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16C THURSDAY JANUARY 30, 2003

THE LONGBOAT OBSERVER

DINING

Dining out

New downtown Mattison venture is a winner The latest occupant of the corner of Lemon Avenue and Main Street in downtown Sarasota is Mattison’s City Grille. Paul Mattison, formerly with the Summerhouse and the Sarasota Bread Company, is the proprietor. Mattison is also the proprietor of the Mattison’s, an American Bistro and Catering Co. in St. Petersburg. Capturing your attention as you approach Mattison’s City Grille from Main Street is the “Singing Chef,” a life-size Jack Dowd sculpture. An ironwork fence surrounds the restaurant. The entrance gate is on North Lemon Avenue.

Seating is mainly outdoors, with tables and chairs under large umbrellas. The central portion of the spacious restaurant has a three-sided bar with a long table for stand-up imbibing or snacking. For the cool weather such as we’ve had recently, clear plastic curtains can be dropped for the center section of the Grille, with large, standing heaters set around the remaining areas. The atmosphere is reminiscent of a New York City restaurant with a steady stream of passersby and the cars inching along on the city streets, creating a continuous but non-invasive panorama. Mattison’s fine-dining touch is apparent. The wait staff is meticulously attired in black. Customer service is the top priority and your needs are anticipated. Tableware is neatly wrapped in a black linen napkin. A friendly waitress explains the items on the menu are served all day, but there are lunch and dinner specials. We were dining at an off time, about 3:30 p.m., and luncheon specials were still available. A blackboard on an easel detailed the specials: A Caesar salad wrap, 1/2 ham and cheese sandwich, a cup of soup (lamb and barley), and greens and beans. I inquired about the beans and greens. Our waitress explained the dish had sautéed greens with white beans served in a rich broth. Feeling the discomfort of the beginnings of a cold, greens and beans sounded like just the comfort food I needed. The menu has a wonderful selection of tapas, 15 in all, just perfect for casual dining. Take your choice: Gamberi Fritta, fried rock shrimp with roasted- pepper remoulade; baby lamp chops with eggplant caponata and rosemary atoli; Troutinni, bite-sized filets of rainbow trout, basil crusted and served with stewed tomatoes; or Fried Sushi, tuna and veggie rolls tempura-fried with pickled ginger and seaweed salad. My companion chose to be conservative and selected the chicken club sandwich with focaccia bread. Other choices on the sandwich menu are the Veggie Panini, with mixed roasted vegetables with Gouda cheese, or the Nonna Esther Special, named for Mattison’s grandmother. The sandwich has salami, prosciutto and capicola with tomatoes, roasted garlic, olive oil and provolone served on roasted rustic bread. Sandwiches at Mattison’s City Grille are served with a side dish

by Dora WALTERS

1303

Ristorante NORTHERN ITALIAN CONTINENTAL FESTA

“Absolutely exquisite ...the very best” Bon Appetit Magazine

Take-out Menu Catering

Casual Waterfront Dining Lunch & Dinner Daily

Open Daily 5:30 - 10:00 PM

Happy Hour Every Day 4-7 pm Afternoon (Full Liquor Bar) Entertainment Every Sunday Great 383-7699 Specials

Reservations Suggested

5702 Marina Drive • Holmes Beach, FL

1303

1303

(941) 779-0220 or (941) 779-0221

6 814 G u l f o f M e x i c o D r i v e Whitney Beach Plaza

Berries glacé is a delicious finish to a great meal. of either field greens, French fries, fresh fruit or cole slaw. The sautéed greens and beans really hit the spot — total comfort food. The broth was rich, flavorful and thick with the greens and beans. I couldn’t really identify individual greens. The waitress said it was mixture of fresh greens. Accompanying it was warm garlic bread with whipped butter. The chicken club featured a very tender chicken breast filet topped with Swiss cheese, lettuce and tomato. Desserts are not listed but our waitress described the desserts of the day for us. A flourless chocolate cake, crème brulée, warm apple pie with ice cream and berries glacé were our choices. One can’t go wrong with apple pie a lá mode, and after our waitress informed us the berries of the day were fresh strawberries, berry glacé was our second choice. The apple pie was served in a bowl enabling the last spoonful of melting ice cream to be savored. The berries glacé, served in a long-stemmed glass, looked beautiful and were every bit as good to eat. One of the tapas, the Troutinni, continued to tempt me. I figured my taste buds would working again shortly, so I decided to order the tapas to go. I knew some of quality would be lost by overnighting it in the refrigerator, but it was still terrific the next day. The combination of the basil-crusted rainbow trout bites and the stewed tomato was very complementary. Another tapas I am definitely going try on my next visit to Mattison’s City Grille is Artichokes French. The menu describes the preparation as fried piccata style with tomato-lemon-caper butter. Sounds like a great combination of flavors. The bar has a wide selection of international beers and wines.

Relax…

in a casual atmosphere

Sip…

a cool cocktail

Steve’s Fabulous Fish Specialties

Enjoy…

appealing appetizers, enticing entrees & delectable desserts

Photo courtesy of The Longboat Key Historical Society

“I’m so happy I found this restaurant. I can’t believe I haven’t been here before. Thank You, I love it and i’ve been here twice this week.” Mr. & Mrs. Palozzo’s LBK

Casual indoor and *outdoor dining with one of Longboat’s most scenic views. * We have heaters on our deck when it’s chilly.

NEW

Dinner Tuesday thru Sunday Lounge music Wednesdays 8pm

Tucked away in the village of Longboat Key 760 Broadway Street By the Bay . . . Channel Marker 39

Sunday Breakfast 8:30 - 12:30 383.7774

383-2391

Lunch 11:30-5:00; Dinner 5:00-10:00. Seven Days a Week

1303

1303

1303

388.3948 St. Armands Circle 325 John Ringling Boulevard

CENTRE SHOPS 5350 GULF OF MEXICO DRIVE LONGBOAT KEY www.restaurantmaureen.com

January 30 2003  
January 30 2003  
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