Local Bites: Doc B's Fresh Kitchen

One of the latest additions to Tampa's growing list of culinary adventures is Doc B's Fresh Kitchen, a Chicago-born, fresh casual dining venue that offers its guests dishes that are as equally fresh and nutritious as they are tasty. Doc B's kindly hosted pH and I for lunch after we spent the morning shopping at International Plaza with my parents.

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We started off our dining experience with a couple of drinks; I ordered the Bloody Maria (Tequila Avíon, jalapeño, pineapple and basil on the rocks) and pH ordered The Dangler (Traverse City Whiskey Straight Bourbon, carrot juice and maple on the rocks). I'll admit, I wasn't the biggest fan of my drink choice - not because it wasn't good, but because I was hoping for it to taste similar to a Bloody Mary. The Bloody Maria has a bit more worcestershire sauce than your typical Bloody Mary - it's a strong taste, so I'd recommend this drink for sipping.

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Doc B's Fresh Kitchen has a unique fresh juice-based cocktail program, with the majority of the house cocktails containing fresh juices, like carrot, beet, pineapple and more. Dustin, the General Manager of Tampa's Doc B's Fresh Kitchen, brought us The "Beet"lejuice to try (CH gin, all-organic beet juice, mint and lemon served over crushed ice). I've never had either gin or beet juice before - it was fruity and delicious. We were also able to sample a drink that will hit Doc B's House Cocktails menu soon, called The Natural - it's a twist on your typical mojito - Bacardi, mint, strawberry purée from Napa Valley, and cracked black pepper. It's very light and refreshing, and my favorite drink from the four we sampled.

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For appetizers, we opted for the Spicy #1 Tuna Summer Rolls and the Grilled California Artichokes. The Spicy #1 Tuna Summer Rolls were a favorite of ours, served with a spicy peanut sauce and cut into halves, perfect for sharing. I am a big lover of artichokes, and Doc B's Grilled California Artichokes hit the spot for me. It's easy for restaurants to under-cook grilled artichokes in fear of burning the leaves, but these were cooked and seasoned perfectly, evident in the tenderness of the artichoke heart.

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What I love most about Doc B's Fresh Kitchen is that there are menu options to satisfy both my and pH's diet, and by that, I mean my non-existent diet and pH's low-carb Keto diet. For our entrees, we ordered the Wedge Burger (Danish Blue cheese on a sesame seed bun with a sunny-side up egg, candied bacon, lettuce & tomato with roasted garlic dressing) and the Danish Barbecue Ribs (fall-off-the-bone ribs brushed with BBQ and served with coleslaw).

A few notes: The Wedge Burger is normally served with Blue cheese, but I substituted for Monterey Jack. The Danish Barbecue Ribs are normally served with coleslaw, but we opted for the Kale Slaw to try.

Both entrees were wonderful. The Wedge Burger was cooked to our liking, a perfect medium rare, and the fries were deliciously seasoned with a blend of salt, pepper and a special five-spice mix. The beef used to make these burgers is sourced to ensure it complies with the Beef Marketing Group’s "never-ever" natural program that mandates never any hormones or antibiotics administered and that a diet of only grass and grain is used to raise cattle. The Danish Barbecue Ribs were my favorite - imported from Denmark, they were true to their fall-off-the-bone description, and paired perfectly with the Kale Slaw, which had the slightest hint of mint leaves, a surprising and fresh addition of flavor.

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We were stuffed, but were encouraged to try the Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cheesecake, and I'm oh-so-glad that I am swayed easily. The texture of the cheesecake was my preferred texture - light and fluffy, not too compact and rich. The dusted Cinnamon Toast Crunch on top added the perfect cinnamon flavor to an already decadent dessert. 

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Overall, our experience was fantastic. The food was wonderful and the atmosphere and attitude of the staff was enjoyable. I will definitely be returning, either for my Danish Barbecue Ribs or to try another burger off of the menu.

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Doc B's Fresh Kitchen is located on Bay Street at International Plaza at 2223 N. Westshore Blvd. B-206 in Tampa and is open Mondays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. You can check out the menu here, and visit Doc B's Fresh Kitchen on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

*Disclosure: The meal featured in this post was provided by Doc B's Fresh Kitchen for an honest review. Opinions expressed here are my own and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of International Plaza or Doc B's Fresh Kitchen.