There’s a shiny new addition to the bourgeoning Seminole Heights dining scene, and one on which I am seriously crushing. The Bourgeois Pig (housed in a toothachingly charming 1920s bungalow complete with wraparound porch on North Nebraska Avenue) debuted at the beginning of January, the brainchild of first-time restaurateurs Michael and Lysa Bozel. A relatively recent transplant from L.A., Lysa envisioned a restaurant in the heart of central Tampa that would reflect the eclectic diversity of the surrounding neighborhoods and thus the “Pig” was born.
Upon entering, the ambiance all but grips you in a headlock and physically forces you to exhale (according to Bozel, a Feng Shui master was employed in the accomplishment of this remarkable feat). The dazzling, luxe Bohemian chic décor had me starry-eyed at “hello”. Rich, jewel-toned silks, vintage-style furnishings and a massive, glittering chandelier serving as the restaurant’s focal point coupled with piped in music featuring romantic classic standards from the likes of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett provide a soothing feast for the senses even before you put a single morsel of food in your mouth. Then, just when you thought it couldn’t possibly, your evening gets even better.
The Bourgeois Pig’s menu is relatively short, but everything you never knew you desperately needed is on it. Grown-up comfort food at its finest, the offerings are further elevated by their European influence. Salty and savory Olivade (a creamy goat cheese spread studded with olives and fresh herbs) oozes to form luxurious pockets in the crannies of the warm and crusty baguette slice carriers presented with it. I deem Olivade “The New Butter”.
The sweet-meets-tangy, thick and beautifully seared slabs of Cider Glazed Pork Belly served with tart apple and sweet potato relish was our virtual stairway to porcine heaven.
Entrees include tantalizing global applications like New World Coq au Vin, Brittany Fish Stew and Spaetzle with Caramelized Onion and Gruyere. With a clear conscience, I can report that my Beef Stroganoff on the Bone (braised overnight and so-tender-they’re-almost-disintegrating beef ribs served atop silken ribbons of pappardelle with mushrooms, caramelized baby carrots and a delicately sophisticated sour cream sauce) was the finest rendition that has ever slid across my tongue.
Underdog delighted in the hefty shank of melt-in-your-mouth Lamb Osso Buco served atop house made mashed potatoes with more of the picture-perfect carrots and a braising jus reduction.
Dessert time! When you take your introductory bite of the Pig’s Coconut Bread Pudding with Rum Flamed Bananas, you know without a doubt (at least for a single instant that God’s in his heaven and all’s right with the world. You first get that pleasing spoon-resistance that only the sturdy golden edges of a perfectly executed bread pudding can provide, and then said utensil slides effortlessly into its tropical, custard-riche, rum-laden depths. Ridiculously good!
Future resto plans include importing well-known European chefs for limited tenures to offer exclusive, one-of-a-kind dining opportunities to mix things up a bit with the regular menu. The Bourgeois Pig is a "silk purse" in my book.
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 interne