Nestled in an old 1923 cottage, under an imposing banyan tree in the eclectic Burns Court corner of downtown Sarasota, is Owen’s Fish Camp, named for Sarasota real estate magnate and avid fisherman, Owen Burns. The restaurant looks like an early 1900's fish camp, and the vibe is decidedly 'trendy bayou,' serving a wide variety of southern-style culinary offerings such as traditional fried baskets of oysters and shrimp, soft shell crab, Po' Boys and low country boil with crab legs, shrimp, mussels, clams, andouille sausage, potatoes and corn. Owen's also offers a selection of entrées including steamed mussels, cornmeal crusted catfish and steak frites.
Owen's Fish Camp Bar
Busy and bustling, the bar was where to be, and be seen
No fish camp is complete without the requisite 'catch' of the day
Specials are highlighted on various chalkboards throughout the restaurant
Owen's Fish Camp Special Brew
Owen's Sparkling Cava - yum!
Owen's Fish Camp wine served in a 'stubby'
Owen's Fish Camp placemat menu
Old-fashioned condiments dressed the table, and the menu was appropriately, a paper placemat, with offerings inspired by classic southern seafood, from Murph's Bloody Mary Oyster Shooters and a mason jar of Smoked Fish Spread with saltines to whet our appetite. The shooters, marinated in Sake, were memorable and well worth the $5 price tag for two small shot glasses with horseradish spiked tomato juice and a plump oyster nestled in the bottom. One heavenly slurp and you're smitten. The Fish Spread is just the same — yum!
Smoked Fish Spread appetizer 'Jar' with Saltine crackers
Murph's Famous Bloody Mary Oyster Shooters - $5 for 2 - and well worth it!
The starters were also delicious, and almost the best part of the meal. The cornmeal-crusted FGTs — Fried Green Tomatoes — were served over arugula and romaine with warm goat cheese and crisped country ham, cucumber, red onion, and an herb-buttermilk dressing — light, refreshing and impossible to resist, this was absolutly delicious. The creamy New England Clam Chowder with applewood bacon was also noteworthy, with a luscious texture chock full of clams, as well as the dozen Texas Oysters served with lemon wedges, cocktail sauce and tangy mignonette sauce.
Fried Green Tomato Salad with goat cheese and country ham
One dozen Texas oysters with lemon wedges, cocktail and mignonette sauce for $14
Thick and creamy New England Clam Chowder with Applewood Bacon
Our entrées included Naked Blackened Mahi Mahi with Owen's succotash and shoestring fries, Cornmeal Crusted Catfish with spicy local collard greens, bacon and 'My Way or the Highway' cheesy grits, Pasta Jambalaya with crawfish, shrimp, chicken and andouille sausage and the heartedly endorsed speciality of the house, by our enigmatic server Terri — the outstanding Seared Scallops with braised pork and owen's succotash — hands down the best dish on the menu, although each and every dish on the menu looked great.
Naked Fish - Blackened Mahi Mahi with green tomato salsa,
Owen's succotash and shoestring fries
Cornmeal Crusted Catfish with spicy local collard greens, bacon
and 'My Way or the Highway' cheesey grits
Seared Scallops with braised pork and Owen's succotash
Pasta Jambalaya with crawfish, shrimp, chicken and andouille sausage
Our effervescent and ebulliant server Terri, our culinary conduit to what were
the most tasty offerings on the Owen Fish Camp menu
Owned by the Caragiulio Brother’s, of Italian restaurant fame in Sarasota, Mark Caragiulio, chef and co-owner of Owen's Fish Camp and the newly opened 'Shore' in St Armands Circle, unfortunately declined my request to photograph him in his kitchen at Owen's Fish Camp. I can only deduce that they're doing such a stupendous trade, he'd no time to indulge a small request from a fellow foodie. Well, maybe next time...and there will be a next time!