Burns Court Bistro and Wine Bar, Sarasota, Florida

Hurry to Burns Court Bistro and Wine Bar.  It is a lovely place under new management, and they are selling bottles of wine at a deep discount (since they don’t know exactly how well the previous owners stored and cared for the inventory).  And the kitchen produces well-balanced and flavorful food.  This place is very good.

We actually backed into Burns Court Bistro.  After eating a big breakfast and a big, late lunch at Columbia, Nancy and I decided to watch the sunset and then have a light dinner.  After checking recommendations and menus, we settled on Owens Fish Camp on Burns Court.  It has good fish tacos, according to reports, so we strolled over and arrived at about 8:00 p.m., only to learn that there was a two-hour wait.  We turned around and trudged back toward our hotel, until a benevolent Providence placed the Burns Court Bistro and Wine Bar in our path.

What could be better for a light dinner than a wine bar?  And what could be better than a wine bar with a talented combo — bass, piano, and trumpet — playing Gershwin, Cole Porter and the like?  Let me tell you what would be better.  First, a super-bargain wine list in addition to the lengthy reasonably-priced wine list of the new owners’ selections.  Second, a short but attractive menu of well-prepared dishes.  And an array of desserts that look oh, so inviting.

I ordered a light meal, garlic shrimp with rice and mixed vegetables.

burns court j

and Nancy ordered the Avocado Caprese Salad with shrimp.  It comes with strawberries and good mozzarella    Well, you can see for yourself.

burns court n

The garlic shrimp was a thoughtful dish that exceeded my expectations.  The garlic flavor was right there, but not screaming in your face like, say, the one-note garlic bread I used to make.  Here, the garlic was complemented by fresh rosemary in a dish that enhanced rather than dominated the shrimp.  It was delicious.  The vegetables were nicely seasoned, and the rice was cooked properly, with a nice nutty flavor and an al dente texture.  It was a great meal, and an extraordinary bargain at $15.

Nancy really liked her salad.   It was fresh and well-composed, just the dinner she wanted.

Oh, I mentioned a dessert array.  Nancy and I abstained, but the people at the next table came in just for wine and dessert.  They had some pastries and one person had a generous slice (the technical term is “large hunk”) of carrot cake.  She enjoyed it so much that she talked about getting a second piece to make sure their carrot cake was consistent.  Respect.

You’re waiting to hear about the bargain bottles of wine.  Okay.  I ordered a bottle of wine for myself — a Chianti that normally would cost about double what I paid for it.

burns ct wine

(Note to censorious or alarmed readers: I did not plan to  and did not in fact drink it all then and there.  I calculated that at the sharply reduced price, it would be cheaper than buying wine by the glass.  Well, almost cheaper.  I also calculated that I could have, had I so desired, secretly spirited the rest of the bottle, re-corked, back to my hotel and enjoyed it later in our trip.  Hypothetically.

I subtly checked on line and my wine retails for $13; and $13 wines tend to be just fine with me, as this one was.  The standard 3x restaurant wine mark-up (you knew that restaurants triple the retail price of wines, didn’t you?) normally would have put it at $39, but the Bistro sold it for $20, marked down from their $35.

This is a nice place.  The Burns Court Bistro and Wine Bar itself was known as the Burns Court Cafe until last November, when the new brother and sister owners took over.  They are putting in the long hours of restauranteurs, beginning with breakfast and continuing through the evening’s entertainment, and they are doing an excellent job with the food, music, and atmosphere.  Burns Court is a historic-ish low-rise neighborhood in the shadow of downtown.   It’s a nice neighborhood, and the Bistro and Wine Bar is just the thing to make it even better.   

Go there.  It’s at 4015 Pineapple, and it’s open from 8-10 Sunday through Thursday, and 8-11 Friday and Saturday.

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