Marysol, our gregarious server, brought us menus and ice water while we took a peek at the mixology menu. After a few moments of deliberation the Belle of Gulf Boulevard opted for the Smoking Gun: duck fat-infused Bulleit Rye ‘Frontier’ whiskey, TeBella Lapsang Souchong-infused simple syrup, Crude ‘Sycophant’ orange + fig bitters, Jack Rudy aromatic bitters. This was a tasty concoction that washed away the cares of the day ... not that we had any cares that day.
This beverage was so yummy I had to have two. The goblet was coated with a Hawaiian black sea salt that perfectly accentuated this delightful cocktail. I tried not being too obvious while licking the glass, but that salt was so good. Look closely and you can see the Smoking Gun in the background.
For our comestibles the Belle and I decided to stay with small plates so that we might enjoy a myriad of flavors. When we placed our orders Marysol said that she would bring them to the table one after the other as opposed to all at once with only a small wait between dishes. A nice touch!
Strap yourselves in for the show is about to begin..
WOOD-ROASTED BEETS + SARAH’S FLORIDA CHEVRE - curry pistachio butter, lime jam, micro caliente. Muy delicioso!
WOOD-ROASTED OYSTERS - miso butter, sherry mignonette. One of the better roasted oyster dishes this side of Felix's place in NOLA.
BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER - carrot celery date salad, Roquefort dressing. I am not a cauliflower kind of guy, but the Belle seemed bigly pleased.
This is a dish that gets my taste receptors quivering in anticipation: CHAR-GRILLED OCTOPUS - purple potato escalivada, sour orange aguachile, squid ink olive oil, micro Latin latitude. I swoon at the memory!
I really wanted to be blown away with this plate of SMOKED BONE MARROW - avocado, radishes, mole salsa, micro cilantro, grilled bread but the marrow was cooked beyond the point of being spreadable. The marrow came out in crumbles.
Veggie girl sitting across from me just had to have FRIED GREEN TOMATO SALAD - garden arugula, shaved fennel, cherry tomato confit, preserved lemon goat cheese, black olive emulsion and she seemed very pleased with herself.
By this time I was quite porky and except for one last adult beverage I felt like I was D-U-N done.
Did I mention that I was done? Well, Marysol was having none of that, so my bride and I shared this beautiful and decadent creation: DARK CHOCOLATE CRUNCH - chocolate mousse, hazelnut feuilletine, raspberry pomegranate paint, smoked chocolate ice cream. This crunch transcended merely good. It achieved immortality in the taste buds of our minds.
Dinner with cocktails, wine, and food came in at $195.81. Maybe a bit pricey for everyday dining, but we don't get to Tampa much anymore, so this was a real homecoming celebration for us.
Buen provecho, y'all.
Buen provecho, y'all.