Sunday, June 30, 2013

Cigar City Brewpub, Tampa, FL

Not sure why the online reviews for Cigar City Brewpub are so mixed....perhaps they got off to an unsteady start.  The venue is both sleek and chic and the offerings we tasted from the Sunday Brunch menu reflected thought and care. Service was a tad slow (albeit pleasant and helpful) and there's a bit of a "grunge" factor going on in the style of the waitstaff but nothing-off putting. Or it could be that I'm just old.

As a tomato-hater from waaayyyy back (maybe I don't hate them 100%, but they have to be perfectly homogeneous and cooked down for me to remotely begin to enjoy them), I must say that UD's Tomato Bisque was one of the best tomato soups I've ever tasted.  Its brightness and freshness practically exploded on the tongue.  Pecorino Romano crostini and fried basil leaf ratcheted it up a notch from its already almost-ethereal state.

Draft beers were a delight (as anticipated).  I slurped the lighter, yet still substantial, Florida Cracker while my better half nursed the more full-bodied offerings of Are Wheat There Yet and Dunedin Apricot.  The brews left us nothing to bitch about.

Black Bean Cakes with Fire Roasted Salsa Verde and Chipotle Sour Cream also impressed.  I loved the textural contrast, nutty flavor and the sweet after-beat of heat that fell on the heels of each bite.

The crisp and juicy Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Orange Blossom Honey was the fodder of a Southern Gurl's wet dreams.  Poached Egg atop a Cheddar Biscuit with Chorizo Gravy rounded everything out nicely.  All we need here to make life perfect are some stone-ground grits.

UD's Grass-Fed Picadillo Meatloaf Sandwich was off the chain and the deal of the century at $8 (including side).  I will freely admit that meatloaf has been a cherished friend of mine for over 50 years now.  This particular rendition was executed in the flavor style of an Argentinean empanada (resplendently studded with olive and pimento and garnished with slice of boiled egg) and sandwiched between two slabs of Cuban bread. Buenos Aires revisited!

Beer-infused Peach Bread Pudding (in this case, Fountain of Youth with Lemongrass and Kaffir Lime brewski on tap) had a nice density and was not too sweet.  I felt like it needed something, however, to leverage it heavenward...a whiskey sauce, ice cream, or both.

Very enjoyable...especially for the $60 price tag including four beers.

Cigar City Brewpub Restaurant 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.

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