Sunday, January 20, 2013

Adventure To Middle Grounds

When the world's greatest food blogger, Sweet Polly, and her spousal unit, the Super Dawg - alright, Under Dog, if you prefer - recommend a visit to a food emporium, what do you do? You go, that's what you do. So, that is what the Belle of Ballast Point and I did this past Saturday.

We met up with Polly and our favorite Dawg at their palace at la playa. After girding our loins with a few glasses of wine, the four of us headed over to the bus stop for our trip to the Middle Grounds Grill. And, a delightful trip it was, with a friendly, cheerful crowd of local folks and tourists.

Upon entering Middle Grounds, Polly was presented with a vibrator that would notify us that our table was ready. We had a short wait even with reservations, but this afforded the opportunity to scope out the decor and the lively bar scene.

Once seated, our evening progressed at an efficient, but non-hurried pace. Menus were presented, specials were described, and our beverage orders were taken. J.T. was our very professional and accommodating server for the evening.

Our Middle Grounds' repast began with two bottles of Coppola's best -  a red Cinema and a white Chardonnay that were the featured specials that night. Besides being half price, these were two excellent wines.

The appetizer menu had a couple of interesting choices, but our table decided to save ourselves for the main event.

There was an item listed as a "side" that seemed like a perfect nibble, so we requested the sautéed edamame pods with a teriyaki dipping sauce.

These pods made for a really tasty appetizer. And, they are supposed to be good for you - healthy and delicious!

A couple of salads were ordered. Both were impressive, but the house Caesar with anchovies would have been my choice had I requested a salad. 

I was too busy popping pods and trying to save room for what was to come to waste any additional stomach space.

I hope my readers, both of you, can appreciate what I am having to go through to complete this review. Looking at the pictures and remembering the exquisite tastes have caused my slobber glands to go into hyper-drool. Fear not, I shall press onward.

Sweet Polly had the Asian Infused Scallops marinated in a hoisin glaze over basmati rice. I had one of those scallops and it was prepared to tender, juicy perfection. As a side, there was grilled asparagus with shaved asiago.

My bride, who is not an aficionado of seafood, was simply overcome with delight at her Mango Nut Crusted Grouper with a mango beurre blanc and coconut basmati rice. For her to rave over a fish dish, it had to be beyond just good.

Under Dog the Magnificent chose the Espresso Rack of Lamb prepared to a wonderful medium rare. I had one of those chops and it was like heaven to the buds of taste.

I was torn between the New Zealand Lamb Shank and the bone-in Cowboy Rib Eye. I love both, but Under Dog raved about the rib eye that he had a few weeks ago, so...

My rib eye was tender, juicy and oh so good. The steak was buried under a mound of Gun Powder Onion Rings. The rings were good, though the gunpowder reference was lost on me. That rib eye really required nothing more than to be consumed with gusto - gnawing on the bone, like a cave man, being de rigueur.

A convergence of gastronomes:

A couple of the connoisseurs of fine food pictured could not resist the delights on the dessert menu - a tasty Key Lime Tower...

and this raspberry sauced cheesecake:

This was a memorable evening with great food and even better friends.

Not to take away from the Middle Grounds Grill, but with Polly and Under Dog even MacDonald's would be a treat - sorta.

Food and wine for four with a 20% gratuity came to around $260.00.

Middle Grounds Grill on Urbanspoon


  1. Good times and great pics! There's really no better fish dish on the Pinellas beaches than that nut-crusted grouper with mango salsa. Yummo.

  2. Thanks Sweet Polly for your comment. It is always a pleasure.

    I apologize for the slow response - been busy converting from Verizon FIOS to Bright House. VZ doesn't make it easy.

  3. Taking the Mr. out for his 68th trip around the sun. I had to review my favorite food blogger for a recommendation. You say lamb, Fred will drool. Your pictures and comments sealed the deal on our destination. Thanks m'friend.

  4. It's always a pleasure to hear from you Tina. If your Mr. tends to drool at the mere mention of lamb, I would suggest a box of towelettes for Middle Grounds.

    Happy birthday to your Mr.