Local restaurateur Paul Mattison’s latest restaurant is nestled by the Manatee River in Bradenton, but you might not know it by looking at the menu.
Mattison, along with head chef Christian Bell (known at the restaurant by the nickname “Lucke,” pronounced lucky) managed to combine Italian, Spanish, Mediterranean, Japanese and Canadian influences on one menu. And I’m sure there are even more cultures tucked in the menu, but the few I just named are the ones I got to experience when Mattison invited me and a few others for a recent tasting.
Within a few weeks, Mattison closed the restaurant as YachtSea Grille and revamped it to make it his own. He built an outdoor bar to “take advantage of the Riverwalk” and installed wines on tap. Yes, wine on tap; it’s a thing. After opening a bottle, corking it and reopening it, wine spoils quickly. The idea behind wine on tap is that “every glass of wine is like opening a new bottle,” Mattison said.
The decor and ambience has the same warm feel of Mattison’s other restaurants, Mattison’s City Grille Downtown Sarasota and Mattison’s Forty-One, also in Sarasota. Portraits of classic gone-too-soon artists such as John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix dot the walls at the Bradenton Riverwalk location. And Mattison’s Bradenton Riverwalk sushi chef may very well have made sushi for a few of those famous artists. Neal Carter has more than 30 years of sushi experience and has served clients such as the Clinton family and The Rolling Stones.
The sushi menu at Mattison’s City Grille Downtown Riverwalk doesn’t have any “classic” sushi rolls like the California or the rainbow, but they’re available on request. Carter felt his menu should showcase his talent for making different and unique sushi flavors.
Mattison also reminded us that not all sushi has raw fish, though many people think that’s what sushi is. One of the rolls I tried had steak, sesame oil and avocado rolled up for a delicious bite.
I could sit here and describe all of the dishes we tried in great detail, but a picture is worth a thousand words, right? See the photo gallery above or go check out Mattison’s City Grille Bradenton Riverwalk yourself. Preview the menu online at mattisons.com or drop by for a riverside drink at 101 Riverfront Boulevard No. 120, across the street from the Marriott Courtyard hotel.