Last week I was invited to a media tasting at the local restaurant Baker and Wife Sarasota! They are celebrating their 3 year anniversary this month and I have always wanted to visit, but for some reason, I always forgot about it when it came time to pick a place to eat. Well, I can confidently say now, this is a spot that will be burned into my memory for good. I have so many awesome things to say about my experience there, but let me start with the decor first.
When my friend Laurie and I arrived at the tasting we were greeted by our host Eleni, given a sparkling welcome cocktail and told to check the place out! As you can see from the photos, not a single detail was left undone here. This is true of both the decor, the service, the food and the cocktails. Everything here is simple yet elevated and I love how it feels rustic and modern at the same time. The vibe is classy casual and the dining room is bright and inviting. It’s definitely the kind of place you could come to after a day at the beach and feel comfortable, as well as a great spot to stop by after work for happy hour.
From there we sat down and met the owners Isaac and Iya Correa. Isaac is the Executive Chef of Baker & Wife Sarasota and L’Adresse in NYC and Iya is the front of the house manager and decorator! Isaac is Puerto Rican and from New York, but met Iya while he was working as a chef in Russia. They fell in love and the rest is history! They’ve traveled and worked all over the world, and infused those flavors into their diverse menu.
Baker and Wife Sarasota – The Food
We started the evening noshing on crispy Brussel sprouts and roasted cauliflower, a Mezze platter with housemade garlic focaccia (swoon) and sticky sesame baked wings.
And that is how I fell in love with Baker and Wife Sarasota at first bite! Everything was executed perfectly. The Brussels sprouts and wings were crispy and delicious, and dipping the soft, fragrant focaccia bread into the creamy hummus, tzatziki, and pkhali dips was basically heaven. But wait, there’s so much more! We didn’t leave hungry…
They also brought out garlic grilled shrimp with smoked chipotle salt in a tomatillo-avocado sauce and a watercress and butternut squash salad with parmesan, roasted pepitas, and a citrus dressing. The presentation of all the dishes was truly beautiful, but everything tasted even better than it appeared. The Florida pink shrimp were juicy, expertly seasoned and the sauce was the perfect creamy accompaniment. As for the salad, it looked pretty simple, but that citrus dressing paired with the salty cheese really brought the watercress and squash to another level. From there we moved on to the main courses…
The kale, spinach, basil and pistachio pesto orecchiette entree may have been one of the best pasta dishes I’ve ever had! A delicious blend of herbs, nuts, and salty cheese coating perfectly al dente noodles takes comfort food to a whole new level. I also got my first ever taste of Octopus that night! I had been so hesitant to try it because I thought the texture may have been too chewy for my tastes, but it was so good. My fear of tentacles is now gone. The next dish we sampled was a simple juicy gulf grouper over a bed of black-eyed peas. I think one of my favorite things about this restaurant is everything is so simple, but so well done. You can taste all of the flavors and pinpoint specific ingredients. Nothing is “overdone” at Baker and Wife Sarasota.
We were also given a chance to try one of the vegetarian-friendly items on the menu, the pumpkin garbanzo burger. As many of my friends know, I opt to eat vegetarian the majority of the week, so I know a thing or two about veggie burgers. It was hearty, flavorful, and let’s not overlook that generous portion of mashed avacado on top! YUM. The restaurant recently revamped the menu to add more vegetarian and gluten-free friendly items so just about anyone can find something tasty to satisfy them here.
I would be remiss if I didn’t discuss one of the most fun parts of the evening, which was, of course, the cocktails! Uldis Petersons, the head mixologist, kept our glasses full all night with his delicious concoctions. My guest for the evening and I are very open to trying new things, so instead of ordering from the menu, we had Uldis pick out drinks for us! Uldis is Latvian and is heading off to his homeland to compete in the Rigas Black Balsam competition, which was explained to us as basically being the world cup for bartenders. After sampling some of his recipes, I think we understand why he was invited to such a prestigious event.
I am not a fan of drinks that are too sweet, and I really loved that Uldis’ creations were perfectly balanced. The garnishes were so beautiful as well! They dry their own fruit in-house and it adds such a fun and pretty twist to the drinks.
Although we were pretty much stuffed by the time we finished dinner, our hosts brought out dessert! I can usually always find room for a few bites to satisfy my sweet tooth though, and like everything else we ate at Baker and Wife Sarasota, the desserts were excellent.
The dessert on the left is the “Baker’s Banofee” which is house-made banana pudding, caramel, chocolate, Chantilly cream, and pecans, with a graham cracker crumble. It was light and creamy, and discovering little pieces of sticky toffee mixed in was like hitting the jackpot! The dessert on the right is the double chocolate brownie with house-made salted popcorn ice cream. This was one of the fudgiest brownies I’ve ever had, and that’s exactly how I like my brownies to be! It was definitely rich and indulgent. I personally only need a few spoonfuls of a dessert like this so I’m glad we all got to share.
Since last Thursday I’ve really been able to reflect on my experience at Baker and Wife Sarasota. There aren’t a lot of other places in Sarasota doing what they do. Every detail, from the decor, to the menu, to the service, to the cuisine has been carefully thought out. It’s clear Isaac, Iya and the staff have a passion for making sure every part of your experience is one to remember. I’m looking forward to visiting again soon and exploring more of this beautiful menu. Is this on your list of restaurants to try in Sarasota too?