Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Rose In Grand Central

Ever since dinner yesterday evening I have been oddly preoccupied with thoughts of cows. To help me achieve sleep last night I found myself counting cows instead of sheep. "How unusual!" you might exclaim. I'd have to agree, and then it hit me. This bizarre affliction occurred once before after lunch one day in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. On the menu was a perfectly grilled plate of huevos del toro, or eggs of the bull.

On the way to the aeropuerto after the noon time repast, we passed a herd of cattle. I spied just the cutest black and white heifer I had ever laid eyes on and ... whoops, my train just jumped the tracks. This is supposed to be a review of the simply fabulous Engine Rose restaurant that could double as a sports bar in the Grand Central District of St. Petersburg. I'll get back to the bulls balls.

The Belle of Gulf Boulevard and I skipped through the puddles to get to the Rose a little after their 5 o'clock opening this past Friday and just after the latest spring shower.

If, like us, you are wondering about the Airstream ...  well, that's the kitchen. To the right, the Rose has indoor and outdoor seating. Since there were tarps and umbrellas over the outdoor bar and seating areas, we chose to sit outside and enjoy the warm weather and springtime precipitation. Our charming server Kat invited us to sit where we pleased and presented us with menus and took our drink orders.

My beautiful bride chose a Little Paris, a light, fruity and refreshing pale ale. I requested the Tomoka Stout with chocolaty overtones that went well with our appetizer of Crispy Fried Dill Pickle Spears served with little tubs of jalapeno ranch dressing and a dark ale mustard. The pickles were dandy and enhanced by the mustard. The ranch was a little light for my taste, though the Belle seemed to prefer that dip.

For her main course the Belle was intrigued by the Patty Melt primarily because it wasn't just like every other melt. This one was a classic melt but with prime Angus beef, fried bologna, caramelized onions, Swiss and cheddar cheeses on seeded rye. All sandwiches come with a choice of sides; in this instance, Tater Tots.

Even though my bride doesn't like any moo left in her beef, this melt was juicy and full of flavor. The bologna added a heightened level of taste. Said she, "This was one of the best patty melts ever!"

I don't recall ever seeing huevos del toro on any menu in the Tampa Bay area, and that was one of the main reasons for me to visit the Engine Rose. My taste buds quiver with excitement whenever I see a menu that doesn't look like every other menu. Ubiquity is something for which the Bay area is infamous, so the Rose's Huevos de Toro just screamed my name.

That mile high pile of bovine and porcine perfection stabbed with a dagger to hold it together was simply awesome to behold; a bit of a challenge to eat, but I mashed it down to a manageable size.

The Angus beef patty was a perfect medium rare, the pork belly had a delightful salty crispness, and the eggs of the bull added a whole new dimension. This burger was further enhanced with onion rings, Muenster cheese and an A-1 remoulade sauce. Though the balls were a little more chewy than what I remember from Honduras, that was still an amazing burger. My side of skillet corn was very good, but with the size of that burger it was a bit of an overkill for me.

Four brews, an appetizer and two sandwiches came to a pleasant $66.23. We tacked on an additional 20% for Kat. Even though you may not be an adventurous diner, you should still give the Engine Rose a try. You will probably keep returning.

Engine Rose on Urbanspoon

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