Finally open! This past Saturday I heard that The Breezeway Restaurant & Bar opened three days earlier, so I hurried over to give it a try. Considering it was their third day of business, I was impressed and I'll surely be back in the near future--likely time and time again!
The Breezeway Restaurant and Bar opened in downtown Sanford in a wonderful space formerly home to the acclaimed Two Blondes and a Shrimp. Since that establishment closed about a year ago, several others have tried--briefly--and failed in this spot. This time, the new owners have put a lot of thought, effort, and money into the space. Newly remodelled with a new outside bar and a totally redone kitchen, this place has a lot of character and a lot of promise.
We arrived around 5 on a warm Saturday afternoon and were promptly greeted and seated by the hostess. We chose to sit outside. Though it was a very warm afternoon, there was a nice breeze in the breezeway. Perfect!
We spent a bit of time studying the menu and started off with drinks and appetizers. Our drinks were both very good. My friend Tommy had margarita type, and mine was raspberry flavored, served in a martini or gimlet glass. Both cold drinks hit the spot on a hot day.
It took a while for our appetizers to arrive, and our waitress was quite apologetic for the delay. When they finally arrived, we had not plates or silver, but our waitress immediate spotted that and hurriedly recitifed the oversight. Like I said, this was their third day of business.
The best, by far, of the two was the Fried Mozzarella Cheese Wedges, house-made mozzarella that was sliced, breaded, and fried. It was served with an in-house made marinara. This was very good. The mozzarella was nice and creamy and warm. The marinara was also served warm and was a nice compliment to the creamy cheese. This was many steps about the normal "mozarella sticks" served by so many places. I'd put this in the top few as far as fried mozzarella goes, for sure. I would order this again next time, no doubt about that!
We also ordered the Fried Mushrooms. Unfortunately, this turned out to be our least favorite dish. First of all, they lacked a bit of seasoning and did taste better when I put some salt on them. But to me it seemed that the kitchen messed up here and forgot to season them. Secondly, they were just kind of plain, mushrooms with a breaded coating that were deep fried. They lacked some oomph! or something like that, they were just kind of plained, and underseasoned. On the other hand, the "dipping sauce," a horseradish sour cream sauce, was very good. It gave the bland mushrooms a bit of flavor. I'd have eaten a bowl of that sauce all by itself, it was that good.
After the slowness of our appetizers, everything else really arrived in a very timely and quick fashion. The salad I had with my sandwich was fairly ordinary, but very fresh, shredded iceberg lettuce with some onion, tomato, and cheddar cheese. The house Italian was nice and light too.
For his main course, my friend Tommy ordered The BIG Fish, the signature sandwich. The Breezeway uses the tag line "home of the Big Fish" on their menu, and they were right. A nice sized piece of red snapper was nicely blackened and cooked and seasoned just right. It was served on a roll with lettuce, tomato, and onion. But the star of the dish was the fish, no doubt. One thing about the tartar sauce--it seemed to have a bit of curry in it, an unusual ingredient. Though I didn't mind it, Tommy was not a big fan and I think those who don't like curry may be put off by it. But overall, the fish was tender, moist and flavorful, and this was an excellent signature sandwish.
When my dish arrived, I thought they brought the wrong thing. I ordered the "Sanford Special," a sandwich--this appeared to be a huge cutlet of some sort. Well, this was indeed my sandwich. Take a look at that! It was ginormous! More like a schnitzel, a pork tenderloin had been pounded, breaded, and fried. It was delicious and quite tender and juicy. It was served with a horseradish sauce which was also excellent. This was a great sandwich, though it made the bun look small. Nonetheless, though it was tough, I managed to finish it off--with just a bit of help. I would say this is a definite value and certainly would fill up even someone with a huge appetite.
Overall, our experience here was very good, especially given that it was day three of their operation. I imagine that in time a few of the rougher edges--and they were minor--will be polished. If they keep it up, they show great promise and I'll be back time and time again. Good job to Steve and all the crew. Yumm!