Who: Yelp Elite
What is a Jack Dusty? Pusser's has a lovely description of some of the fun nautical terms, including the history behind the name Jack Dusty.
I'm not the sort who usually has $450 a night to drop on a hotel room, and as a result, the Ritz-Carlton chain is outside the lexicon of my typical travel destination. However, last night we had the chance to live large, courtesy of Yelp and the Sarasota Ritz-Carlton. Jack Dusty's, a so new it's not even open yet restaurant is housed on the main floor of the hotel's Sarasota location. Specialties are supremely-fresh seafood and handcrafted cocktails made by rockstar bartenders.
Here's my review of the event and some photos:
My first Yelp Elite event! Thanks so much to Brett, event planner extraordinaire, and the staff of the Sarasota Ritz-Carlton for having us!
I have to give kudos to the supremely diplomatic valet staff, who identified me as a Yelper on arrival, not by my dilapidated mini-van, but because so many of us were arriving at once (or so he says) :)
Jack Dusty's is a new restaurant inside the hotel. It leaves behind the usual gilded stuffiness of the Ritz for a fresh, open and relaxed ambience. (On my planet we call this "casual").
This was not a food heavy event, the star of the night was the bar, as highlighted by the live mermaid sitting on top of it. We were treated all of their handcrafted drinks, and the servers wandering the room had trays full of drinks as well. Nothing watered down here folks. I had the Purser's Bane ($12) listed on the menu as: "Pussers Rum, Coconut, grapefruit, passion fruit, Aperol, Cocchi Vermouth," and served in a highball glass with a generous serving of freshly grated coconut on top. The drink was reminiscent of a pina colada, but elevated with the additional of passion fruit and Cocchi vermouth. Sweet and creamy, I'll be back again just for this.
We tried tasty little bites like fried calamari, tuna sashimi, ceviche and blini with caviar. I loved the ceviche, it was so fresh and served with a little chip for crunch, just needed a bit more salt. The calamari was the star, perfectly fried bites of tender calamari served with a mildly spicy harissa mayo, yum! There were servers with some kind of fried-green tomato appetizer going around that I heard was delicious, but I never got to try.
Just outside the restaurant is a beautiful patio warmed with some lovely in-ground fireplaces. It was a great way to end the evening, sitting by the waterfront with great company!