Although I generally prefer to support locally owned and operated restaurants, Del Frisco's Grille is not a huge restaurant group (less than 18 units) and its menu gives a wide berth to standard, cookie-cutter chain resto fare. On this balmy February day in Florida, UD celebrated his *coughsixtyfirstcough* anniversary of being pushed from the womb and and woke up squawking for "special" waffles like a five-year-old. Since I haven't fired up a waffle iron since I was twelve, I let my fingers do the walking on my keyboard and, lo and behold, a Red Velvet Waffle in Tampa jumped out at me in my search results. God, I love the Information Age. And thus, we dawgs hightailed it to Del Frisco's Grille for a birfday brunch...arriving mere moments after the doors opened.
The top floor of Del Frisco's is open-air and throws off an uber chic and relaxing vibe. Yeah, you're overlooking a retention pond and Boy Scout Boulevard, but the ambiance is quite pleasing, nonetheless.
First off, we needed a little hair o' the dog following our Big Birthday Blowout at Charley's the evening before. All the usual drug delivery systems are on the menu (mimosas, screwdrivers and build-your-own Bloody Marys - all available by the glass or carafe), but we zeroed right in on the White Sangria (a blend of pinot grigio, white peach purée, Peach Schnapps and fresh berries) and oh, what a wondrous concoction it is! At $17 for a generous carafe for two, it's also the deal of the century. Just what the doctor ordered:
While someone had already decided on his brunch entree, I needed time to peruse the menu...so we decided to warm up with a couple of starters. The smoky Pulled Pork Empanadas (Swiss cheese and tender pulled pork tucked into golden, flaky pastry pockets and embellished with spicy apricot mustard and finely chopped dill pickle) were a delightful riff on a classic Cuban sandwich.
I was envisioning something chunkier and heartier when I requested a cup of Corn Chowder (crab meat, smoked bacon bits and fingerling potato chips), but I couldn't have been happier with the more subtle, sophisticated and sherry-laced version that showed up. I loved its silken texture and there was no skimping on the crab morsels...plus, it was a nice-sized serving for $7 (I even let the spousal unit have a bite, but only because it was his Special Day).
Birthday wishes and dreams came to fruition when the tender-on-the-inside/toasty-on-the-outside, luxuriously cocoa-laced Red Velvet Belgian Waffle appeared. Drizzled in whipped vanilla bean-spiked cream cheese, the waffle quads were served with a sidecar of maple syrup and topped with a lattice of thick-cut bacon slabs. Waffle Nirvana:
I personally felt that The Grille Benedict (perfectly poached eggs, French ham and chipotle hollandaise piled atop two halves of a scallion and white cheddar cathead biscuit) would serve as a better-suited sponge for sopping up the remnants of my Saturday night's transgressions, and I was not disappointed. In fact, I tore into it with such vengeance that half of it had been consumed before photo-documentation even occurred to me. All of the basic Sunday morning food groups were met here: fat, salt, protein, carbs, spice.
I would be remiss if I failed to give kudos to one of the most darling and efficient server in Tampa...our sweet nurse, Pepper. When our gorged Birthday Boy cried "uncle" at the offer of being comped a celebratory dessert, she boxed up what must be the most decadent coconut cream pie known to man for him to take home. Luxe coconut cream filling was piled atop a sturdy, shortbread cookie-type crust and the entire diabolical concoction was then slathered in whipped cream and liberally showered with shards of white chocolate. You want this.
Final tab for all of this? Around $65 before gratuity...and we didn't have to eat again all day. I like it here.
My blog entries contain the unmitigated, and sometimes unforgiving, dining truths and perceptions I experience as an ordinary restaurant patron. Every meal I post about has been fully paid for by one of the participating members of my personal dining party. I do not engage in the gratis blogger freebie dining events I'm constantly invited to attend and never will. If I ooze font-like love for a restaurant in my blog, it's because they totally earned it…not because they gave me free food or knew I was going to share the experience on the internet.