It was my mother’s birthday and we met at Verona to celebrate. It happened to fall during Savor Sarasota restaurant week, so we were excited to be able to have 3 course dinners for a fraction of the cost that it would usually be. Verona is inside of the Ritz-Carlton hotel, and it is fancy. We arrived to find valet parking, beautiful floral arrangements, and excellent live music at a gorgeous grand piano in the main lobby.
When we entered the restaurant, we were led to our table but then asked to be seated outside as they have a really lovely outdoor area. We soon realized that it was actually uncomfortably hot out there and decided to move inside after all. Our waitress was more than accommodating to our ever-changing minds, and we could tell that she was equally relieved that she wouldn’t have to be melting outside serving us.
Our drink orders were taken and I must say, I immediately got the sense that we had an exceptional server. She was very friendly, knowledgeable, polite and articulate and she served us wonderfully throughout the whole meal. If I’m not mistaken, I believe her name was Kimberly. If you can be seated in her section, I strongly recommend it. She was a big part of why our meal was so wonderful.
A delicious basket of bread and fresh butter was served along with our awesome cocktails and we happily tasted each type as we looked over the menu.
I started with the crab bisque with popcorn, mango and mint and it was presented in a whimsical way. It reminded me a LOT of the way my favorite restaurant in the world would do it: ABC Kitchen in NYC. (See that review here: https://bigforkinmouth.wordpress.com/2010/11/20/abc-kitchen-35-east-18th-st-new-york-ny-10003/) It started with a simple bowl containing crab, popcorn, mango and mint and then the waiter came around with a pitcher of the warm bisque to fill the bowl with. It was outstanding. Creamy and delicious with large chunks of fresh crab. Yum.
Next I had the Hammock Hallow Daily Harvest which was eggplant, bok choy, ginger topped with an amazing fried/poached egg. WOW. This was so tasty that I think I will try to recreate it at home sometime. The crisp outside of the egg was a wonderful contrast to the creamy, rich, soft yolk inside, and the way it lightly coated the fresh vegetables was genius.
For dessert I had the key lime pie with vanilla/mango coulis and citrus sorbet. It was beautifully presented and a great, refreshing way to end the meal. The portions here (at least when you order from the Savor Sarasota menu, I’m not sure about the regular menu) are definitely on the small side. I am fine with that- as I’d always rather small portions of exquisite food over large plates of mediocrity, but for some, the plates might be too small. That said, I definitely left feeling full but not overstuffed, and with the memory of a truly wonderful meal. I’d strongly suggest a visit should you have the time before restaurant week ends- or a visit on another day, should you have some extra money to spend 🙂 Enjoy!