Sunday, January 2, 2011

Pelagia Trattoria, Tampa, FL

I don't often get overly excited by hotel restaurant menus, but Pelagia Trattoria's had me at "hello".  The restaurant itself is visually quite attractive.  It was also almost completely empty the night we were there.  When we arrived, we could've fired a scud missile through the place and not hit a soul, which was a little odd considering its International Mall location.

The bread basket was pretty, but cold. No butter or olive oil came with...only a black olive tapenade.

We started with Crunchy Stuffed Olives with Three Meats which were large, savory specimens of the green variety and obviously right out of the fryer.
Manchego with Organic Honeycomb may have been the highlight of the meal (we had to order a second round of it).  Very small dish, but perfect!
Carpaccio is difficult to eff up and this rendition was no exception. Marinated artichoke hearts and shaved parmesan cheese added a nice touch.
I have loved grilled romaine each of the few times I've tried it, and was looking forward to digging into Pelagia's deconstructed grilled Caesar. I found it to be only "okay" (cool concept, though).  The lettuce tasted more wilted than grilled but the homemade croutons and garlicky dressing were nice.
The gurlz both ordered the Seafood Saffron Tagilatelle, described as pasta with sauteed seafood in lobster limoncello broth.  The pasta was insanely creamy-tasting and obviously hand-made, and the seafood was fresh and delicious.  This was a very nice dish (as it should've been for $30ish).  The palm-sized seared scallop topper was a lovely touch.
Underdog (who always finds it difficult to pass up lamb) selected Cinnamon Marinated Rack of Lamb with Butternut Squash Flan, which was delicious and perfectly prepared, but maybe a bit light for $32.  The flan was unique and had a really nice sweet and lightly spicy "gourdy" taste similar to pumpkin. 
Tim ordered the Veal Chop special which came with a Shrimp Skewer and Purple Potato Flan (which had an interesting taste...but while I appreciated the creativity involved, I'm not sure everything needs to be "flanned").

This was a pleasant dining experience overall,  but I wouldn't say I was blown away by it (at least not to the extent that one expects to be blown away by a meal priced at $200 per couple after gratuity). The wine list wasn't as extensive as it could've been, nor was anyone inspired to order dessert (not normally a positive sign).  However, we did get good service, the food was above average and we were all full when it was time to go.  Somehow, though, I still left with a vague sense of unmet expectations. It might have something to do with my ordering a  pasta dish in spite of the fact that I have a weird idiosyncrasy in that I don't usually think of pasta dishes as all that "special"...even if they are.  Did that make sense?  I didn't think so.  ;)  To be fair, I was also feeling rather corpulent and partied-out from the previous month of holiday decadence. Maybe I'll return to Pelagia and try the Lavender Honey Marinated Duck Breast when I'm finished with my post-holiday diet purge and my pants fit again (assuming that ever happens). 

Pelagia Trattoria on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Great post. Looks good...this one has been on my list for some time.