Sunday, October 2, 2011
Mr. Smith goes to Tampa
I tried not to like it. It's a chain restaurant and it's in a mall. In a mall, it may as well be a Houllihans or an Applebees. With low spirits and lower expectations I approached the host desk and was greeted by not one but four. "Uno." I stated as I held up an index finger. I was greeted by four pleasant smiles and was lead from the large open foyer to the dining area near the bar. The place was charming, with dark wood and a warm glow from the antique brass and glass lights. But, I got an uncomfortable feeling as I looked around. The place was deserted. It was 7pm on a Wednesday night. Where was everyone?
The waiter approached and took my drink order. I studied the menu:
I decided on a cup of Caribbean Pumpkin Crab Bisque "Rich and creamy, finished with
toasted almonds and a dollop of cream" for a starter and the Chimichurri Steak "Argentenian-style chimichurri skirt steak, grilled, basted and served with a spicy citrus parsley, fresh citrus and cilantro pesto" for an entree. It came with two sides and I opted for the seasonal vegetables and the Au Gratin potatoes.
The soup was perfect for a cool fall night. Exactly as described, rich creamy sweet and a touch of spice. I had a cup, wished for the bowl and mopped up every drop with the warm bread sticks that accompanied. The steak was a perfect medium and was tender and delicious. The vegetables were medallions of green and yellow squash, crisp and well seasoned, I finished them first. The potatoes were excellent as well. The meal salvaged an otherwise forgettable day.
I passed on dessert though there were quite a few that sounded good and as I got up to leave the door next to the bar opened and I was embraced by live music. Intrigued I investigated and found a lively bunch out on the terrace, eating and enjoying live jazz. So that's where everyone was!