Derekf’s Rustic, Coastal Cuisine is a new Bradenton, Florida restaurant that I urge everyone to try! It is located on State Road 64 (Manatee Avenue) about 6 miles from Anna Maria Island. I have been driving by for months now, so I decided it was time to try it out and boy was I rewarded.
The chef/owner Derek Barnes has shaped his menu around rustic, coastal cuisine highlighting fresh seafood while offering his dinners something that is fresh, fun and casual. Derek’s is perfect for the power lunch crowd, casual lunches, those special evenings, business dinners, private parties and also for families of all ages.
Here is just a little background on Chef Derek Barnes.
A semifinalist for the prestigious James Beard Best Chef South award, Derek worked with Emeril Lagasse in the kitchen of Emeril’s in New Orleans before opening his own restaurant on the Gulfcoast in Sarasota. Derek’s gift for creating distinctive, mouthwatering dishes has earned him Florida Trend’s Golden Spoon award, the “Most Innovative Chef” title in the Best of SRQ Magazine, and inclusion in the exclusive Zagat America’s “Top Restaurants” listing.
In case you were wondering Derek’s also offers a private room for business lunches/dinners, small sporting events, birthday parties, anniversaries or for that intimate gathering… say rehearsal dinner. I was able to peek in the room since there wasn’t a party going on, and it looks to be a good size and comfortable!
My fiance and I aren’t food snobs by any means, but we do like well-prepared delicious dishes when we go to any restaurant, and Derek’s is both!
We wanted to sample a little of everything, so we started with the fried green tomatoes appetizer. I am a Florida native and this was a staple in my house growing up, so the bar was set pretty high to see if this could stack up to my mother’s cooking. Don’t tell mama, but these were way better because they paired it with a Dijon mustard remoulade. My mama just gave us ketchup!
Next came the main course, and we both ordered the same thing which is pretty common when we go out. We ordered their Prime Burger, but we added a little of that Dijon mustard remoulade I mentioned earlier. I think Derek’s should bottle that remoulade, and sell it because I would love to have that in my house! This burger comes with a side of extra crispy shoestring fries which happen to be a personal favorite of mine. You probably guessed, but I also dipped those fries in that remoulade also.
I have to confess something… whenever I go out to dinner I am never able to finish an entire meal because I get full quickly. I love this place because the portions are just the right size for me, so I don’t feel I am being wasteful for eating too little or feel sick for eating too much. Plus we were then able to order dessert. We had ordered the S’mores Cup which was the perfect size for sharing. The melted dark chocolate hiding under the marshmallow was melted to perfection, and not too sweet.
Derek’s doesn’t have a full bar which is OK by me because with a nice meal beer or wine is the perfect compliment. I can only drink sweet white wine which doesn’t leave me with too many
choices, so I usually pick a Riesling or a Moscato. They have the most delicious Moscato I have ever had, but you are not able to buy it anywhere as the distributor only goes to restaurants! Looks like I will just have to go back soon if I want more. My fiancé had a locally brewed beer called Florida Cracker. I will admit he is a bit of a beer snob, so it must’ve been good because he went to the store to get some for the house.
The pricing is right in line with say Bonefish or Outback, but the food quality and presentation is definitely superior. Stop in and see for yourself, and maybe we will run in to each other!
Lunch: Monday – Friday 11:30 – 2:00
Dinner: Monday – Saturday 5:00 – 10:00