The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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Archive for the ‘Cuisine’ Category

Tampa Bay Brewing Co in Ybor recently opened up a new location in Oldsmar.  The address says Tampa, but it’s on Racetrack Road in what I still consider to be Oldsmar.  This location is also their production brewery and they offer tours.  They’ve got a nice size restaurant and bar plus an outside bar and patio.  We’re not drinkers, but we’ll definitely be back for the food.

We started off with the Cantonese Calamari.

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This is one of those dishes that you can’t stop eating.  It was absolutely delicious.  The calamari & shrimp were perfectly flash fried and it was covered in this sweet chili sauce that wasn’t too spicy.  Loren thought it would have been better if the sauce had been on the side because it did make the breading on the calamari a bit soggy, but I like it the way it was.

For his entree, he went with the dish that was featured on Diners, Drivers, and Dives, the Bomb.

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It’s a 1/2 pound bacon cheeseburger with onion straws wrapped in pizza dough instead of a bun.  He thought it was pretty tasty.  He also got the red beans & rice for his side dish and that was tasty.  It had a wonderful smokey flavor to it.  I think this is the only side dish he’ll ever order here because it was so good.  I went for the Butcher burger.

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It had grilled onions, wild mushrooms and provolone and the burger was a mixture of short rib, chuck, and brisket.  My only complaint was that they cooked it past medium which made it a bit on the dry side.  Their homemade steak sauce saved the day.  It was sweet and tangy.  I’d buy a bottle of that in a minute.  So good.  Total bill with a drink was $43 and we’ll definitely be back again.

As a side note, I also visited again later in the week for a work function.  We started with the chips & salsa & queso and pretzels.  I couldn’t stop eating the chips and queso.  The chips were thin and crispy and hot and fresh.  The pretzel was also really fresh and tasty.  Everyone seemed to enjoy their lunch.  I had the Moosekiller meatloaf.  It was a huge serving with mashed potatoes and onion straws with a mushroom gravy.  I’d order it again without hesitation.

Tampa Bay Brewing Co
13927 Monroe Business Park
Tampa, FL
813-247-1422

Tampa Bay Brewing Co Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food4/5
Service4/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.7/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: American, Oldsmar, Tampa
  • It’s been a while since we’ve been to Aki Sushi in Oldsmar, so we decided to try it again tonight.  It’s not a very big space; they were busy, but there were still a few open tables.  We ordered the appetizer sampler and 4 sushi rolls.

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    Loren and I viewed the experience very differently tonight.  While he felt the servers were being efficient, I felt like I was being rushed.  The above part of the sampler was dropped at our table without explanation.  The server literally was looking away from our table as it was placed and then he walked away.  We both looked at each other quizzically since I could have sworn the sampler had more items on the menu.  This was the 3 spring rolls and 2 rangoons.  They had a good crunch and good flavors, but I was still confused.

    Two of the rolls showed up next and eventually another server glanced over and said the rest of the sampler would be coming soon as well. Nice to finally know.  The Catch 13 roll had spicy salmon, asparagus, tuna, lemon and jalapeno and I ordered the shrimp tempura roll.

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    Loren liked the Catch 13.  He said the thinly sliced lemon and jalepeno added a nice flavor to it.  The shrimp tempura had a nice crunch on the shrimp.  The rest of the appetizer sampler finally showed up.  It had the 3 gyoza and 2 shumai.  I liked the gyoza more than the shumai.

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    Our last 2 rolls arrived, the Summer Time which was tuna, salmon, mixed greens in rice paper and the Dragon which was krab, cucumber, avocado and eel.

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    The eel was torched a little too much for my taste, but otherwise the rolls were good.  I actually had a difficult time choosing rolls because the combinations of ingredients just didn’t appeal to me.  More than anything else, though, it was the service that bothered me.  Normally, I don’t mind ninja type servers that clear plates quickly, but this felt impersonal and I felt rushed.   Total bill with a drink was $60.

    Aki Sushi
    3970 Tampa Road
    Oldsmar, FL
    813-855-2624

    Aki Sushi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Food3/5
    Service2/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value2/5
    2.6/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Oldsmar, Sushi
  • We’ve walked by Grimaldi’s Pizzeria at Countryside Mall a bunch of times and finally decided it was time to check it out.  It was about 8pm on a Sunday night and they weren’t very busy.  We got a small regular pizza and added garlic, meatballs, and mushrooms to it.

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    I understand charging for toppings, but $2 for fresh garlic is a bit on the unreasonable side.  I liked the crust of the pizza, but not the sauce.  It had that “not cooked long enough tomato from a can taste” and desperately needed the garlic we added.  The meatballs were ok, and normally, I don’t like a thin crust, but this one had the right texture to it.  You could even watch the guys in the kitchen tossing the dough.  They had a special butterscotch cheesecake that we couldn’t pass up.

