Sunday, June 12, 2016

B & M In Downtown St. Pete

We were invited by our friends Sweet Polly and Underdog to join them for dinner at Brick & Mortar in downtown St. Petersburg. How could we turn down the promise of great company and gastronomic delights? Well, we couldn't, so we four wandered in to B & M for an early dinner.

The place opens at 4:30 and we were there right on time. This was a good thing because not long after, B & M started filling up quickly. Magdalene, the charming lady who became our server, guided us to our four top and presented menus. Ice cold water was served and our ultimate drink orders were taken. Our table chose the delightful Campo Viejo Cava Brut Rose, a sparkling wine from Rioja, Spain.

The food menu at B & M is split between Small Plates and Mains with the larger section devoted to Small Plates. We found interesting choices in both sections, but the table leaned towards the Small Plates. Each of us ordered two small plates so let's dive in to the comestibles.

I could not pass up the opportunity to try the innovative and spectacularly pleasing House Beet Cured Salmon with juniper, dill, and goat cheese mousse. The salmon with a hint of beets was served with tangy and crispy pickled vegetables. What looked like capers turned out to be a first for me - juniper berries with a bit of char. Now that was some good eatin'!

The good eatin' continued for me with my second small plate, the Slow Braised Octopus Two Ways. I have always been pleased with octopus one way, but two just exploded my buds of taste.

The octopus medallions were charred and sliced and presented with Castelvetrano Sicilian olives, wine macerated golden raisins, and toasted pine nuts. The char-grilled arm (squid have tentacles, octopus have arms) was nestled on a bed of frisee with pan juices enhancing both presentations. I have consumed octopus in restaurants around the world, but never any preparation as tender or flavorful as these.

As for the other six dishes, I had a bite of each and they were all good but none came close to the salmon and octopus. But that's just me. My bride, while not as enamored with octopus as am I, tried a medallion of octopus and actually liked it. She was way more impressed with her small plates; the Caramelized Onion and Cheese Tart, and the Veal Meatballs with Creamy Parmesan Polenta.

I had a taste of her tart and was particularly impressed with the light, buttery crust filled with goat, Parmesan, and blue cheeses. She also seemed pleased with her balls of veal, light in taste and texture with a pleasing tomato sauce.

Sweet Polly chose the Grilled Romaine Heart with pickled red onion, bleu cheese, lemon garlic dressing with shaved Parmesan. Her second small plate was the Chicken Liver Pate with seasonal jam.

I have tried roasting romaine at home, but I have never come close to this B & M version. Maybe I'll try again or just go back to B & M.

The taste of Chicken Liver Pate that I had was excellent, and the presentation of the pate in the little glass jar was a nice touch. Crostini, a smear of pate, and a dab of jam - très bon!

Leave us not forget the kind gentleman who chauffeured us to Brick & Mortar and back to our abodes on the beach. Underdog chose the Gambas Ajillo with Gulf Shrimp and the Chicken Liver Ravioli with shaved truffle (with an up charge).

I had a taste of both dishes - both good, but neither could compete with my salmon and octopus. Besides, I was getting a caloric over-load at that point and thinking about a nap, but there would be no nap for me as my dining partners were enticed by the B & M dessert offerings. We chose not one, but two delightful desserts.

Lemon sorbet, lemon curd, and lavender ice cream enhanced this tasty treat, though in my gastronomic haze I don't remember what it was called but it was a special for that evening.

The real dessert winner was the Glazed Doughnut Coconut Bread Pudding that my bride just now salivated over while reminiscing about that light, fluffy, doughnut-y, treat for the senses (c'mon, settle down Baby and wipe your chin).

With two bottles of cava and all of that heavenly food, our total for the evening came to a very reasonable $219.35 for us four gourmands. 

Brick and Mortar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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