The Foy couple opened their second Florida restaurant in February 2023 after delays brought about by covid restrictions, supply chain issues, and staff shortages. Their new restaurant, Chateau Sarasota, is located at 2001 Siesta Drive in Sarasota on the same property as Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse. The Anna Maria Island restaurant is located at 5325 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.
Both locations are modeled after the three seasonal restaurants Buddy Jr., Jennifer, and their extended family run in Upstate New York. This trilogy of upscale eateries on Lake George inspired the Food Network’s 2020 series “Summer Rush”. Their French influence comes from Buddy’s French and Irish ancestry. Jennifer, on the other hand, is Italian and it is that culture that brings much of the warmth and hospitality that is palpable at their restaurants.
It is among traditional French dishes like Escargots Vol Au Vent, Duck à l’Orange or Rabbitt Fricassée that you will find continental dishes such as Carpaccio of Beef and Truffled Wild Mushroom Ravioli. The menu offers many options and includes a selection of Shareables, Raw Bar, Starters, Broths & Greens, Main Dishes and Desserts.
Buddy, Jr. explains that his take on French cuisine is one that breaks through the “stiff” attitude or perception of old-fashioned restaurants. His restaurants are lively, welcoming and encourage the diner to indulge in the pleasures of a good glass of wine or cocktail and masterfully prepared dishes.
The passion instilled in all they do was evident on opening night at the Chateau Sarasota. Every step into the restaurant was well orchestrated. Our visit began with a friendly greeting at the host station, followed by a drink at the elegant bar, and finally our table. Buddy, Jr. and Jennifer were hosting the evening, making sure everything evolved flawlessly.
Their staff was no different and all of them, including Mark, the manager, the bartenders, and our server Kim, offered impeccable service. At my inquiry, Kim revealed that some of them came from the Lake George restaurant to interact and train the new employees in their signature “Chateau” experience.
We had a quick stop at the bar and grabbed one of my favorite martinis, The French Kiss, quite appropriate for that evening. It’s composed of vodka, a splash of pineapple juice, Chambord (or raspberry liqueur), and a touch of champagne at the end for the “kiss”. My guest had what has been named since then “one of the best” Smoked Old Fashioned.
Kim greeted us at our table where we started the evening with Carpaccio of Beef and the Escargots Vol Au Vent. The escargots were prepared with caramelized shallots, garlic, and white wine in a delicate puff pastry. It’s one of those things that gives panache to the dining experience.
Entrées included the Chef’s Cut, which consisted of a carefully selected Colorado and Iowa beef NY Strip Steak with a south African spice rub and truffled mashed potatoes; and the Filet of Venison with a cocoa espresso rub, pommes anna (potatoes), tri-colored carrots, and a cherry demi-glace.
Then, it was time to rest a bit and cleanse the palate with a French 75 before considering our options for dessert. The French 75 is a refreshing gin cocktail that can easily stand in for a lemon intermezzo. It includes freshly squeezed lemons, a bit of simple syrup, and a touch of champagne, garnished with a lemon twist.
Desserts are always my favorite course and this one came with a character and a story behind it. I’m talking about (Grandma’s) Ricotta Cheesecake, a decadent and homemade slice with raspberry sauce. Ricotta cheesecake is a bit more rustic or crumbly than the American cream cheesecake simply by the nature of the ingredients. There’s no mass-produced ricotta bar equivalent to our cream cheese. Most importantly, the lady whose recipe this cheesecake follows was sitting just a few tables from us. Equally as delicious was the Chocolate Torte.
The sounds of a live jazz band behind us and the sparkling shine of chandeliers and candles make this space very peaceful. The people make it very warm and the food puts it right over the top. Whether Anna Maria, Sarasota, or maybe even a trip to Lake George one day, I know I’ll be there again.
The Chateau Sarasota is located at 2001 Siesta Dr. Sarasota, FL. They are open 6 Days a week (closed Mondays).
The Chateau Anna Maria is located at 5325 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, FL is also open 6 Days a week (closed Mondays).