Cafe BarBosso is authentic Italian food at its finest and a Sarasota hidden gem. My good friends kept telling me about this place and how great the food was. At the time I had only been there for their take out pizza. "The place in the strip mall by Office Max?" I replied. "Yep! That's the one. Their food is stunning," they said. My friends invited our family to a Chef's tasting. We were blown away. The food, the artsy atmosphere, the way we were taken care of by our waiter, Nick and Owner/Chef Joe DiMaggio, Jr. truly made for an exceptional experience.
Owner/Chef Joe DiMaggio, Jr. hails from NYC. We were told he is the nephew of THE Joe DiMaggio - the baseball star. Chef Joe got his culinary start in the kitchen of his friend, Frank "Frankie Bumps" BarBosso who owned NY restaurant, Little Charlies. In honor of his friend, Frankie, Chef Joe created Cafe BarBosso.
Our first course of the Chef's tasting was Joe's Grandma's margarita pizza with San Marzano tomatoes, garlic and oregano. The simple ingredients and homemade crust was pure perfection. The "effin shrimp" was our second course. The jumbo white shrimp was sautéed with cherry peppers, lemon and white beurre blanc. Effin fantastistic! For our third course Chef Joe offered a forty-eight hour marinated rib-eye lettuce wrap. The rib-eye was tender and tasty and with the asian flavors it was a nice surprise among the Italian dishes. For the fourth course was a giant scallop over mushroom risotto. The scallop was buttery and the risotto was creamy and all that a proper risotto should be. Italian Grandmas everywhere would approve.
An Italian buffalo milk cheese called Burrata (pictured below) was our fifth course. The cheese is made from mozzarella and cream and served with beets and heirloom tomatoes with a white balsamic and basil vinaigrette. The Burrata was light, soft and creamy inside with the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity from the vinaigrette. For our sixth course we tasted the chopped lobster with shrimp and spinach. The lobster dish was served over angel hair pasta with roasted garlic and a Chardonnay sauce. There was lobster and shrimp in every bite. So good! I thought the lobster dish was our last course before dessert but Chef Joe had more for us to try. Next came a beautiful seven-grain crusted salmon. The salmon was served with a lemon tarragon beurre blanc and the taste and presentation was lovely.
And for dessert we tasted a toasted almond tiramisu (a recipe dear to Chef Joe's heart), a cannoli with chocolate chips, and a flourless chocolate cake. A decadent trio of Italian tradition. We were stuffed and satisfied beyond belief. The price of this amazing 8 course meal was only $40. A steal.
The beauty of local artists working in their space surrounded by their artwork and the chefs creating their masterpieces in the kitchen makes Cafe BarBosso a rich and inspiring experience both for the palate and creative soul.
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5501 Palmer Crossing Circle
Tues. - Thurs. 4 - 9 pm
Fri. - Sat. 4 -10 pm
Sunday 4 - 9 pm
Copyright 2018 Kyra Barger. All Rights Reserved.
Photos by Kyra Barger of Faso Photography