Tag Archives: Libby

Louie’s Modern: 1289 N. Palm Ave. Sarasota, FL

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heart of palm salad kale salad salmon

I have a new Sarasota favorite! YAY! I met my family here for a goodbye dinner as my parents are heading out of town for the summer. Knowing that it’s run by the same people as Libby’s, (another fav) I knew I was in for a treat. I did go with slightly lowered expectations because of a surprising number of poor reviews on Yelp, but I had an open mind having been misled by Yelpers before.

Pulling up to the cool building/parking lot/outdoor bar area, It looked like a pretty fancy place by Florida standards. We walked inside to find beautifully tasteful decor. A sleek fountain in the front sets the tone of the ambiance which is minimalist, detail-oriented and chic. It is young, modern and hip feeling, but not in a trendy way.

We were seated at a comfortable banquette and looked over our placemat-menus. It has one of the most appealing selections of any restaurant I’ve been to. Even as a non-meat-eater, there were tons of awesome choices and picking one was not an easy task. It was made a little easier when Gabriel agreed to share two different salads as a starter.

The Kale Caesar was exceptional. I happen to love Kale in any form, but for the many people who don’t, I think this salad would be a great way to try it again. It didn’t even need the dressing that it came with, but once I tasted the creamy, delicious version of this classic, I devoured it even faster. The other salad we ordered was the Hawaiian Hearts of Palm with roasted beets, sunchoke, shaved fennel, radish, cucumber, pressed ricotta, and a fancy aged balsamic. It was light but full of flavor with ingredients that definitely don’t find their way into my at-home salads. Although I preferred the Kale salad, this too was wonderful.

For my entree, I ordered the Wood Fired Scottish Salmon served with blood orange confit, hearts of palm,  and pomegranate. I had a delicious side of roasted mushrooms- which sadly, I forgot to photograph. Both were outstanding, cooked to perfection and full of unexpected, complimentary flavors. The portion sizes were just right- and except for a small taste of a homemade cracker and some garlic toast, I didn’t even need to fill up on the awesome (and dangerously tempting) basket of bread on the table. I did, however, fall victim to sharing a glorious slice of Key Lime pie. It’s one of my very favorite desserts and not even wedding-preparation dieting could hold me back from indulging in a shared piece. (This too, I forgot to photograph. Sorry!)

Overall, my experience here was way above my expectations. It’s no surprise that even in the ‘off season’ they were crowded and having a reservation proved to be a good (and necessary) idea. I hope that my 5 star review will help the Yelp ratings, which I am happy to report, are WAY off.  I will surely be back asap. The prices are reasonable for an amazing dinner out, and I honestly loved everything about it. Bravo!

 

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Libby’s Cafe & Bar: 1917 S Osprey Ave Sarasota, FL

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After I circled around the area for 15 minutes looking for a parking spot, I finally noticed that Morton’s lot is ALSO for Libby’s and has free valet parking. Duh. There’s 15 minutes I’ll never get back. Hooray for valet!

My parents and Gabriel had arrived before me and were comfortably seated an an outdoor table looking over their menus. I joined them and was quickly greeted by our waitress who was ready to go over the specials and take our drink orders. During Savor Sarasota restaurant week (which, apparently, Libby’s will be honoring for the whole summer- YAY!) They offer $15 bottles of wine so we decided to share the white they had. We looked over the $25 prix fix menus and I found myself facing a tough decision- WAY too many appealing choices! I love problems like that. As I often do, I asked the waitress what her favorites were and decided to go with them- the Seoul Kitchen Chicken Lettuce cups for a starter and the  Cedar Wrapped Sustainable Salmon for my entree. The entrée comes with asparagus- not my favorite veggie, and they were happy to substitute green beans when I asked.

What turned out to be the standout for me what served next; a basket of AMAZING parmesan biscuits served with brandied (I think) cherries, butter and roasted garlic. The cheese was caramelized in the baking process and I am not lying when I tell you that these alone are plenty of reason to dine here. I am still hyper salivating thinking about them. YUM.

My appetizer came out quickly and was really delicious. It had a spicy kick from the kimchi, and the BBQ glaze on the chicken was a great combination of sweet and tangy. I love foods that require assembling, so rolling up the little lettuce wraps myself was amusing.

My entrée was described by the waitress as ‘the best salmon she ever had in her life’ so how could I *not* order it? Despite a bunch of other super interesting options on the menu, I trusted her and chose it. I have to say, I was kind of disappointed with it. Yes, the salmon itself was wonderful- cooked perfectly and seasoned lightly, but the fact that the only side were the steamed green beans was a let down. Everyone else at my table had amazing dishes with extravagant presentations, and my boring piece of salmon sitting next to a pile of veggies was totally sad looking. Although it did taste very good, it did not blow me away as tastes of everyone else’s entrees did. Oh well, next time I’ll trust my own instincts and choose something else.

For dessert I ordered the key lime pie- one of my go-to desserts when I don’t feel like chocolate (which is pretty rare). This was a great opportunity to stray from my typical loyalty. It was an excellent slice, adorably topped with gummy bears. Totally delicious, refreshing and somehow both light and rich at the same time.

I should also point out that while I didn’t totally agree with our waitress’ choice of entrees, she was an excellent server; very attentive, knowledgable and personable.

Overall, I thought that Libby’s was one of the best dining experiences I’ve had so far in Sarasota- and even faintly reminded me of my all time favorite restaurant; ABC Kitchen in NYC. (And that is a VERY high compliment) I will definitely be back- especially knowing that the prix fix deal is going on all summer long! $15 for a 3 course lunch? Yes, please!