Saturday, March 5, 2011

Cinebistro, Tampa, FL

I'm usually not really inspired to post about anything even remotely chain-oriented, but I have to make an exception here.  Our meal and movie at Cinebistro in Hyde Park this evening was quite a memorable experience.  I thought I was already a spoiled brat in that, to date, I refuse to see any movie unless it's at the Centro Ybor Muvico, where the kid density is relatively low...and where there's beer and wine (and only then with me on the aisle so no stranger can sit next to me and UD on my other side to act as my personal human shield against the crush of humanity...and, yes, I know how weird I sound). Centro WHO???

If you don't mind paying $100 to have a meal and see a flick in a beautiful, relaxing venue with exemplery service at every turn, no screaming children or obnoxious teenagers (over 21 only), big La-Z-Boy-esque rockers with plenty of personal space, full bar with nice wine list and surprisingly good food...this might be for you. It definitely worked for me.

Tickets were $14.50 (a little high, I know...but it was all Oh So Civilized, which made it worth a few extra bucks) and we got to select our seats at the box office.  Sweet!

We arrived an hour before our 4:30 movie, not sure what to expect.  As it turned out, we could have ordered our meal right from our theater seats (all chairs have swivel-out tabletops), but the bar area was so beautiful and inviting that we decided to begin there.  It was still quiet at 3:30, but it really filled up as the afternoon progressed.

We got fantastic service right off the bat and proceeded to order a couple of bottles of wine to enjoy with our afternoon repast and throughout the flick...Coppola's Director Cut Chard for me and Brazin Zinfandel for UD (both sold to us at only around a 100% markup, which I though was pretty darn reasonable).  Since we had plenty of time and the ambience was so nice, we decided to go ahead and enjoy our entire meal at the bar. We started with grilled flatbread with caramelized onions, brie, balsamic reduction and figs, which was every bit as heavenly as it sounds.  The balsamic reduction was almost the consistency of jam, and the figs and caramelized onions were the perfect accompaniment for the gooey decadence of the melted brie and the toasty flatbread.  So simple and SO good. I will be recreating this at home.

The spousal unit had really good crispy fried cod tacos which were served with crunchy cilantro slaw, pico de gallo, feta cheese, ancho chili ranch tarter sauce and drunken black beans (which were spicy, nutty and steeped in Guiness Stout...tasty!).  They both exceeded expectations and the tacos were almost TOO heavily-laden with goodness...UD could barely handle them.

At the risk of exposing my redneck roots, I ordered the Garlic and Chili Wings (and I am not ashamed to admit that I love chicken wings...okay, maybe just a little) which were large and meaty, uniquely spiced, beautifully presented and cooked to perfection. They left a bead a sweat on my upper lip, yet fell short of necessitating a call for water...wing perfection!  Wine goes with wings, right?
We finished up with a trio of creme brulees...vanilla, raspberry, and rum cherry chocolate (my fave), which were delivered to us at our "La-Z-Boys" inside the cinema along with our half-finished bottles of wine (service was exceptional at Cinebistro...almost to the point of bringing to mind the level you expect at a high-end hotel). The raspberry offering had an over-the-top intensely berry flavor which I thought overwhelmed the custard, but the rum cherry chocolate version made up for whatever that one lacked.   
Somebody likes livin' like this!
What a great adult venue for dinner and a movie, especially if it's a date!  It's luxuriously comfortable, the food is well above average and service (which you'll pay 18% fee for, but it's SO worth it) is exemplary. We saw The Adjustment Bureau, btw, which struck a nice balance between a little bit of running from bad guys and a little bit of a love story.  Highly enjoyed by both Action Adventure Boy and Chick Flick Girl alike.

CineBistro on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Ok, this place sounds AWESOME. Good food, good wine, good service, good movies...and no kids??!?

    On an unrelated note: how the heck do you stay so darn skinny, woman?? Sheesh!