Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pacific Grill, Valrico, FL

UD and I reside in an East Hillsborough County bedroom community which is pretty much a culinary wasteland...forcing us to claw our way out drive, sometimes long distances, in order to escape the Chain Restaurant Hell into which we have found ourselves capitulated. There are a few exceptions...Della's After Dark, Park Square Cellar and a tiny Asian bistro situated in a strip mall that also is home to Stein Mart (aka "The Precious") and a couple of other local fave retailers (Leena's Chocolates and Land and Sea Market).

Due to monsoon-like conditions early Saturday evening, we decided to revisit Pacific Grill in said beloved strip mall for a casual early dinner as it's only 5 minutes from home. It had been awhile since we enjoyed Pacific Grill and we were soon reminded that it had been far too long.

We were promptly seated at a comfortable high-top with a nice view of the sushi bar. Atmosphere was quite calming and our wonderful server, Sara, very patiently explained the menu options and gave us a brief but helpful tutorial in the language of sushi.

I will preface this by saying that I am not generally a sushi fan, although I don't think there's anything fundamentally wrong with it that some tempura batter and a skillet of hot oil couldn't fix. My better half enjoys it, however...and, thankfully, there are plenty of other items on the menu for those who are not into it. We were, however, able to share and enjoy a starter of one of the sushi specials..."Lady Killer". It was stunning, fresh and delicious, featuring a tempura fried oyster center and a topping of sparkly red roe. If all sushi was like this, I'd be eating it every night.

UD pressed onward with the sushi menu, ordering other items I wouldn't touch if my life depended on it...Baby Octopus, Flying Fish Roe and Fresh Water Eel. Egads! Bear in mind, you could put what I know about sushi in a teaspoon. The spousal unit inhaled everything like he had a sunrise date with the electric chair, so I'm going to go out on a limb and say it was probably really good.

I wasn't all that hungry, so I decided to order only an appetizer.

The $13.95 starter Sampler Platter (a combination of egg roll, pot sticker, yakitori, tempura shrimp and pork ribs) probably could've fed both of us if I hadn't been scrubbing floors all day...but I had been, so Underdog only got a tiny taste. It was beautifully presented with various sauces provided for each offering. Everything was nicely done, but if I had to pull a negative out of my hat I'd say that I like my food piping hot and the apps on this platter could've been a few degrees warmer.

Sara convinced us to try a dessert and we were glad she did. The tempura banana with chocolate syrup and mochi ice cream was a delightful Asian twist on a banana split.

Pacific Grill is a great choice for a casual dinner in Brandon/Valrico. While there are plenty of sushi options, many other choices are available for unevolved folks like me who don't care for raw fish. Service is attentive, prices are good and atmosphere is relaxing. So nice to have right down the street!

Pacific Grill on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. OH! ...that "sampler" would have rocked the San Andreas fault!