(Yikes! Text heavy post ahead!)
It’s been a ridiculously long time since my last restaurant review! What the heck… I honestly don’t even know why because I know I’ve eaten at some crazy tasty restaurants.
Actually, I totally know why. The photos. They never come out well due to ultra low-lighting, and then couple that with the fact that I usually am only shooting in restaurants with my phone—it makes for not the best photos.
BUT! While I was home in Florida for Christmas, I had an amazing meal and I just HAVE to share it with you guys (…despite the really crappy iPhone photos…)!
State Street Eating House + Cocktails (or more commonly just “State Street”) is located in downtown Sarasota on—you guessed it!—State Street, haha.
It’s actually encompasses two spaces side-by-side: one is the restaurant + a bar and the other is a speakeasy! How cool is that? I actually visited the speakeasy side a few nights prior to my family grabbing dinner at the restaurant, so I thought I’d add my experience there in, too (scroll down to the photos if you want to just get straight to the food!).
The speakeasy side has no signs, and large curtains block out the door and windows. Inside, there is a small sitting area to the right, and to the left is a huge wooden bar. It’s stocked with your typical alcohol, but also specialty liquors, such a barrel-aged bourbon. In the back there is a separate room that I can only describe as an old time-y cigar lounge? It’s stocked with old leather chairs, and heads of various animals are hung all over the wall—bizarre, yet awesome.
The bartender had a crazy awesome beard, and was looking awfully dapper in a plaid button-up and vest. He totally looked the part to be working in this place, and I oddly felt like I was back in Seattle. It had that hipster vibe, ya know? As I do in almost all new foodie situations, I default to the people who work there to decide on my order. He recommended their Whiskey Sour, and damn was it good! Plus, watching him make it was pretty neat as he cracked the egg and frothed the egg white right in front of me. It was a little pricey at $10, but I’d definitely recommend it if you’re just up for a single drink (maybe 2).
Now for the restaurant side!
As a fun send-off, my family (all 6 of us!) went to State Street on my last night in Florida. The place was pretty packed when we showed up, but luckily we had made a reservation. We were sat at a large wooden table outside, which was kind of perfect considering it was in the low 70s (the beauty of Florida winters!).
To start our meal we ordered a few cheese appetizers. I was immediately smitten with the idea of the cheese special, and insisted we order two, for fear I wouldn’t get enough, haha.
House-made Ricotta with Honeycomb, Roasted Tomatoes, and Walnuts
It.Was.AWESOME. I could not stop raving about it the entire time and I’m pretty sure my family was getting a little annoyed by my “MMmms” and “OH MY GAWWWWDs.” I may have even had to request more bread so I could get every last bit of that cheese…
We also ordered:
Grilled Goat Cheese & Basil Leaf Wrapped in Romaine, with Fresh Chopped Tomato, Caper berry, Aged Balsamic, Olive Oil & Grilled Bread
It was delicious, but I still preferred the ricotta (though I’m a huge sucker for homemade ricotta on crusty bread). My mom was all about this one, though!
To start, my little brother Thomas ordered a bowl of their chowder:
New England Clam Chowder With Local Warm Water Clams, Celery, Gold Potato & “Trenton” Oyster Crackers
I tried a bite and it was great, though I admittedly didn’t try the actual clams because I’m super weird about shellfish.
Rebecca ordered the “Mini” Lobster Rolls, against my urging of her not to. You see, right after my sinus surgery in May, my mom, Rebecca, and I ordered takeout from here. I ordered the Roasted Sweet Potato with Goat Butter, Nutmeg, & Sea Salt (amazing by the way), and the lobster rolls. So, I knew they when they say “mini,” they really mean itty bitty. Don’t get me wrong, they are tasty, but they are $7 and look like this:
Rebecca and Amanda also split a salad:
Baby Arugula, Shaved Parmesan, Petite Sauteed Crouton, Olive Oil Poached Tomato-Vinaigrette
Naturally, I had a bite of this, too, and it was pretty darn tasty. The tomatoes were the same as those from the ricotta appetizer—yum!
Onto the entrees!
Amanda and Rebecca split: Sweet Potato Gnocchi, Baby Spinach, Fresh Tomato, Toasted Pine nuts & Aged Parmesan
It was actually incredible, and I LOVED how the outside of the gnocchi were crisped up, but the centers still pillowy soft!
My mom and dad both ordered the fish special, which was Mahi Mahi encrusted with Lump Crab Meat
Very, very delicious! Super over-the-top in the best way possible.
Thomas ordered Sliced Flat Iron Steak With Fresh Horseradish Gremolata, French Style Whipped Idaho Potatoes, Green Beans & Meat Jus
Which I assume was awesome because it was gone in less than 5 minutes, and no one was offered a bite, haha!
As for me, I went with a waiter recommendation, because I’m incredibly indecisive when everything sounds delicious:
Chickpea Casserole, Grated Yellow Zucchini, Basil Leaf, Wilted Spinach, Charred Sweet Bell Pepper, Smoked Tomato Oil & Toasted Pine Nuts
It was amazing, and unexpected! Instead of whole chickpeas, there were soft chickpea cakes layered with crazy tasty roasted vegetables, topped with nutty cheese, and fruity olive oil. Oh, and those amazing tomatoes showed up in this dish, too. I want to buy a jar of them, and eat them endlessly.
I also ordered Brussels Sprouts Roasted in Duck Fat, because I would be crazy not to!
They were phenomenal! My only regret is being too full to finish them.
The only thing not pictured is the Grilled Asparagus with Lemon & Sea Salt that my sisters ordered. I didn’t even bother with it because I was too caught up in a love affair with the sprouts. And no, we didn’t save any room for dessert, hah
Oh! And because I’m lucky enough to have a dad that adores wine, I get to enjoy really good wines when I’m home. Plus, State Street has a neat way of selling their wine by the bottle. Everything is sold at retail price (no mark-up!), and then they just add a corkage fee. Basically, it makes it the same price as if you were to bring a bottle from home that you bought at the grocery store!
These are the two bottles we split with dinner:
Orin Swift’s D66 is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Carignan. It’s what you’d call a “big” wine, full of rich, fruity and silky flavors. It’s phenomenal.
T-Vine’s 2011 Petite Syrah is spicy and fruity, with subtle woody notes, and a strong finish. This one is also totally delicious!
That about wraps it up! Do you guys like restaurant reviews like this? Is this way too much text in one post (umm almost 1200 words…whyyyy Rachael?!)?