I don't know about you; but after a long day on the beach, my greatest desire is a fresh and fulfilling meal with a glass of Chardonnay. Are you also raising your hand to this seaside supper request? Well, if you find yourself in Santa Rosa Beach, you're in luck -- Basmati's cuisine will wow your taste buds with flavors of both the Gulf and traditional Asia.
I was instantly impressed with the menu's ability to take traditional dishes up quite a few notches. No, Basmati's doesn't serve egg drop soup; they serve a lump crab egg drop soup with season vegetables and spice. . .Yum! I had to refrain from picking up the bowl and sipping the remaining spoonfuls. Next, I was thrilled that the gyoza (pictured above) were served steamed rather than pan-fried. The cucumber salad on the side was a cool, refreshing after-bite to the rich pork and vegetable filling.
I am not exaggerating that this shrimp fried rice was, yes, the best I've had in years. The unique flavors reminded me of an unforgettable meal at Redfarm in New York City -- the black currants and Chinese sausage added a touch of sweetness, and shrimps were plump and wok-fried beautifully. I really wish rice didn't expand in your stomach (or maybe that's just a myth). . . but I would have finished the entire platter otherwise!
Speaking of rice, these four sushi rolls mastered simplicity, yet the ingredient combinations are completely unique to the restaurant. I've never seen these anywhere else (which is sadly disappointing when I'm nowhere near highway 30A). I was "Feeling Frisky" with the namesake roll, filled with tuna, fresh basil, sesame seeds, sprouts and rose water. The "Dorothy, We're Not in Watercolor Anymore" roll (ha!) had an addicting ginger vinaigrette. Next time, I'm trying the truffled tuna, since tuna and truffle are two of my very favorite things.
For dessert, we somehow had room for homemade coconut cake. . .it's that worth it! And, while I didn't try it, I learned that the tofu chocolate cake is a silky smooth Asian version of cheesecake. Incredibly inventive. I cannot wait to get back to Basmati's for another post-beach feast.