Thursday, March 27, 2014

Eat Here

Eat Here is the sidekick to the Beach Bistro, a popular restaurant on Anna Maria Island, Florida. Casual, yet sophisticated, the island-style, gulf coast cookery maintains the same high culinary standards patrons have come to expect from owner Sean Murphy. Preparations are offered in a variety of small plates that are perfect for sharing and moderately priced for everyday dining. Menu selections include port-braised pot roast, lobstercargot, smoked salmon & crème fraiche pizza and New Orleans-style seafood stew. The beer list features owner-operated craft breweries from around the world, while the wine list presents a broad, by-the-glass offering of comfortably-priced varietals.

December 2011: Located in a strip mall, Eat Here was easy to find, yet the entrance is a little obscure as I thought we were going through the side or emergency exit.  There is no real hostess stand or entryway, so you are awkwardly standing right in the middle of the dining room as you enter.  Filled with vibrant decor and sculpture from the area’s most recognized local artists, Eat Here has a sophisticated energy that is accentuated by giclée reproduction tabletops, an imported french community table and intimate booths complete with cool, filtered water served in wine carafes. After waiting about 10 minutes for a table or booth, we ultimately decided to sit at the end of the high community table.  Our server, Jenevieve was very nice and described the small plates concept and the specials for the night.  We decided on three dishes to share and a "main" for each of us.  This was plenty of food.  Unfortunately, we ordered french fries with gravy as one of our apps without realizing that pretty much all the dishes come with a side of fries.  This was a little weird, since we are familiar with the small/shared plates menus and Eat Here presented their plates as mini-dinners complete with sides.

The food was very flavorful, creative, and paired well with the Riesling that I chose.  Portions were just right and we actually ordered a bit more than was needed.  My Mahi Mahi was cooked perfectly and well seasoned.  Keith's ribs were more sweet than spicy, but the cole slaw had a nice acidic bite.  We indulged and ordered dessert; Keith dove right in before I had a chance to get a picture.  Although we hadn't been to the Beach Bistro, we appreciated the more casual take on the same high cuisine at Eat Here.

March 2014:  We finally returned to Eat Here on our recent trip back to AMI.  This time we made reservations, however there was a slight glitch when we arrived, and so we waited a few minutes for a table to be cleared. Not a big deal.  Matt was our server, and he was very jovial and recited the daily specials with ease.  We decided to start off with drinks - I ordered the same Riesling I got last time, which I loved, and Keith ordered a Jai Alai beer from Tampa, FL.

Since we loved the shrimpcargots so much before, we ordered them again.  The little pieces of collard green added a different touch, yet I could not taste any smoked bacon - only garlic, garlic, and more garlic.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.  In fact, I loved the garlic bread that accompanied and used it to soak up more of the melted garlic butter.

Another item that looked interesting to share were the Tempura’d Beets. Nice chunks of ripe beets were lightly battered, and served with crème fraiche.  Surprisingly, Keith liked them more than I predicted and these little bites seemed never ending. Tasty indeed.

Next, I ordered the Clams as a main dish.  These were fire roasted in a broth of white wine, garlic butter, red peppers, andouille sausage
and a little sea salt from Aron Welch’s clam farm in Terra Ceia Bay.  They were very fresh and came with more bread.

Keith ordered the Island-style Ribs again.  They are crisped in the fryer, tossed with herbed garlic butter and Thai mustard.  Last time, he had the sweeter papaya jam version, but he liked the mustard preparation better.  The fries were greasy, yet super addicting and he finished every last one.

Overall, we enjoyed our meal at Eat Here again.  The food was fresh, and service was laid back.  They have two additional Eat Here locations in Florida, so their popularity is catching on.

Total Rating: 3.95
Food: 4, Price: 4, Service: 4, Ambience: 3, Accessibility: 5

What I ate:
Pelham Frites
with gravy

Cedar Key Clams
pan cooked with chardonnay, a splash of pernod,
a little garlic and sweet cream and a soupcon of curry and frites

with collard greens and smoked bacon

Mahi Mahi
pan roasted with a key-lime butter and capers
served with a curried corn souffle

Chocolate Bundino
dark chocolate pudding with a touch of sea salt
Tempura’d Beets
lightly battered, served with crème fraiche

fire roasted, white wine, garlic butter, red peppers, andouille sausage
and a little sea salt from Aron Welch’s clam farm in Terra Ceia Bay

Plus Keith ate:
Island-style Ribs
St. Louis cut, crisped in the fryer, tossed with herbed garlic butter
and bell pepper-papaya jam. served with cole slaw and frites

    Eat Here - Anna Maria Island on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you had some good food here, Anna Maria Island is a great place to eat out on. You should try Ginny and Jane E's for some real soul food with a great atmosphere


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