Saturday, December 10, 2011

Michael John's Restaurant

Chef Michael John Auer's humble food beginnings consisted of cooking with his mother at age six, and ended with he being the successful executive chef and owner of Michael John's in Bradenton, Florida.  This American brasserie serves steak and seafood at unpretentious prices.  Low lit, with piano scene artwork, the brasserie has a medium sized dining area that is split in two.  Christmas music played softly in the background along with a blend of Sinatra and classic blues.  The service was attentive, and one of the few restaurants in town where the entrees really are cooked to order, and brought to you only when you are completely finished with your previous course.

The decor is a little sad and nothing to write home about, but we recognized that we were being served food at prices that are very moderate by fine dining standards. Therefore, be glad it's in Bradenton. In a major city, you'd pay double.  We were seated at a "corner booth" that would be great for romantic dates.  Our server took our drink order and then we were greeted with piping hot fresh bread and a shooter of chickpea bisque.  Keith found this spicy, chunky sample to be absolutely delicious, whereas I thought it was good, but not stellar.  None of the appetizers caught my eye, so I decided to skip one and save room for dessert.  Keith ordered the "dirty caesar" salad that is MJ's play on a dirty martini.  The portion was above average, yet the lettuce was way overdressed and soggy.  My scallops were cooked and seasoned just right.  The Port-raspberry sauce was not too cloyingly sweet and complimented the meat well.  The mash potatoes and steamed veg on the plate were totally bland though.  Keith's steak was cooked perfectly and the quality matched many higher end steakhouses.  He also enjoyed the potato gratin, yet also found the veg to be boring.  The dessert was a huge portion, so I am glad we shared.  It was a perfect sweet ending to our meal that we enjoyed before taking a picture half way through.

Total Rating: 3.75
Food: 4, Price: 4, Service: 4, Ambience: 2, Accessibility: 3

What I ate:
Chickpea Bisque
with roasted red pepper

Sea Scallops Port
pan seared sea scallops in a Port-raspberry reduction sauce
served with mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables

Streusel Bread Pudding
with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce

Plus Keith ate:
"Dirty" Caesar Salad
with egg, olives

12 oz Black Angus Filet
with potato gratin and steamed vegetables

Michael John's Restaurant on Urbanspoon MJ's (Michael John's) on Urbanspoon

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