Wednesday, June 24, 2015

1200° Chophouse, St. Pete Beach, FL

When one thinks of dining on the Pinellas beaches, juicy steaks aren't often the first menu items that spring to mind in an area rich with grouper sandwiches, fried shrimp, burgers and conch fritters. Overlooking 1200° Chophouse on St. Pete Beach, however, would be a mistake.

This small, carnivorous den of iniquity is casually appointed with cowhide-print walls and utilitarian wooden chairs, tables and bar stools built to withstand the restaurant's heavy rotation of hungry locals and tourons. With seating available for only approximately 40-50 people at the bar, indoor and outdoor tables combined, go early or be prepared to wait as reservations are not accepted here.

At 1200º Chophouse, you get all the benefits of an upscale steak house without being “a la carted” to death.  Each entree is served with warm bread, a better-than-average house salad comprised of mixed greens, toasted walnuts and craisins in house vinaigrette; starch of choice (just go ahead and order the loaded baked potato - you know you want it); and au gratin tomato. Bonus points are bestowed because it’s perfectly okay to wear your shorts while getting your carnivore on.

House salad and soft, warm bread with honey butter.

Because UD and I were celebrating our Lucky 13 wedding anniversary, Mama felt entitled to splurge. And since the only thing better than lobster is MORE lobster, I zeroed right in on the Twin 7 oz. Caribbean Lobster Tails. Perhaps a tad on the tough side (which is not terribly uncommon with warm water lobster), they were tasty nonetheless and I appreciated how solidly loaded up with goodies (butter, bacon, sour cream, cheese, chives) my baked potato was.

Underdog's 2.5 lb. Tomahawk Ribeye was a caveman's dream come true.  Beautifully seared and cooked to a perfect medium rare, it kept him happily gnawing away at it for a full 48 hours.  It's a splurge at $59, but could easily be shared by two (or more). Recommendation:  Pay the $4 upcharge for an accompanying boat of creamy Gorgonzola sauce.

We capped off the meal by sharing a decadent, creamy sea salt and caramel panna cotta.  This dessert was comped due to a relatively insignificant but slightly annoying issue with some small flying insects that had managed to enter the venue earlier in the afternoon.

While this restaurant is not inexpensive, it imparts a lot of bang for the buck.  We received excellent service and were not rushed despite the fact that a waiting line had formed by the time our meal was complete.  The damage, which included a bottle of sparkling wine and a glass of red, came to around $140 before gratuity.

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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. Everything looks so good. Time for a visit!

  2. I would love to try that lobster tail.