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    I’d come back just for the cheesecake.  It was silky smooth with a wonderful butterscotch flavor.  Absolutely delicious.   Would I come back for the pizza?  Probably not.  It was overpriced and lacked the flavors I was after.  Total bill with a drink was $32.

    Grimaldi’s Pizzeria
    27001 Hwy 19 N.
    Clearwater, FL
    (727) 725-1200

    Grimaldi's Pizzeria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Food2/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value2/5
    2.5/5

    We tried to eat lunch at Craft Street Kitchen today after going to a movie in Oldsmar, but they haven’t started opening for lunch yet.  Instead, we came back for dinner with some friends.  We got there around 6pm and the place was already crowded, but we were able to get a table without a wait.  They have both inside and outside seating and rearranged the space quite a bit from the restaurant it used to be.  It’s a bit on the loud side, but we didn’t have any trouble hearing each other across the table.

    The menu had a lot of interesting choices and the waitress came by and explained her favorites (they’re to die for and simply amazing!) in vivid detail.  I’m not sure if she even took a breath while she recited almost the entire menu to us.  We skipped the appetizers tonight and went straight for the entrees.  Our friends ordered the Southwest flatbread and the Roma Chicken sandwich.

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    The flatbread was huge!  It had BBQ’d chicken, pepperjack cheese, avocado, corn relish, pico de gallo, black beans, cilantro and a chipolte crema on top.  It had a nice crispy crust and a mix of sweet and spicy that our friend really liked.  The chicken sandwich also went over very well.  It had mozzarella cheese, prosciutto, tomatoes, arugula and a basil mayo.  On our end of the table, we ordered the Angry Pig Sandwich with a side salad and the shrimp and grits.

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    The salad was supposed to come out first, but Loren only got a few bites in before the entrees arrived.  The ranch dressing was unusual.  I think it had dill in it or some other herb that made it unique.  The Angry Pig was mojo braised pork, apple slaw & fried pickles with an Angry Orchard BBQ sauce.  It was tasty.  It had a nice sweetness to it that I really liked.  The shrimp and grits were also good.  It had smokey cheddar grits with a very mild andouille sausage and shrimp swimming in a roasted poblano buerre blanc sauce.  The only think I didn’t really like were the herbs on top.  They really overpowered the other flavors.   We were all happy with our entrees and decided we’ll be back again.  We got some desserts to go, the peanut butter pie and the Founders raspberry chocolate cheesecake.

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    I wasn’t as impressed with the dessert as I was with the meal.  The cheesecake was not one of the ones on our waitress’s “to die for” list and I could understand why.  It was thick, but not at all creamy.  The chocolate flavor wasn’t rich enough and the whole thing was just kind of crumbly.  Not something I’d order again.  Our total came to $40, not sure what our friend’s total was, but probably pretty close since the prices are all very reasonable.  Overall though, we’ll be back and when they start opening for lunch it’ll be a perfect after movie place to eat.

    Craft Street Kitchen and Drinks
    3153 Curlew Rd
    Oldsmar, FL
    727-314-4270

    Craft Street Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Food4/5
    Service4/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value3/5
    3.7/5

    Hofbrauhaus


    We were excited to see Hofbrauhaus, a new German restaurant open up in St. Petersburg, only to be disappointed with the quality of the food we received.  The space is a big open area with balconies.  We were seated upstairs with a view of the large hall beneath.  We got there around 11:45am and were able to get a parking space in their small lot and there weren’t that many other patrons inside which surely kept down the noise level.  I imagine with a rowdy crowd in that wide open space that it’s deafening in there.

    Our entrees came out of the kitchen very quickly; unfortunately, we had ordered the potato pancakes as an appetizer which were nowhere to be seen.  The waitress apologized and went to get them, but by the time she finally returned, we were pretty much finished with our meal and just sent them back.

    Loren ordered the Nürnberger Rostbratwürstl which were pork sausages served with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut.

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    To me, they tasted like regular ol’ hot dogs and Loren said without the mustard they were just very plain and uninteresting in flavor.  I ordered the Jaegerschnizel which came with spaezle.

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    For some reason, they thought bacon would make it better, but even bacon wasn’t going to help.  First off, the portion was very small compared to what I’ve gotten in every other German restaurant I’ve been to.  The pork was tender, but flavorless and the spaezle was dry.  There wasn’t enough mushroom gravy on it either.  The only saving grace to the meal was the Black Forest Cake.

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    At least they got this one right.  The cake was moist and tasty.  I would have preferred real whipped cream to whipped topping, but otherwise this was the only high point of the meal.   We won’t be going back; there are much better German restaurants in the area. Total bill with a drink was $40.

    Hofbrauhaus
    123 4th St
    St Petersburg, FL
    (727) 898-3333

    Hofbrauhaus Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Food2/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere2/5
    Value1/5
    2.2/5