Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Fine Dining On Park

I don't know if Bob Spoto would describe his Grill 131 at 13079 Park Boulevard in Seminole as a supper club, but upon entering this swanky joint near the Portobello Plaza that is the sense that my bride and I got last night. The ambiance, the decor, the menu, and the professional service certainly gave us that supper club feel.

Photo by The Belle of the Boulevard
 We entered around 7:30 without reservations, but we were still promptly guided to a warm, comfy booth. James, our delightful server for the evening, presented us with menus, a hot from the oven bread loaf with a small bucket of real butter, and to our great surprise, a complimentary scoop of chicken pate.

We ordered house wines by the glass though Grill 131 does have an impressive selection of wines. A couple of white Zins perfectly complimented our appetizer of Lobster-cargot. Presented in an escargot serving bowl, these superb morsels of lobster were swimming in a pool of garlic and butter.

All signature entrees include a soup or house salad. The Belle of Gulf Boulevard and I both chose salads, with crispy cold mixed greens and slices of Mandarin orange.

For her signature entree, my bride chose the 8 ounce prime rib, perfectly grilled to her requested temperature and bathed in a rich au jus with a topping of fried onions. The Belle swooned over her side of a loaded baked potato.

I was seriously torn between the cioppino, pork porterhouse, or the lamb shank. All sounded wonderful, but I finally chose the roasted Australian lamb shank, with creamy mashed potatoes, and delightfully al dente vegetables. That shank was fall-off-the-bone tender and enhanced with a rich braising sauce. As an added perk there was a little tub of mint jelly to further elevate the lamb to gastronomic heights. That was a seldom experienced, but divine touch.

We had no room for dessert, but my beautiful dining partner did chose a rich carrot cake to consume later that night in our stately pleasure dome on the beach.

Dinner with more than a few glasses of wine came to a pleasant $135.44 and included the 16% service charge. We did the math and added an additional 4% to round out the gratuity to 20%.

I know that some diners have groused about the mandatory 16% tip, but it should be noted that 16% is more than a little chintzy with today's economy.

Grill 131 has a dandy bar and live entertainment Tuesday through Saturday. We will be going back.

Photo from web site
Spotos 131 Grill on Urbanspoon

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