos, Seared Scallop Sliders, Coconut Crusted Crab Cakes, sensational Ahi Poke Napoleon to their mouth-watering tropical cocktails such as the Key Lime Martini, Pineapple Zuzu Mojito, Bahia Sangria and Mai Tai each garnished with a fresh purple orchid. Legend has it that the founders sketched out the idea for Tommy Bahama on a cocktail napkin while sipping Pina Coladas on the beach, fashioning their philosophy of a relaxed and leisurely island lifestyle. True to their vision, the décor is warm and sophisticated - a fun 1940's faux-tropical island theme of leather wrapped bamboo furniture with cane and rattan finishes and wonderful tropical fabrics, complete with oversized wooden ceiling fans revolving gently overhead. Desserts at Tommy Bahama are equally beguiling such as their Triple Chocolate Cake and ever-popular Pina Colada Cake. Every time we visit Longboat Key, we sit back and enjoy the island lifestyle of Tommy Bahama on St Armands Circle, then stroll over to Lido Beach and bask in the balmy ocean breezes and warm Sarasota sun, to try to walk off some of the calories from lunch and that enormous slice of Key Lime Pie.

Fresh light green and hot pink Cymbidium orchids decorate each table

The Tommy Bahama menu with island-inspired dishes from the delicious Ahi Poke Napoleon, Guava-Glazed Baby Back Ribs, and Korean Steak with Ssamjang Dip

The Tommy Bahama Mai Tai made with Florde Caña 4 year-old Rum, Orgeat, Orange Curaçao, Lemon, Lime, Pineapple and Dark Rum Float

Stella Artois garnished with an orchid

French Point sourdough-style bread

Sweet nutmeg, cinnamon and honey butter

Crispy Beer Battered Fish with Honey Roasted Onions, Island Tartar and Fries

Cuban Sandwich with House Roasted Pork, Ham, Gruyère, Pickles, Sriracha Mustard 
and Jerk Yucca Fries

Ahi Poke Napoleon with diced tuna tossed with capers, soy sauce and a splash of sesame oil with 
Guacamole and Flatbread

Key Lime Pie with Graham Cracker Crust and Whipped Cream

Chef Shannon Mills

Flavours of Aloha: Cooking with Tommy Bahama

Ahi Poke Napoleon
Serves 8
Recipe courtesy of chef Shannon Mills, Tommy Bahama - St Armands Circle

1/2 lb ahi tuna steak, cut into 1/4" x 1/4" cubes
8 tbsp baby microgreens, for garnish

Tuna Poke Dressing:
1/3 cup sesame oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
3/4 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
3/4 tbsp chipotle pepper paste
1 lime, halved and juiced
1 tbsp shallot, minced
4 tsp cilantro, washed and finely chopped
4 tsp parsley, washed and finely chopped
4 tbsp capers

2 avocados, pitted, skinned and diced to 1/4"
1/2 cup yellow onions, finely diced
1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and minced
1 cup ripe tomato, diced small
2 limes, halved and juiced
1/4 cup cilantro, washed and chopped
1/2 cup green onions, bias cut in 1/4" pieces
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp coarse ground black pepper

Whisk all of the tuna poke dressing ingredients together in a medium bowl then set aside, ensuring that it's stirred again before blending with the tuna.

Gently fold together the guacamole ingredients in a medium bowl then place in a storage container, placing a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the mixture so that no air gets in until it's ready to serve.

In a large mixing bowl, gently mix the tuna and 8-ounces of the dressing and toss well to coat. To build the Ahi Poke Napoleons, place a 2-inch ring mold on a serving plate and spoon in about 1 1/2 oz of the guacamole, followed by 1 1/2 oz of the tuna, then 1 1/2 oz more of the guacamole, finishing with 1 1/2 oz of the tuna. Gently remove the ring, and repeat with the other plates. Garnish with a few baby microgreens and crisp tortilla chips to taste.

Grilled Skirt Steak with Kona Coffee Rub
Serves 4
Recipe courtesy of chef Shannon Mills, Tommy Bahama - St Armands Circle

1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp finely ground Kona coffee
1 tbsp sweet paprika, preferably Spanish or Hungarian
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

2 1/2 lb skirt steaks, cut into serving pieces
Extra-virgin olive oil

Whisk the rub ingredients together in a small bowl, and set aside. Lightly coat the steaks on both sides with the oil. Generously sprinkle the steaks all over with the rub and gently massage it in, then allow the steaks stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.

Preheat an outdoor grilled brush the grill grate clean. Cook the steaks over direct high heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, flipping the steaks halfway through cooking, until well browned, about 6 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer the steaks to a carving board and let stand for 3 to 5 minutes. With the knife held on a slight diagonal, carve the steaks across the grain. Transfer the slices and juices to a platter and serve hot.

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