Sunday, March 16, 2014

Alésia, St. Petersburg, FL

I'll start out by saying that the idea of Vietnamese-French fusion cuisine kind of had me scratching my head at the onset of doing my local dining research, but I was born again in the concept after our recent visit with fellow blogger JR (author of the SOG City Oracle) and his lovely spousal unit (The Belle of Ballast Point).  We always have a great time when we dine with these guys and this "convergence" was no exception.

We nibbled on airily light and crispy shrimp flavored chips while perusing the entree offerings (something I've only seen/enjoyed before on the menu at Emeril's Tchoup Tchoup in Orlando).  I found them delightful at both establishments, but the zesty apple and onion salsa (and maybe cilantro?) accompaniment at Alesia lent a particularly intriguing twist.  Beware...these babies are addictive.

Lobster Bisque was a respectable rendition...creamy, flavorful and containing discernible bits of crustacean meat. Nicely toasted slices of French baguette came in handy for wiping the cup clean (no Miley Cyrus tongue action was necessary...not that I'm above that when a soup situation requires it).

The Potstickers (pan-fried dumplings with Chinese chives and ground pork served with soy-ginger dipping sauce) were real crowd-pleasers.  They were liberally crammed with meaty, flavorful goodness and I really liked the caramelization of the dumpling aspect of the app.

UD never fails to order Charcuterie when it's on a menu, and this meal proved to be no exception.  Alesia's Charcuterie Platter is the deal of the century for only $9.50 (the most expensive starter we ordered).  A generous and beautiful display of prosciutto, sopressata, pâté, dry salami, olives, basil pesto and cornichons were presented served with toast points.  My only complaint is that I felt they were a tad stingy with the fabu pâté (my favorite veggie).

My entree was the most disappointing of the four we tried. Honey Glazed Cornish Game Hen, while cooked to juicy and tender perfection, could've used a little more spicy heat in my humble opinion.  A melt-in-your mouth side of potatoes au gratin saved the day, however.  My bad for not selecting one of the more adventurous options because this one did not set my taste buds to tingling.  It sure was pretty, though.

Next up:  UD's Sirloin grilled pork back ribs with a sweet and spicy ginger glaze. Taste was amazing, but sirloin is not known for being the most tender cut of either the bovine or porcine variety of animal flesh so there was some significant gnawing to be done.  Fortunately, my super-hero can channel his inner Neanderthal at will and strip a bone cleaner than any saber-toothed tiger ever could.

I feel safe saying that JR's Chinese soy-marinated short ribs were a safer, equally flavorful and juicier offering for those of us who are not in the mood to give our choppers a workout.

Allow me to now present Miss Vietnamese-French Fusion America in all of her pulchritudinous glory.  I was bitterly wishin' I was the BOBP when I tasted her Asian Style Beef Stew.  Comprised of truly tender chunks of beef (and maybe overlarge chunks of carrots) served in a flavorful broth over rice vermicelli and topped with fresh herbs, this massive $8.50 bowl of decadence combined taste and textural contrast in one of the most wondrous concoctions I've ever had the privilege to slurp.

Desserts were just the right size and nicely done.  The BOBP and I both ordered bread pudding (Almond for her, Banana Walnut for me).  I'm not really an ice cream lover, but I can recognize and appreciate a scoop that is a step or two above Breyers in quality.

The true surprise of the evening was Alésia's sensually decadent House Brownie (rich chocolate brownie with almonds and walnuts, served with french vanilla bean ice cream).  I no longer crave nor even particularly care for chocolate as I did in the PMS suffering days of my past when snorting a 16 oz. bag of M&Ms and washing them down with a bottle of white zinfandel seemed like good medicine. Alesia creates a sexy, grown-up "brownie"...tender, not too sweet and keeping itself at arm's length from the ubiquitous chocolate lava cakes and other choco-overload desserts of  its ilk saturating many chain restos.  I couldn't keep my spoon out of it.

Alesia is a worthy dining destination offering out of the ordinary and beautifully prepared, fresh tasting cuisine at extremely reasonable prices.  And I can't end this post without mentioning the superb service we received from Patrick...a true professional.   Bon Appetit!

Alésia 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.


  1. Oh my. I have to say that this looks delicious my friend. Devine!

  2. THIS is on my list with your help navigating the menu a bit. Always enjoy your blog. Thanks!