Friday, January 31, 2014

Operatic cuisine at Maritana Grille

A unique collaboration between performing arts and local cuisine can be enjoyed through Feb. 4.

Posted by on Fri, Jan 31, 2014 at 1:20 PM

click to enlarge WELL-COMPOSED: St. Petersburg Opera Maestro Mark Sforzini at Maritana Grille. - DANIEL VEINTIMILLA
  • Daniel Veintimilla
  • WELL-COMPOSED: St. Petersburg Opera Maestro Mark Sforzini at Maritana Grille.

The critically acclaimed Maritana Grille is embarking on an ingenious and tasty collaboration between fine dining and the arts.

CL Best of the Bay-winning Chef Kenny Hunsberger has designed a prix fixe menu inspired by St. Petersburg Opera's current production, Susannah, and will be offering future menus for upcoming SPO performances Norma and West Side Story.

The connection makes perfect sense. In 1924, hotelier and opera lover Thomas Rowe named the Don CeSar after a character in the opera Maritana. Both the restaurant and hotel's name were both inspired by an opera and its central characters — Maritana, a comedic opera in three acts by William Vincent Wallace Edward Fitzball (1792—1873), based on the 1844 play Don César de Bazan, a character who first appeared in Victor Hugo's Ruy Blas.

click to enlarge IMPRESSIVE AUDITION: This caramelized gulf snapper with arugula  over quinoa is a contender for a future opera menu. - DANIEL VEINTIMILLA
  • Daniel Veintimilla
  • IMPRESSIVE AUDITION: This caramelized gulf snapper with arugula over quinoa is a contender for a future opera menu.

"I thought the food and wine was very good," said St. Petersburg Opera Maestro Mark Sforizini. "The menu is an impressive description of the plot."

Here's Maritana's menu for Susannah, from starter to dessert: “Shameless”: charred green tomatoes, spring onion, arugula, garden vinaigrette; "Saints and Sinners": blackened prawns, stone-ground grits, Andouille sausage and roasted pepper; "Revival meeting”: pork belly, black-eyed peas, baby collard greens, smoked ham hocks; “Sinful”: carmel bourbon glace, pecan ice cream and bread pudding.

The prix fixe meal costs $65 per person plus tax and service charge. Offered nightly through Feb. 4. Call 727-360-1882 for more details.


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