Baker & Wife: Quite simply, culinary matrimony.
Chef/Owner Isaac Correa told me he likes to keep things simple and let the ingredients speak for themselves, which is always easy to say, but he really means it. Every dish I tried had maybe 5 or 6 components. No frills, no foams, no unnecessary garnishes. Everything on the plate had a purpose.
Ahhhhh, Spring in Sarasota. The Tabebuia Trees are exploding with yellow flowers. The gulf is warming up. The city’s mean age drops by 15 years. And I can finally make it from Bee Ridge to Fruitville in under 20 minutes while I listen to Vivaldi’s “La primavera” with my Cadillac’s windows down. No? How about Jack White in my drop top Camaro… Ok. Fine. You got me… Carly Rae Jepsen in my Hyundai Tucson. Spring also means new life, or in this case, a new restaurant called Baker & Wife, which just opened in the Southgate Village plaza on Siesta Drive. And just like Spring it’s bright, it’s fresh and it’s very welcome.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you about the actual restaurant space along with the fantastic food they offer. It’s a beautiful redone space. It seems straight forward but above you? Rows of salvaged window frames. The bar? Constructed of reclaimed wood. Pizza oven? Open and decorated with clean black tile. Together it all combines for a striking look that pairs perfectly with the exciting menu. It straight up feels like a cool place to be.
Chef/Owner Isaac Correa told me he likes to keep things simple and let the ingredients speak for themselves, which is always easy to say, but he really means it. Every dish I tried had maybe 5 or 6 components. No frills, no foams, no unnecessary garnishes. Everything on the plate had a purpose. Nothing better embodies Chef Isaacs’s philosophy than the Roasted Cauliflower and Tomato salad, which featured what might be the best tomato in Sarasota, and the Slow Roasted Yellow Beet salad. The beet salad sits atop homemade pesto sauce offering a fresh garlic bite that pairs beautifully with the cool, tender beets. Both salads are vibrantly colored, and the flavors are amazing.
Let’s pause for a second. Do me a favor. Do a quick Google search for Octopus Soppressata. See that? 13,600 results. Compare that to my name which finds over 83,000,000 and is a brutal reminder that I am not the unique snowflake my parents led me to believe I was. The point is, it’s not easy to find Octopus Soppressata. Oh, right, except at Baker & Wife where it joins a fresh fennel salad and grapefruit slices. A moderate sprinkling of sea salt and cracked pepper over the paper thin octopus delicately balances the acid of the grapefruit with the sweet crunch of the fennel. Take the opportunity to try this distinctive dish; you may not have a chance anywhere else.
I get a sneak peak (perk of the job) of a new menu item, a spinach salad with sliced (and perfectly cooked) medium rare filet, roasted red peppers, blue cheese crumble and crispy shallots. It is Everything. I somehow follow that up with The Meatball, a baseball sized meatball over spaghetti squash with a homemade marinara. The meat is well seasoned and firm. The marinara is tangy. The cheese is melty. My mouth is now drooly.
Baker & Wife is more than just great food though. It has an impressive wine list, craft beers on tap and a full service bar. And it is called BAKER & Wife so you know there’s desserts involved. They offer cakes and pastries, half of which are made in house and the rest provided by the Short Giraffe, a great local bakery (quick shout out to their cookie butter cupcakes… and the owner who makes them too, I guess). Don’t have the time to make it out for dinner? Go check out their daily brunch starting at 11:30. With the simple, delicious elegance of its menu and its sharp, contemporary setting, Baker & Wife will quickly become a Place To Be in Sarasota. Better get there now.
Baker & Wife
2157 Siesta Dr, Sarasota, FL