Pleasure about Meliora started out constructing effectively right before the restaurant in fact opened on Hillview Street earlier this year.
That was mainly thanks to the pedigree of the homeowners. In advance of they and their households moved to Sarasota from Washington, D.C., typical manager Bruce Pike ran an event production enterprise that put on situations at sites like the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian, and chef Drew Adams had labored at Michelin-starred D.C. restaurants like The Dabney, Plume and Rose’s Luxury. When I 1st fulfilled them, I arrived away impressed by how severe they had been about making Meliora good.
And guess what? It is.
For evidence, just get the raw scallops ($19). Sliced wafer-slender and put in the base of a broad-mouthed glass bowl, the bivalves are smothered in a smooth, creamy sauce fortified with discarded bits of more scallop, and then dolloped with basil oil and sprinkled with herbs and flower petals snipped from a bouquet set up near Adams’ chef station. A spoonful delivers a powerful dose of pure scallop. It’s astonishing.
The menu at Meliora is divided into two straightforward halves—“cold” (where by you will locate these scallops) and “hot”—and the dishes run on the lesser facet. The notion is to order a handful of objects, share them (or not) and then get a lot more rounds right up until you’re total.
On the chilly aspect of things, you are going to locate mussels ($13) turned plump and meaty in a smoker and sweetened with honey, garlic and olive oil, as nicely as floor pork ($17) paired with fermented kohlrabi and supposed to be positioned in lettuce cups and eaten by hand. Coloured a deep black, with an extremely-gentle, squishy texture, a tiny loaf of Japanese milk bread ($8) represents a wide advancement in excess of the common bread basket that hits the table at most eating places.
If you are fortunate, get a seat at the chef’s desk in the rear. There, you can observe Adams and his staff as they meticulously end each individual dish with instruments like tweezers and small spray bottles that deliver mists of flavor. For an illustration of the restaurant’s interest to depth, purchase the fried potatoes ($15). Believe you will get a pile of French fries? Nope. The workers cuts slim square slices of spuds, stacks them into perfect cubes, then deep-fries them, plating them in a schmear of a somewhat sweet Marsala-kissed sauce, with paper-thin mushrooms and dots of a velouté sauce on major. Maitake mushrooms ($16), in the meantime, are sautéed right up until a little bit crispy all-around the edges and dunked in a cauliflower-inflected mousseline sauce.
For a more considerable entrée, test the duck ($48), which arrives with a leg and a breast well prepared in two diverse methods and served with soft buns and an array of condiments and toppings you can mix and match to make little sandwiches. Bigger up on the menu, a fried tender-shell crab ($18) gets a equivalent preparation.
I have been to Meliora 2 times now, and I’m by now itching to go back. I haven’t touched the dry-aged fish hanging in the cooler in the rear of the restaurant, the ribeye or the restaurant’s pastas, but all of them are on my to-do record. They must be on yours, far too.
Meliora is found at 1920 Hillview St., Sarasota, (941) 444-7692, meliorarestaurant.com