Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Gastronomic Adventure In Seminole Heights

Editor's Update 7/18/2015: A devastating fire destroyed this charming bistro about a year and a half ago. Promises were made that Domani would be rebuilt. So far, that hasn't happened and that is a shame.

“Three things are needed for a good life: good friends, good food, and good song.” - Jason Zebehazy

For the Belle of Ballast Point and me, life was good last night as we joined our friends Sweet Polly and her mighty Underdog for a really grand meal at Domani Bistro Lounge at 6421 N. Florida Avenue in the revived Seminole Heights neighborhood in Tampa.

While our table never burst out into song, it is a joy to sing praises to Domani's. The food, ambiance, and service are worthy of praise. Speaking strictly for the Belle and myself, we probably would be welcomed back to Domani's since we did refrain from song; besides, there is more on the menu that I would like to try. As worldly gastronomes, it should be noted that we did make a healthy stab at sampling a myriad of Domani's offerings.

Art courtesy of the brewery

To begin our evening, we asked the very delightful Sierra to administer adult beverages to awaken our taste buds - three Blue Moons with blood orange, and a St. Frances Chardonnay.

Sierra also presented our table with a serving of foccacia with a herb infused olive oil for dipping.

For the table, we requested the Tater Tots Dauphine with Curry Ketchup - deep fried and delicious with a tangy tomato based condiment.
Along with the Tots we each selected our own special treats, offering a taste to our dining partners.

Sweet Polly chose  the Smoked Salmon with fried capers, crème fraiche on foccacia. That was a memorable smoked salmon appetizer.

Mr. Dog had the Sambuca Mussels with smoked salmon, tomatoes, and creamy sauce. I think we all pretty much agreed the mussels were good, and the salmon was good. Each could have stood on their own. Both together was a bit of an overkill.

For my appetizer, the Tuna Crudo with a darling little quail egg, sriracha, and gribiche (a classic mayonnaise-based sauce made with chopped hard-boiled eggs, cornichons, and herbs) just seemed to call my name. That tuna transcended simply good - it was divine, and isn't that just the cutest little fried egg you have ever seen?

I am not ignoring my lovely bride. She did not order an appetizer, preferring instead to scarf a taste or two from the rest of us.

Enough with the appetizers already, let's loosen our belts a notch and proceed to the main events.

Speaking of the Belle, she chose the superb Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with spinach, spaetzle, and apple Dijon gastrique (caramelized sugar, deglazed with vinegar). That tenderloin was tender, juicy, and was blessed with hints of cured ham. Magnifique!

Sweet Polly requested the Risotto with crab, asparagus, mascarpone, and lemon zest. Right up front - I have never been a fan of risotto, a gummy rice wad. In fairness, I gave it a try, and was I ever surprised. The rice was creamy with grains that were separate and distinct - the way risotto is meant to be.

For his entrée, Underdog selected the Red Wine Braised Short Ribs on a bed of  mashed taters with gremolata, and crispy beets. The short ribs were melt in the mouth tender, and the beets were a very pleasant surprise.

I was torn between a couple of entrées, but with Sierra's recommendation, I finally chose the Honey Lavender Thai Chili Duck “Confit” with herbed cous cous, haricots verts, and crispy skin. The crispy skin was what really sold me on the aquatic fowl, well that and the Thai chili.

This was a tasty and filling dish, but we all had to wonder, "What happened to the crispy skin?" There was none, and that was my only negative to the Domani experience.

A couple of desserts were ordered. I had a taste of both and they were both good, but I was getting glassy eyed from food overload so, and so, and so...

Completely edible chocolate parfait

Lemon curd with a crispy fig crust

All of the food and adult beverages plus a gratuity for Sierra came to a bit over $100 per couple. With good food and good friends, our Domani adventure was spectacular.

Domani Bistro Lounge on Urbanspoon

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