Sunday, January 19, 2014

Cafe Largo, Largo, FL

Once upon a time, my buddies at Local Eats (a website devoted to promoting and providing reviews of locally-owned non-chain restos and also a supporter of my blog) sent me a delightfully unexpected gift....a $25 gift card to use at any of their partner restaurants.  No strings and no guidelines other than "go, report and maybe give our site a shout-out".  Done, done and done.  Thank you, Local Eats!
















Being lovers of French cuisine, we zeroed in on Cafe Largo, a somewhat nondescript strip mall eatery in (you guessed it) the culinary capital of Florida...Largo.  Impressed by its online reviews, we were eager to try it and mostly pleased with the overall experience.  I especially appreciated the fact that they allowed us to bring in a special bottle of Chandon sparkling wine we purchased in Napa a couple of months ago to share with our friends. Corkage for BYOB is $10 at Cafe Largo, but we told them to feel free to charge us $20 since it was Magnum...still a bargain.  The red wine-loving boyz also purchased a $48 bottle of Gigondas, Cristia Collection 2008 to share with dinner.  The interior of this establishment is warm and cozy....nothing cutting edge but typical French bistro in style.  We found our server to be a bit chilly (bordering on snarky at times) which is the most negative comment I'm going to make about this experience.

Warm, crusty bread slabs with prettily-piped, herb-infused butter were dispensed as we sipped our bubbles and perused the menu. Cold bread is kind of a dining pet peeve of mine (foil wrapped butter pats, even moreso).  This is exactly how I like it!
















A couple of soups were sampled....both a little thin for my Fat American personal taste, but flavorful and traditional nonetheless.  Max ordered Boulliabaisse, which he said he enjoyed despite what (to me) appeared to be a dearth of seafood in said concoction, likening the flavor to that of a gumbo.
















UD tried the "warm" Vichyssoise (which, up until yesterday, I would've considered a contradiction in terms). Again, I prefer a sturdier cream-based soup, but that's why my booty is too large.  It was delightful for a lighter version and very flavor-forward (no one was being stingy with the leeks).
















Felicia's Pistachio Crusted Scallops were sweet, palm-sized and lolling in a bath of creamy decadence.  Off the chain! 
















My Seared Foie Gras with Peaches was equally wonderful.
















Salads came with every entree and were standard French issue:  Fresh greens, vinaigrette, add cheese at an upcharge. I passed....saving stomach space for my duck.
















Magret de Canard a l'estragon (roasted deboned duck breast with tarragon sauce) was good, but I've had better and I'll tell you where at the end of this post.  It was not remarkable and perhaps a tad overcooked.















Max's fresh Grouper finished with cream sauce was a real show-stopper.  Outstanding in every aspect...
















...and Felicia's juicy Chateaubriand with B√©arnaise (and I daresay some kinda cheese...gorgonzola, maybe) was probably the best entree of the evening.  
















Underdog went rogue and ordered a unique-sounding Goose special.  Being a "goose virgin", he didn't exactly know what to expect and wasn't entirely thrilled with his introductory experience. That there's a lot of protein for one plate.  Just sayin'.
















The gurlz had ordered the Apple Tarte Tatin at the beginning of the meal (this dessert requires notice), and we were glad we did.  Just enough for everyone to have final "sweet bite".
















When the bill came, we presented a $250 American Express gift card along with my $25 Local Eats card as well as a residual credit card to cover the remaining small balance and tip.  At that point, some unexpected drama began to unfold as our server refused to charge more than 80% of the total bill to our gift cards after we funneled over $300 into this establishment.  I have no idea what that was about, but it was embarrassing and required assertiveness on the part of the Y-Chromes to push this thing through.  Maybe it was gratuity-related...who knows. We generally leave at least 20% , although that was more than our somewhat snide server deserved. We had a great time, nonetheless.
















This is what happens when you take Felicia to dinner. 





















While we enjoyed the cuisine, when in the Seminole/Largo/Pinellas Beach area and craving French food, we'll stick with our local fave, Gulf Bistro, going forward as I feel both their food and service are superior to that of Cafe Largo.

Cafe Largo 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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