Selva: Sustained, Sophisticated, Stylish, and Savory…Seriously
A number of years ago, I brought one of my “foodie friends” from Manhattan, N.Y., to Selva for dinner. We ordered a number of appetizers, entrees and wine. We had a delightful evening capped by my friend’s declaration, “This restaurant could be in New York!”
Located on the lower end of Main Street near the intersection of Palm Avenue with a subtle understated sign is Selva Sarasota. Formerly known as the Selva Grill, Selva provides an upscale, sophisticated dining experience with a distinctly Latin savoir-faire.
Even though the physical dining space at Selva is large; offering an open-spaced dining room, open-aired seating area, a cozy bar and close seating, the restaurant does maintain a sense of privacy. With a minimalist approach to lighting, décor and colors, the atmosphere oozes Latin sophistication; chic not trendy.
The menu is eclectic, blending the exotic flavors of Latin America, in particular Peru, Asia and the United States, into a wonderfully flavorful and colorful cuisine; Latin fusion at its best. For our meals we chose the following:
House Chopped Salad: Spring mix and romaine lettuce with tomato, onion, avocado, Cuzco corn, black beans and queso fresco with honey orange chipotle vinaigrette. $9
An ample portion, fresh and crisp, great combination of flavors; the vinaigrette pulled it all together deliciously.
Spanish Caesar: Romaine lettuce, manchego, red onions and plantains with a rocoto dressing. $9
An interesting mix of sharp and sweet contrasting flavors accompanied with crisp texture.
La Buena Causa: Jumbo lump crab, cilantro-infused potato salad, avocado and rocoto aioli. $13
A cool, refreshing combination of flavors, subtle crab offset by the citrusy cilantro and creamy avocado … delicious.
Jumbo Sea Scallops: Encrusted with macadamia nut pesto and finished with honey and orange infused sweet potato puree. $16
So good! Scallops were cooked perfectly, the combination of the crunch from the nuts and the sweetness from the sweet potato was wonderful.
Tuna Tiradito Nikkei: Fresh sushi-grade tuna marinated with ginger, soy sauce and cubes of fresh watermelon. $13
One of my favorites! A mix of mouthwatering flavors, briny, sweet and juicy … a great summertime dish.
Maya Shrimp Ceviche: Shrimp marinated in orange, lime juice and achioten and tossed with avocado, tomato, red onion and cusco corn. $13
The orange gave the shrimp a sweet flavor instead of tangy. Refreshing summer meal.
Spring Roll: Pulled chicken breast in creamy yellow pepper stew over avocado aoli. $5 (happy hour pricing)
A classic, crispy roll with a creamy inner filling … perfect with a mojito!
Pan Con Pato: Duck confit and baguette topped with crilolla onion. $5 (happy hour pricing)
Rich, filling and most definitely savory … duck was moist and tender.
Pork Tostada: Three corn tortillas, avocado relish, drizzled with yellow pepper sauce. $14
A colorful, artistic presentation, a tad salty for my taste.
Veal Chop Americano: Bone-in 12-ounce veal chop with wild mushroom, eggplant ragu, braised garlic puree and Argentinean chimichurri. $39
Truly outstanding; fork tender veal, moist, with a Latin twist on flavor … great for garlic-lovers!
Arroz con Pato: Grilled duck breast, cilantro and green pea beer risotto, with a roasted red pepper salsa. $29
A great mouth combination of flavors, rich, yet tender, slices of duck, punctuated with cilantro and offset with the creamy risotto … most definitely would order again.
Selva’s Famous Skirt Steak: Skirt steak over sweet plantains, beet relish with Selva’s chimichurri. $29
Cooked to perfection; the tangy, slightly piquant sauce was offset by the sweetness of the plantains.
Mirin-Roasted Sea Bass: Chilean sea bass fillet with corn custard flan, sautéed bok choy and black bean sauce. $35
Beautifully presented, thick piece of fresh fish, bok choy and bean sauce added flavor and texture. The corn custard flan was off-the-charts delicious.
Peaches and Cream: Cinnamon-and-sugar bread pudding with bourbon soaked peaches. $9
A real bread pudding fan here … this was a rich and filling dessert.
Pot of Mousse: Bittersweet and white chocolate mousses, dark chocolate “pot,” cappuccino tartufo chocolate. $9
Chocolate-lovers rejoice! Rich enough to share, but you won’t want to!
***It should be noted, all of the dishes were artistically plated with specific serving plates to enhance the presentation; a nice detail indeed.
Selva offers a full bar service, beer, wine and soft drinks to accompany your meal. The wait staffs were friendly, efficient, professional and took the time to describe specific menu items. All said, the quality of the service was commensurate with the quality of the food; very good.
Long a staple on the Sarasota dining scene, Selva has sustained itself through the years. Not an everyday dining experience, it can be a tad expensive, especially for Sarasota. However, if you are looking for a stylish, sophisticated dining experience fit for a foodie, then Selva should receive serious consideration.
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