Beach Bistro (Shorelines – Fall 2012)

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At Sean Murphy’s Beach Bistro on Anna Maria Island, the stunning water views take center stage.  But when the food arrives, drag your gaze from the setting sun and enjoy the riches on your plate.  Eating at the much-awarded, 26-year-old Beach Bistro is like dining in Eden.

The menu reveals Murphy’s relaxed and humorous take on sophisticated food.  For instance, in describing his “Bistro Bouillabaisse, Famous” he wants us to know that he had to “hire a bunch of pros to build a killer broth” and assure us that “Martha Stewart cannot do this.”  At $57 for the hungry-man portion and $49 for the lighter one, this traditional French Provencal seafood with Pernod and saffron in an aromatic broth lives up to its billing.

Another French favorite, fois gras, is an embarrassment of riches that includes three sauces. A slab of silky Hudson Valley goose liver is laid on top of a brioche bread pudding garnished with a vanilla bean and Sauternes reduction ($35).  Other Beach Bistro classics on my list of favorites are the pan-seared Floribbean grouper, crusted with toasted coconut and cashews finished with red pepper papaya jam ($47), and the rack of fresh domestic lamb made with a port rosemary demi-glace (market price).  The Caesar salad is exceptionally well balanced and yummy ($15).  Desserts are classical – key lime pie, fruit crepes, and a rich chocolate truffle terrine that’s made with bittersweet chocolate and cognac ($14).

Beach Bistro is located at:
6600 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach
Phone: 941-778-6444
Reservations are a must!