Sunday, April 14, 2013

Green Lemon, Tampa, FL

Back when I was new to blogging about my dining experiences and before I came to the conclusion that it might not really be all that cool or even ethical to accept free stuff from restos in exchange for the expectation of providing them with good "press" (if "press" is even actually the correct term in the world of cyber-journalism)...I was approached via email by Green Lemon (at that time, named "The Lime"...not sure what precipitated the new moniker) to visit them for a complimentary meal.  I debated the idea for a bit before writing back to the owner/PR rep/whomever to say I might open to the idea...but that if I didn't like it, the most I could promise was that I'd pretend it never happened. The closest thing I can compare their (non)response to is an evening forest filled with the chirping of crickets. That's when I made the conscious decision that "food 'ho'ing" would never be tolerated on this here least not as long as I am Editor in Chief (not to mention, sole contributor).  Easily enforceable.

So, back to Green Lemon.  The day finally came when I was in the mood for a "South of the Border" snack so I decided to stop in (non-gratis).  I liked the chic urban vibe of the place (with nary a sombrero, serape nor pinata in sight) and we were warmly greeted by Tracey, whose sweetness and competence contributed a lot to our overall enjoyment of the meal.

I would classify the menu as contained both old standbys as well as newer twists on the former.  We started off with Tostones (which are pretty much God's Own Treat to begin with...even before they're topped).  These tasty, perfectly fried rounds of mashed plantains smothered in spicy, tender Mojo Pulled Pork, veggies and fresh herbs did not disappoint.

Things got a little dicey after that.  I ordered the Chicken Wiggles Bowl, which was a rice-based dish topped with grilled chicken, black beans, avocado (I think), queso fresco, shredded cabbage and cheese.  I opted out of the additional chopped tomato topper, which seemed to be no problem.

While not an abomination, I'm not sure Taco Bell couldn't have given this thing a run for its money.  The chicken (and I'm no huge fan of chicken breast to begin with, so take this with a grain of salt) tasted like Perdue Chicken Selects that had been tossed into a bland trough of under-cooked rice, adorned with a sprinkling of canned beans and packaged bacon bits, then accented with a lime wedge to make it all "special".  Couple that with the fact that the bowl was presented at room temp (cold food being one of my ultimate pet peeves when dining out...give me crappy service, give me a poor selection of wines by the glass or give me foil-wrapped butter pats...I'm not a fan of any, but all are preferable to food that's obviously been sitting around awhile prior to being delivered).

UD fared a little better with The Street Trio of tacos, although he agreed that the Ancho Chicken offering tasted decidedly prefab.  The Carne Asada version was inhaled without hesitation, but he ultimately wished he'd simply ordered three of the Mojo Pulled Pork variety.   The side of  Black Beans and Rice might've been good but they, also, were presented at a 70-ish degree borderline congealed state so no one was really inspired to dig in.

My $8 Top Shelf Margarita proved to be a fine representation of said cocktail, so I'm dialing down the bitchery from here on out.

We were asked when we entered whether or not we'd ever dined at Yellow Lime (or Green Lemon...whichever it was) when we were first seated, to which we replied that we had not....having no clue that a correct response would entitle us to a fabulous prize.  As newbies, we were thrilled to learn that we qualified for a free dessert, which turned out to be the highlight of the entire meal.  Before we could even clutch our crucifixes, a Beelzebub-inspired concoction of "Churros meet Bananas Foster" was plopped before us. Hot and crispy on the outside/sweet and tender on the inside, cinnamon sugar laced lancets of pastry goodness had their inherent heinousness enhanced via accoutrements of  vanilla ice cream and caramelized banana slices.   Okay...I will, on the rarest of occasions, take free stuff.
Overall, this was an "OK" dining experience saved by a couple of quality spikes that kept me from stomping it into the ground with my boot heels.  The meal set us back $55 before gratuity which included a glass of Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay for me and a Big Nose Ale for UD  (not to mention the outstanding margarita).   Potential exists...follow-through is on them.  

Green Lemon on Urbanspoon

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.

1 comment:

  1. Great review, Sweet Polly.

    Like you, the Oracle received an invite to dine for free in exchange, I presume, for a glowing review back when the Lemon was the Lime (the name change was the result of a trademark or branding issue).

    I declined, but we went later and dined anonymously. We paid full price and didn't much like it - the food, that is.

    The Lemon/Lime would have been disappointed had we ho'd for free food.

    Ethics and integrity - they's a beotch, ain't they?