A visit to Sanibel Island.
To try Chef Randy Post’s elegant tasting menu, we crossed the new Sanibel Causeway's three tall spans to Sanibel Island's Gasparilla’s Grill. (Years before, I took the ferry over, walked miles of open beaches lined with colorful shells, while crouched in the primal “Sanibel Stoop”).
Gasparilla’s Grill houses 3 different restaurants under one welcoming roof. A friendly casual bar with pool tables, a central regular dining room, and a third, smaller room, The Pearl, for private parties and tasting meals.
We were very impressed with our Seven Course Gourmet Wine Dinner in the Pearl Room. Each course's wine was selected by Naples Wine Knows’ Michael Bevacqua.
The Dinner started with a Puttanesca Escargot in Goat Cheese Crostini with Roasted Garlic. This was followed by a chilled Tangerine Tomato Soup with Roasted-Avocado Corn Salsa, topped with a perfectly Blackened Shrimp, and accompanied by Woop Woop wine from Australia. Then came Goliath Asparagus and Shaved Prosciutto with a Black Peppercorn Pesto and Golden Pepper Coulis. Whew! Quite a mix of flavors and textures.
Then came a roulade of thinly sliced beef tenderloin enclosing crispy Lime Jicama Slaw, accented by Grand Marnier Margarita sauce, and paired with an Abiso Reserve Malbec. A Mimosa Sorbet arrived, to allow for a well timed pause. Truly fresh tropical delights!
The star of the night, the Macadamia Dusted Seabass, was served in a Thai –Basil Sambal Broth with Coconut-Scallion Pesto. (Chef/Owner Randy Post does not scrimp on the sizes of his portions) After a good pause, we enjoyed Toasted Choco-nut Rum Cake Sundae with Coconut Ice Cream, and a Luscious Chocolate-butter sauce. What an evening!
Alas, few of the other island restaurants have chosen to leave their comfortable niches to approach the higher end market, and Chef Randy should continue to do well, ably serving this niche. With Sanibel's small population, tasting dinners may be offered several times a month.
Note: We met Publisher Friedrich Jaeger and Associate Publisher Lauren Davies of “Times of the Islands” (TOTI). Their beautiful Sanibel based publication covers primarily Lee County events and personalities. Their March issue was famous/infamous for “The Body as Landscape”, featuring Photographer Allan Teger’s whimsical close ups of rather hard to recognize human bodies as tableaux. This issue received nationwide coverage, as some found the photos “shocking”. Go figure.
Queenie's Mimosa Sorbet
Macadamia Dusted Sea Bass
Chef Randy Post
Syril "Escargot Lady"
Lauren and Friedrich
Rum Cake Sundae
Rum Cake Sundae
Gasparilla’s Grill 2499 Periwinkle Way, at Tarpon Bay, on the Left side of Periwinkle 239-472-2323 http://www.gasparillasgrill.com/
****Addenum*** With the economy and summer doldrums, Gasparilla's Grill closed June, 2008. Biddles Bucket is opening with Chef Bruno Ferreyra, at this site July 4th, 2008, with a Family Friendly offerings, and a large amusement room for children.