Jack Dusty Serves Grog and Grub Sure to Shiver Thee Timbers
Seafarers and landlubbers visit- ing Sarasota should check out the newest dining hot spot that has locals buzzing: Jack Dusty at the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota. Named after the 18th century short-hand term for the naval store clerk whose responsibility included doling out the daily lot of rum to sailors and maintaining the ship’s inventory of food supplies, Jack Dusty offers guests dining and drinking “interactive experiences” with the same whimsy explorers would share after coming home from a long voyage.
From the time “Jack Dusty” (your server) arrives at your table, clad in an industrial apron, your dining adventure begins. This ingenious concept restaurant was a team effort, but the roots were the creative brainchild of Executive Chef Dwayne Edwards and Food & Beverage Director James Cole while they were on a flight to Puerto Rico.
“We wanted to create a fun place that had a story,” said Cole. “Jack Dusty was perfect. Back in the days of the Royal Navy, the Jack Dusty (the Jack of Dust) had to cook cleverly in a small galley and recycle what he had. So we decided our beverage glasses should be made of recycled wine bottles, the dishes to look like hand-thrown pottery, the utensils shaped like fish, and the dessert menus should come rolled up in a bottle.” [All of the serving items, incidentally, are available for purchase.]
Even the cocktails have related themes – like the “Descending Nelson.” Served in a sharable barrel, the red sangria is symbolic of the story of Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson who led the charge against Spanish and French fleets in 1805. Nelson died from a combat wound, and legend says sailors tried to preserve his body in a cask of rum for the voyage back to England. However, the mariners pierced a hole in the barrel’s base and drank most of the rum. Hence the red cocktail name.
The locally fresh seafood-centric menu includes favorites like Jack’s Oysters (collard greens, Andouille and hollandaise), crab and fried green tomatoes, gator bites – and clever desserts like the toffee pudding served up in a lidded crock. But perhaps the most buzzed-about dish is the Jack Dusty signature Navy Brown Bread, baked and presented while still steaming – in a tin can. Served with rum-infused butter, it will melt your heart.
Jack Dusty Navy Brown Bread Baked in a Can Recipe:
1 cup Stone-ground polenta
2 cups Rye flour
½ cup Whole wheat flour
2 cups All-purpose flour
2 tsp. Kosher salt
2 tsp. Baking powder
2 tsp. Baking soda
1 cup Honey
½ cup Unsulfured molasses
2 ½ cups Buttermilk
5 Eggs, lightly beaten Butter, for greasing and serving
Preheat oven to 350. Bake 30 to 35 minutes.
Cool for 10 minutes in the cans.