52 Weeks: Stairway to Belgium, Sarasota, FL
Week 13 of 52
1359 Main Street
Rank: #6 of 12
BEERS ON TAP (at time of visit) —>
FOOD OPTIONS: Amazing food. This menu covers a lot. You have Belgium dishes such as Mussels and frites and stew, plus down home country food like AMAZING ribs and mac and cheese to salads, grilled wings and sandwiches. It doesn’t stop there with waffles as their main dessert option. So many different types of food to pair with the long list of beers. We may not be in Belgium, but we are in heaven.
In order to access the restaurant, you walk up a flight of stairs and as you approach the top of the stairs, glowing in the background, is a large refrigerator full of bottles. To my left a row of about 10 taps.
The space itself is large and poorly decorated. I felt like I was in a cheap Italian restaurant as opposed to holding the cozy, humble qualities that I loved so dearly in Belgium beer bars. Now, we know we are not in Belgium, and that this place has only been open 7 weeks, but with several amazing restaurants in the immediate area, its time to decorate.
Beer time. A 750 ml of Saint Somewhere Lectio Divina was shared. A farmhouse ale brewed by a Florida brewery, it was darker in color than expected, but funky and full of flavor. We had tried a bottle of Saint Somewhere’s Pays Du Soleil a few months back when it first hit shelves in Seattle. We were incredibly impressed and decided to jump on a Lectio Divina in the brewery’s home state. We weren’t disappointed with the beer, but we weren’t flattened by its finish. A little crisp for a true farmhouse ale.
Dogfish Head 90 min was enjoyed by half of the table, as this well balanced IPA was straight from the tap. We started some beer rookies out with this beer, and they loved it. Dogfish Head’s ales reach the widest spectrum of the beer drinking public. Flavor seems to be key.
Weyerbacher’s Blithering Idiot, a barleywine and Smuttynose IPA cured our longing for Midwestern/Eastern beers. Blithering Idiot resembles more of a strong Belgian bruin ale, as opposed to an English Barleywine – which is why I reached for this beer on Belgium night. At 11.5% – it will take you places – but without an extreme sugary flavor.
During our visit, we were hosted by a very friendly and seemingly knowledgeable waitress named Mischa. Mischa did much to ensure that we enjoyed our time at the restaurant.
She directed us to some wonderful food, including the pound of char-grilled chicken wings that I split between the Beer Garlic and Inferno sauces. I loved these wings. Over time, I have come to believe that a grilled wing is vastly superior to the fryer. Their inferno sauce is the better of the two.
We also enjoyed some flemish stew, frites, mac and cheese and florida ribs. All of the food was very good. We were most impressed with the frites, which were traditionally double fried, heavily salted and accompanied with a spicy aoli. Get them.
In the end, our waitress was pleasant, the beer selection keeps you preoccupied, and the food was above average. Its a win.
Pointer: Sit by the window, it will distract you from the poor decor. Recommended. Go there.