Everybody comes to Florida in the winter…
But I like to take the road less traveled, so I came in August. For sushi.
Anna Maria Island was settled in the late 19th century, the same year that nearby St. Petersburg was incorporated. In that very same year, in another St. Petersburg, far, far away, Tchaikovsky premiered The Nutcracker. A hundred years later, I saw the San Francisco Ballet’s all-male version of The Nutcracker. Not far after the turn of the 21st century, here I am, frolicking in Anna Maria’s coastal waters. Three centuries of the circle of life.
I cannot fully describe the heat and humidity of a Florida summer. At night, it feels like a dark steam room, and in the daytime, it feels like a steam room under a heat lamp. The gulf water is astonishingly warm – 90f˚F. (That first “f” stands for … well, you know what it stands for.) With oppressive surface heat drenching me in sweat, and an ocean nearly at body temperature, there seems to be little appreciative difference between being on land or in water. I’m pretty sure I went for a swim today, but I can’t be sure whether it was before, during, or after my time at the beach.
And what has all of this put me in the mood for? Well, air conditioning, for one. But other than that, drinking. Yes, I will drink away the heat and stuff myself full of sushi at The Fish in nearby Bradenton. Here’s my review.
436 12th St W, Bradenton, FL 34205
Bradenton’s super-cute Old Main Street complements Anna Maria’s “old Florida” charm. Of all the eating (or, let’s face it, mainly drinking) establishments along this little strip, The Fish stood out to me precisely because sushi isn’t charming. It seemed a little misplaced, and I feel a little misplaced: a good fit.
I was tempted to drink my way through several of the interesting signature cocktails on the menu, but The Nautilus was so good, I stuck with it.
The Nautilus – crisp pisco, orange liqueur, lemon, appetizing Augusta Bitters, pinch of salt, garnished with a lemon wedge and two brandied cherries. A complex and refreshing character, worthy of the name. The Nautilus has a subtle sweetness/sourness over a moderately dry backdrop. It’s flavor profile is a lot like grapefruit juice: it confuses you with sweet and sour intertwined, and leaves you with a most pleasant, tonic-like finish. It’s far more nuanced, though, and is lighter and more exotic than grapefruit. $8
Mexican Roll – fried shrimp, cream cheese, avocado, eel sauce, spicy mayo. I don’t have words for how delicious this was. The warmth of the shrimp against the luxuriousness of the cheese and mayo just made me want to, I don’t know, cuddle with it. $8.65
Biscayne – crab salad, avocado, cucumber, topped with spicy mayo, sriracha sauce, and shrimp. Yum, and perhaps one of the best uses of sriracha I’ve experienced. $10.95
It’s my duty, to God and country…
As I was finishing up my meal, the chef came to chat, and poured me a cup of dry Irish stout. He reminded me that drinking is a constitutional right (the 21st amendment) – although he seemed to take it as more of a mandate – and made reference to the Wesleyan nature that was at the forefront of Arthur Guinness’ character, which was infused into the Guinness business. He went so far as to liken Guinness to holy water, and asserted that we have a sacred duty to partake of it. Then he proclaimed, nearly shouting, as he raised his glass, “Refusing to drink Guinness would be both unconstitutional and ungodly! To God and country…” Hear, hear!
Bradenton suffers from being “not Sarasota,” but don’t let that discourage you – especially if you like nothing better than tooling around your gated retirement community in a golf cart. Credit for images on this page: Make It Like a Man! unless otherwise credited. Clicking on images will enlarge them, probably. This content was not solicited, nor written in exchange for anything. The Fish did not invite me to write this post, nor did they comp my food. The sushi chef did give me a small glass of stout, but I think he did that just because he saw how expertly I handle chopsticks.
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