Pier 22 is a massive venue pleasantly situated right on the Manatee River in Bradenton. Boasting a ballroom, a sushi bar, a phone-book-size menu and a stunning waterfront dining area, it's a real crowd-pleaser and a sure bet for satisfying a plethora of palates. I didn't get to taste everything at the table, but I will expound on those plates I did have the opportunity to sample and post food porn of the others for your viewing pleasure.
There was pretty much everythingintheworld on the menu and most of it was quite good. I started with tempura fried shrimp with a dijon honey glaze that were sprinkled with walnuts. While I don't think Yummy House's Honey Walnut Shrimp have any real competition here, these were quite tasty nonetheless...fat and perfectly fried.
The Grouper and Warm Artichoke Gratin was a refreshing take on the ubiquitous crab and artichoke cheese dip. Really good stuff...and the crispy, herbaceous flat bread was the ideal carrier for it.
Oysters Rockefeller were fine but failed to "wow". They were small, spinach was scant, and the hollandaise sauce was thin and wan.
I ordered the fresh catch of the day which was rainbow trout. I do lubs me some trout and this was as sweet, tender and fresh-tasting as it comes. I also enjoyed the corn risotto, although the veggies on the side were standard issue. I almost hate to post the pic because I don't think anything I've ever eaten that was this good has looked more unappetizing in a photo. While the fish was fabu, the bechamel sauce really didn't do that much for it...toasted almonds and lemon butter would'be been more up my alley. Nevertheless, I have no complaints.
Justin's Lobster Thermidor looked amazing and drew absolutely no criticism:
Underdog couldn't stop raving about his perfectly seasoned and cooked veal chop. Pier 22 is a place that does a respectable job of creating a myriad of dishes.
Andrea, who is not exactly a seafood maven, cheerfully snorted her filet mignon...
...and dove into her creme brulee before I could get my camera out. I do <3 me a good eater!
Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding looked good on paper as well as on the plate, but failed to deliver. It wasn't bad, but needed more moistness, density and crusty edges.
Mostly hits, with a few also-rans. Pier 22 does a pretty good job of being all things to all people in spite of its "chainishness". It's hard to bitch at a $250 tab for four people with solid cuisine, wine and this view:
So awesome to finally get to meet Justin and Andrea...you two are the sweetest! Let's do it again soon.