Experience Sarasota: Drunken Poet Thai Bistro & Sushi Bar
How many times have you heard a restaurant boast that they offer a ‘unique dining experience’ only to find out that their idea of unique means underwhelming and overpriced - in a very unique way, of course. I’m not sure if Drunken Poet has ever used that term in describing their own restaurant, but if I were owner, Oy Punyahotra, I would never stop gloating about it.
It goes a little something like this - A 10-year-old Thai girl moves to Washington D.C. with her family only to move on many years later to finish her studies in France where she marries a Frenchman and has a family of her own. She remains there for the next 30 years, becoming a pharmacist who also spends time supporting her family’s non-profit organization, Mudita Trust, dedicated to supporting neglected children in Thailand and also working to prevent child prostitution worldwide. A deep love for plants and gardening brings her to Selby Gardens on a trip to Sarasota in ‘05 where she discovers a For Rent storefront along Main Street that used to house a sandwich shop. She turns it into a Thai restaurant determined to serve truly authentic Thai cuisine ‘like we would eat at home.’ The restaurant is charming and ambient with traditional Thai dishes, like whole roasted sweet and sour snapper, plus some stellar sushi with unusual additions like goat cheese paired with sea urchin. Oh, and there’s wine galore to satisfy this former Frenchie’s distinguished palate, like, lots of wine. Loads of wine. And an amazing selection of sake, as well. And the whole time you dine you are surrounded by Buddhist accoutrement and beautiful tapestries. Now, if that doesn’t scream unique dining experience then it’s quite possibly time for you to pull out your dictionary because you may not have a proper grasp of what that term really means.
Drunken Poet has been in the same Main Street location since 2006. Famed for their uber popular Sexy Man Roll, this raw tuna, avocado, tempura eel roll is covered in, you guessed it, sexy sauce, which Chef Bang, the roll’s creator, tells me will remain a mystery. Spicy lovers, don’t forget to ask for the Hot Sexy Man for a little extra kick in your mouth. Chef Bang also invented DP’s legendary Lobster Roll, which uses the entire lobster tail. The whole thing! That’s just CRAY.
Other popular dishes include Curry or Pad Thai served in a whole coconut. As an avid coconut lover, I often feel that there aren’t enough dishes being served in coconuts. Don’t you agree? The presentation is exquisite and the meal inside is the real McCoy.
They’ve also added a few new plates like the Snapper, overflowing with fresh cuts of pineapple and fried to perfection. Plus, meat lovers can enjoy the Tomahawk steak - bone in, of course.
And fellow sushi fiends ...go on and get creative because DP is happy to change things up and make rolls that you invent. Aren’t they sweet? If you aren’t feeling imaginative and think DP’s got it all figured out, then pop in for their lunch special of 2 sushi rolls, a spring roll and Thai Rice soup for only $9.95. I know, right? 10 bucks gets you enough food that a top button unbuttoning would be in order.
The fun doesn’t have to end just because your lunch hour is over. DP caters! Birthdays, weddings, parties, you name it. They’ll gladly bring the restaurant to your home, office or any other location for any special event you need. Might we suggest throwing an impromptu Thursday Morning office party and have DP bring you boatloads of delicious dishes? This makes total sense to me and would probably make the office more productive.
Drunken Poet has established themselves as a tried and true Sarasota staple. Oy makes it a point to contribute to the community through a number of charitable events, donations and participation, as charity is her true inspiration for all things. As somebody who speaks to business owners frequently, it was quite touching to see that Oy has just as much passion for spreading love to her neighbors near and far as she does for making sure the Specials Board is in order. This restaurant focuses on being more fun and playful than some of its counterparts. They are big on friendly service, working hard to make each customer, new and old, feel like they are at home. Maybe not their own home, unless of course they happen to live in a beautiful Buddhist outpost with sofas in their dining room, a kitchen staff serving classic Asian cuisine and enough fancy wine to turn Main Street into the next Napa Valley. If you live in a home like that, then perhaps you’ll fit right in at Drunken Poet. If not, then go in, get the Sexy Man, kick your feet up and pretend that you are.
Speaking of fun, be on the lookout for Drunken Poet’s Watermelon Carving Classes. You need this in your life. There is no greater party trick than being able to carve a watermelon into a flower. Seriously. If I were a single gal and saw a dude make a watermelon flower, I would be all over that. There isn’t a scheduled date, as of yet, but Oy is working, diligently, to have it all put together soon.
Drunken Poet Thai Bistro & Sushi Bar 1572 Main Street, Sarasota, FL. (941) 955-8404
The Cottage’s lounge-themed late night ‘get happier’ hour has locals and tourists alike congregating at this cozy joint after 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays to enjoy great drink specials and select delectable bites from The Cottage kitchen.
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SarasotaDay.com discovers the unique experiences in Sarasota, Florida.