The Gasparilla Inn & Club has earned the 2012 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.
Executive Chef Rob Plesh and his team at The Pink Elephant, aka "The Pink," won the award for the first time thus joining its sister restaurant at the Gasparilla Inn & Club on that level.
The triumph, coupled with a similar honor already won by The Gasparilla Inn & Club, makes the Boca Grande resort the only one in Florida to feature two Wine Spectator award-winning restaurants.
Chef Rob Plesh has made his mark at the Pink Elephant in just his first year.
The Wine Spectator magazine honor recognized The Pink Elephant's wine list for its selection of producers, menu pairings and range of appeal.
The Pink Elephant's appeal to seafood aficionados is longstanding with seasonal summer favorites such as tempura grouper sliders and lobster hush puppies.
"We are fortunate to have access to some of the world's freshest seafood here on the Gulf Coast, and that's our inspiration at The Pink," said Plesh. "Our menu offers whimsical interpretations of seasonal favorites with local catch such as grouper, swordfish and tuna."
What: The Pink Elephant
Open: Lunch Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and dinner Thursday through Sunday through Oct. 10
Where: 491 Bayou Ave., Boca Grande
Contact: (941) 964-4540
The special menu items for this late summer season also includes Thai shrimp served with Asian pear salad and a cilantro-jalapeno dressing; grilled fresh swordfish filet with grilled romaine hearts, roasted vegetables, heirloom tomatoes, arugula-basil pesto and grilled flatbread; or crispy seafood hush puppies melding shrimp, clams and lobster served with a white truffle aioli.
Plesh, named executive chef and manager in June 2011, is a proteg of Executive Chef Peter Timmins of The Gasparilla Inn & Club.
Hired after a stint as executive chef of The Landings Club in Savannah, Plesh spent 16 years at the Greenbrier in West Virginia. He cooked his way to executive sous chef at the luxury resort and was mentored much of his tenure by Timmins.
Plesh graduated from the Institute of Culinary Arts in his native Pittsburgh and still prepares his grandmother's perogies, a culinary inspiration from his childhood.
The Gasparilla Inn & Club is closed for the summer and will re-open for its 99thseason Oct. 11.
Boca Grande visitors this summer can stay at The Innlet on the Waterfront with rates beginning at $110 per night plus taxes. To RSVP call (941) 964-4600.