Sunday, March 18, 2012

Boca Kitchen*Bar*Market, Tampa, FL

It was a case of love at first sight for me when I walked into Boca. I was immediately enamored of the industrial-chic ambience and butcher paper-covered tables. Piped in music was welcome, of a reasonable volume level and unobtrusive. Toss in our adorable server, Andrew (who is an old soul with a knowledge of and passion for food and wine that far surpasses his obviously tender years) and some fine cuisine...and, what can I say? We haz a winner!

While I really enjoyed my dinner at Boca, this post is not going to be all rainbows and unicorns. I feel like Boca is still a work in progress with kinks remaining to be knocked out, but solid nonetheless. Take any perceived bitchiness going forward with a grain of salt. I know I'd be more popular if I heaped a big serving of lurve on every resto I try, but that's not how I roll. No whitewashing on this here blog.

UD peruses the menu.

The Mason Jar Spreads and Breads was a really fun and tasty starter. An assortment of carbolicious bread products were served with Dolce Bleu and Walnut, Roasted Red Pepper and Granna Pesto, as well as Tapenade Trio and Goat Cheese toppers. The spreads were all tres delish on their own and also played well with one another.

The hubster's Braised Short Ribs (recommended by our stellar server) were off the chain. The meat was like buttah...falling off the bone and nicely accented with a light but flavorful sweet sauce delightfully countered with a chipotle-esque afterburn. The accompanying tender fingerling potato hash with bacon was also the bomb.

My Lump-Stuffed Scallops were amazing...huge, fresh, moist and perfectly seared. Veggies don't usually rock my world, but the peas, squash and asparagus these guys were nestled upon were beautifully bright and fresh. Two paws up! The Champagne mustard cream sauce tied everything together nicely. I despise Rachel Ray, so I'm not sure why I'm channeling her here...but "Yummo!", nonetheless.

Unfortunately, I almost popped a fang when I asked for salt and pepper and this appeared.
I expect a little more than a McCormick box of pepper and rock-sized chunks of sea salt presented in a recycled mustard can when I dine at a restaurant of this caliber. If I'm not churning ice cream "old school", rock salt doesn't really help me much. I would've preferred being told that salt wasn't available. Not cool.

I tend to agree with some of the Urbanspoon reviewers who report that the desserts could use a little massaging. The Chambord Sabayon with fresh berries was light and refreshing, albeit not all that exciting. I was also somewhat disappointed by the Red Apple Cobbler with Dulce de Leche Ice Cream, Nutella Ganache and smoked Coconut Crumb. I didn't really detect the "cobbler" in this was more along the lines of under-cooked and under-sweetened apple slices topped with some really orgasmic and uber-creamy ice cream and a little toasted coconut. Having grown up in Tennessee, so I can be a little harsh and superior when it comes to cobbler. While it sounded pretty special on paper, after the fact I felt a little like I was on an internet date with an average looking girl who had posted a Glamour Shot to her profile.

Final word: Quite nice, overall. While it is my opinion that there is room for improvement in some areas, the aspects of our dining eperience that were very good ensure a second visit.

Boca Kitchen Bar Market on Urbanspoon


  1. Thanks for your put another Star on my must do dining map!....thanks again.

  2. Another excellent review. I look forward to reading your words and seeing your photos.

    The only thing that would be better is running into you and UD at a restaurant someday. It would be a thrill to break bread with a foodie whom I admire.


  3. You, me, UD and the Belle of Ballast Point must converge. :) My husband is a nasty Republican, but I forgive him (and sleep with him) since he's socially liberal.

  4. Since you have accepted UD as your own, we can do no less. Besides, food and drink are non-partisan.

    BoB P and I would love to converge with you and UD at a table filled to overflowing with gastronomic delights - and maybe an adult beverage or two.

  5. JR, I think aa co-blog is definitely in order. Email me at Should be fun!