Ummm...Datz, as lovable and tasty as it may be, in no way deserves to be revered as it is on the Tampa Bay page of said website. I have no other conclusion to reach that since it's held the #1 "talked about" spot for two years running, there may be a shill (or dozen) sustaining this ranking. SO many more intriguing and incredibly fine restaurants fly under the radar in Tampa Bay that are eversomuch more worthy of being discussed. "Foodwhoring" in the local blogging community seems to have a growing number of disciples and good for them...but I choose not to participate. When one pays for every morsel consumed, honesty (sometimes brutal) comes naturally and I never feel the need to hold back or whitewash any experience I may have.
Moving on...I haz a new crush, Fetishes is a sleek and intimate little hideaway nestled among the touron-laden all-u-can-eat crab legs and $2 draft joints lining St. Pete Beach. The interior is "real city" lovely, almost to the point of being a juxtaposition considering the geographic locale. Owner Bruce was quite involved and highly visible throughout the course of an impeccably paced three hour dinner. Jen, who also helped us navigate through the menu, was also a treasure. This was truly an experience....not just a meal.
I'll try to keep food descriptions brief since this will be a seriously image-heavy post. The Bread: Hot, crusty on the outside, tender on the inside and presented with softened herb butter. Yeah, Baybee!
My Corn and Crab Bisque was silken decadence, luxuriously adorned with a generous portion of sweet, tender chunks of lump crab meat. Oh, and let's not forget to mention the embellishment of a side of sherry to drizzle atop this sensual, clothes-loosening concoction. The menfolk had to be educated in the fact that this was not a "shot". Paws off!
The Belle of Ballast Point's Mini Steak Au Poivre were melt-in-the-mouth little slabs of bovine decadence presented in the form of pepper encrusted grilled beef tenderloin slices with Madagascar demi-glace. You know you want it. Robin Thicke even says so.
UD went retro and ordered an old-school classic which was one of his mom's faves from the late sixties...a traditional Lobster Newburg with mushrooms, asiago and cream topped with broiled gratin. Swoonworthy.
JR, my liver-loving friend, thankfully started with the Duck Liver Pate with Fruit Chutney and Flat Bread and was willing to share. This pate had an almost cloud-like consistency...more delicate and less dense/earthy than most liver pates which made it more appealing to our liver "understudies". Whatever...it rawked!
The mostincrediblesidesaladeverpresented was delivered shortly after the apps. I was not expecting this touch, because you will really get an "it's quite possible I will leave this resto hungry" vibe when you walk in...but nothing could be further from the truth. I was amazed at every turn by both portion size and quality of ingredients.
Fetishes' offering of fresh mixed greens with starfruit, sunflower seeds and house made honey dijon dressing with each entree will blow your socks off.
Entree time! JR, feeling a bit intrepid about the fact that the Half Roast Duckling with Jus Orange might be cooked to a higher temp than his liking, rolled the dice and enjoyed every succulent morsel of this pink and juicy main course. The fresh herbs, sugar snap peas and tender mashed potatoes cradled in a phyllo basket rounded out this unforgettable main course.
My fresh Snapper with Lump Crab and Creamy Pesto Sauce was a special of the evening and totally off the chain. The fish tasted uber fresh, the pesto sauce (made with almonds instead of pine nuts, if I'm not mistaken, to make it a little less overpowering) was delightful and, again, no one was skimping on the lump crab embellishment.
UD inhaled his Shrimp New Orleans, grilled and served Cajun style with fresh tomatoes, onion, celery and mild Andouille like sunrise would never come again.
The "Miss Most Photogenic" award, however, goes to the Belle of Ballast Point's New Zealand Herb-Crusted Roasted Lamb Chops topped with Fresh Mint and Gorgonzola Crumbles. Magnificence on a plate. "Outta my way, Bitch (channeling Jesse Pinkman)!"
Since everyone inexplicably still had a tiny corner of stomach real estate available after this orgy-esque feeding frenzy, how could we refrain from gaining enough strength to load our alcohol-laden arses into a homeward-bound cab via carbo-loading? Key Lime Parfait and Chocolate Chip Cakes with orange-infused chocolate sauce along with a couple of glasses of dessert wine provided the final surge of energy we needed to
This is the kind of meal that could get you lucky, boyz...but it'll prolly be tomorrow or the next day....when we're not so full we can't move.
Fetishes is one of finest dining experiences in Tampa Bay...in the top 20 at the very least. Go. Now.
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.