An old world union of shiny red tablecloths, wall murals, and rustic wooden accents forms the backdrop for La Cote Basque's chefs, who harness traditional European recipes to imbue their menu with classic French, Italian, and German flavors. Complex flavor combinations tastily define La Cote Basque’s menu. The restaurant’s palate-popular chefs enlist sherry to sauté shrimp, fresh mushrooms, and peppers before recruiting brandy to flambé the entire concoction while a sunny-side-up egg adorns schnitzel holstein, a breaded veal cutlet served with anchovies and capers. Like friendship bracelets traded by butchers, the medallions senater assorties encompasses six different meats, including beef marsala, veal piccata, and chicken parmesan. House wines, such as chianti and sangria, complement the international-dining experience.
At O'Maddy's Bar & Grille, chef Wade Parrish takes ownership for more than the menu; as the man who built O'Maddy's, Wade takes credit for the waterfront view. When construction wrapped up more than 20 years ago, Wade tossed his tools into the Boca Ciega Bay and became a full-time executive chef, cooking starters such as gator bites with Guinness breading ($7.95) and clams with cilantro pesto and toast ($8.95) for soaking up juices or dabbing away drool slicks. From the entrees, Gulf of Mexico red grouper ($15.95) arrives grilled, blackened, or fried, and a 6-ounce grilled Maddy's filet partners with fontina cheese, fresh basil, and a Marsala demi-glace ($17.95). The drink menu promises refreshment with a multitude of wines, beers, and cocktails. An aromatic and fruity glass of Oyster Bay sauvignon blanc ($6) plays well with ocean fruits, and a Gulfport Guava Breeze tropical cocktail gently whistles down gullets. Decorating the restaurant's walls, a beach mural serves as the backdrop for nightly karaoke. When the microphone comes out at 9:30 p.m., guests can belt out a classic or croon "Just the Two of Us" to the last remaining clam.
At KeysCake, apple pie à la mode, strawberry shortcake, and banana splits are all transformed into bite-sized morsels. But the bakers don't have a shrink ray—rather, they use fresh ingredients to translate the flavors of classic desserts into cupcake form. Each small batch of cupcakes is made from scratch, then topped with swirls of frosting and colorful garnishes such as fruit, cookies, or petite candies.
Brewburgers' chefs hoist the burger to the culinary kingdom's upper echelons by adding a splash of Guinness beer to their six-ounce ground-beef patties and a shot of bourbon to their tangy barbecue sauce. In addition to beef, grill commanders fashion patties from ground turkey, veggies, or steak, and accent the discuses with upscale add-ons such as crumbled blue cheese, roasted red peppers, or deep-fried monocles. The alcohol-tinged menu complements the drink selection of 16 draught beers and 15 wines.
The seasoned chefs of Ai-Mei Thai Sakura transport taste buds to the Far East with a well-stocked menu of classic Thai dishes pleasantly mingling with creative sushi rolls and fresh Japanese favorites, earning them several “Best of Tampa Bay” titles from Tampa Bay Magazine. Taste buds can wade into one of seven curries ($10.95+) in a rainbow of colors or dive into five traditional noodle dishes, such as peanut-laden pad thai ($10.95+) and savory pad se ew, staying afloat atop a choice of proteins ranging from juicy beef and pork to sea-fresh scallops and shrimp ($8.95+). Sushi selections include the Dream roll stuffed with spicy mayo and crawfish under a tempura-eel cap ($12.95), and the Tornado, a deep-fried cyclone of tuna, crabmeat, and cream cheese ($11.95). Adventurous eaters can gnaw on the garlicky deep-fried frog legs ($15.95) or the restaurant’s table legs that the chef suggests consuming without soy sauce.