Sunday, April 5, 2015

Soho Backyard, Tampa, FL

This hip little spot in South Tampa is serving up some seriously good gastropub grub.  Let's get a couple of things straight right off the bat, though.  If you're over 40, you might be the oldest person in the place.  The bar and table stools are designed for the narrow and resilient arses of youth and will provide little comfort to the aching backs of Baby Boomers.  If you're looking to be pampered, this is not your spot.  While service is friendly and adequate, you won't be getting kissed on all four cheeks.  It's a little more bar and a little less resto in vibe, but the creative menu is worth checking out.

Goat cheese stuffed figs wrapped in crispy prosciutto set my taste buds to tingling...

...but the "World Famous" (and, yes...I consider that self-proclamation to be justly deserved) Duck Wings, which are actually drumsticks, left me positively starry-eyed.  I tried the succulent drummies sauced two ways...Orange Habanero, which catapulted me into the throes of  hot flash nirvana in the best of all possible ways; and the wimpier, but equally delightful, sticky honey and garlic application. 
I liked the fried chunks of lobster tail in my Lobster Basket, but was expecting a more tempura-like breading than what was presented (a little heavy for the delicacy of said shellfish IMHO).  There was nothing not to love about the sidecar of caramelized on the outside, tender on the inside, unctuously truffled potato wedges.

Cilantro Coconut Rum Gator Skewers were off the chain.  Sweet and succulent, they bore little resemblance to the gamy, breaded and fried nuggets ordinarily found on Florida menus.  It tasted like chicken a chicken's dreams. Caribbean Cole slaw was pleasingly cool, crisp and refreshing.

Our Chocolate Mousse Cups with Raspberry Drizzle failed to thrill me as much as they did my better half.  To be fair, chocolate desserts rarely do.  While I appreciated the flavor and presentation, the mousse could've been a little sturdier and more well-chilled.  We showed up for our meal at the odd hour of around 3:30 PM, so this dessert might've still been in the early preparation stages for dinner patrons.
Don't expect a Bennigan's-esque tab at the end of your meal because quality ingredients come at a price (and justifiably so).  All of this plus two drafts, two glasses of wine and an order of to-go Duck Wings for late night snacking came to $120.  Fun spot and worth a visit.

The Soho Backyard 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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