Local Bites: Bonefish Grill South Tampa
Last weekend, I was invited to dine at the Bonefish Grill in South Tampa and experience the restaurant's new seasonal menu and newly-remodeled interior. It had been a while since I last paid a visit to Bonefish Grill, and I was intrigued, since Bloomin' Brands announced the closing of 14 Bonefish Grill locations in the United States last month, none of which affect the locations in the Tampa Bay area.
Upon arriving, we were greeted by the host and seated at our table. Our waiter, Sean, introduced himself and quickly brought us our drinks and bread for the table. While we got the chance to take in our surroundings and talk, the managing partner of South Tampa's Bonefish Grill, Brad, stopped by to check in with us and explain the new concept behind its menus. What once was a single menu that changed every so often throughout the year to add and remove menu items is now a static list of favorite items offered year-round. On a separate menu, seasonal items are listed.
We, of course, had to order Bang Bang Shrimp, Bonefish Grill's well-known appetizer featuring breaded shrimp tossed in a special spicy Bang Bang sauce, served over a bed of chopped lettuce and garnished with a sprinkle of scallions. We also ordered the Ahi Tuna Sashimi and half a dozen Fresh Oysters, raw on the half shell.
For our entrees, I ordered the Misoyaki Chilean Sea Bass - that decision didn't take any convincing the moment I saw it on the seasonal specials menu. You really cannot go to a restaurant that specializes in fresh fish entrees and not order the Chilean Sea Bass dish on the menu. pH ordered the Lobster-Stuffed Shrimp and my little sister ordered the Crab-Crusted Pompano.
The Bang Bang Shrimp was just as savory as I remember, and was devoured quickly. The Ahi Tuna Sashimi was seasoned well, and paired great with the Sriracha, soy sauce and greens that it was served with. I'd recommend asking for extra Sriracha on the side if you like a good kick to your palate. And although this is usually a great time of year for oysters, I wasn't impressed with our batch - they lacked the usual fresh, sweet taste and were bland and watery.
The seasonal entrees were the highlight of our visit. Although the dish itself wasn't visually appealing, the Crab-Crusted Pompano was breaded and seasoned just right, and was amazing with the Garlic Whipped Potatoes and French Green Beans that my sister ordered as her sides. pH's Lobster-Stuffed Shrimp is a fantastic choice for the seafood lover. Served over a bed of creamed spinach, the entree was rich in flavor and delicious.
My Misoyaki Chilean Sea Bass was topped with a misoyaki marinade and served atop jasmine rice and sauteed spinach and mushrooms. It was perfectly prepared, and like Chilean Sea Bass should, melted in my mouth with a buttery texture.
After finishing our entrees, we couldn't resist ordering the dessert featured on the seasonal menu - Chocolate Creme Brulee. This dish featured a rich chocolate custard with the top lightly torched, topped with a slight taste of Grand Marnier and house-made whipped cream. It was decadent and delicious, and paired great with the cappuccinos we ordered, which were made just how I like my cappuccinos - nice and steaming hot.
The newly-remodeled interior provides a great dining experience, I was truly impressed with the sleek and minimal interior. The warm lighting offered a touch of romantic ambiance, but wasn't too dark that I couldn't take photos.
Overall, I was pleased with my experience at Bonefish Grill - the plating and presentation could use a little work, but aside from that and the lackluster oysters, everything else was great. We all agreed that the must-order dish of the evening was the Misoyaki Chilean Sea Bass - it was so flavorful and delicious, and the texture was perfect. I'd recommend dining at Bonefish Grill for a semi-casual date night or evening out with friends.
Bonefish Grill South Tampa is located at 3665 Henderson Boulevard in Tampa. The restaurant is open for dinner Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. and Friday from 4 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. You can view both the regular and seasonal menus here.
*Disclosure: I was provided a gift card to use toward this meal in exchange for feature and for an honest review. Anything over the gift card amount was paid for by me. Opinions expressed here are my own and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Bloomin' Brands or Bonefish Grill.