Culinary fusion is kind of like the nuclear variety, except that it tastes better and is less likely to produce humans with squid arms. See what happens when Latin and Caribbean flavors walk in to a snappy bar with today's deal: for $20, you get $50 worth of cuisine and drinks at Catch Twenty-Three in Westchase. The restaurant is a dinner-only affair that prides itself on creating unlikely flavor combinations and the occasional Einstein-Rosen-Podolsky bridge.
The atmosphere and décor reflect the menu's Latin and Caribbean influences. Subtly upscale while retaining a casual island motif, Catch Twenty-Three feels like a tropical resort, only with less inedible sand and more edible class. If you really want to soak up the sun, the restaurant offers outdoor seating. Steel drums and reggae play throughout the restaurant, putting your mind in an equatorial place while giving your stomach a soundtrack for the flavors to follow.
Original recipes carefully forged by concept chef Will Greenwood pepper the menu like a connect-the-dot puzzle with no wrong answer. Dishes mainly feature meats, both those freshly plucked from the briny deep and those of the land-faring variety. Start with a six-rack of coconut shrimp ($9) or an order of lobster escargot served with garlic butter and parmesan ($12). When you're in the mood for some straight-from-the-ocean seafood, direct your trolling eyes towards the certifiable fresh fish section to reel in some goodness. All selections are lightly seasoned to retain natural tastes and cooked on a pecan-wood grill. Options include fresh Chilean sea bass ($24), Maine lobster ($19), and black grouper ($23), among others.
If you feel a little weak in the sea legs, order up some Cuban-style back pork ribs ($17) or a tender filet mignon ($26 for 9 ounces) off the landfood menu. Accompany your fresh feast with a few libations from Catch Twenty-Three's fully stocked bar. The lounge area offers televisions and bountiful seating for those wanting to roll date night and Monday Night Football into one.
Reservations suggested, but not required.
- Catch Twenty-Three prides itself on fresh fish, so when faced with, say, a lack of Florida grouper, the restaurant has it delivered from the Yucatan. Shetland Island salmon, Costa Rican tuna, Chilean sea bass and Ecuadorian mahi mahi round out the list of international fin fish. – Diana Peterfreund, Creative Loafing
- The owners run a clean and tight ship, and the kitchen takes noticeable pride in a creative use of ingredients and sauces, elegantly fused in stylized Caribbean entrees on large plates….A favorite appetizer is the Cuba Libre, a marinated pork tenderloin in rum and cola, grilled and served with a piquant Creole mustard lime sauce and a small bowl of addicting ginger-laced sweet potato salad. – Kurt Loft, Tampa Tribune
- This has to be one of the finest fish restaurants for quality, value, and service. The staff is attentive, while never being overbearing or intrusive into your conversation or dining. – mnorkin, Citysearch
Chef Will Greenwood’s dishes have graced many important meals, from Julia Child’s 80th birthday party to the Head of State luncheons at NATO’s 50th-anniversary celebration. In the '90s, the Clinton family even invited him to audition for the role of White House chef. Today, Greenwood’s recipes inform festive meals at Catch Twenty-Three, where diners savor Caribbean-fusion dishes in a cozy but upscale setting. Waiters ferry juicy steaks, sushi rolls, and fresh seafood to tables, and bartenders shake up cocktails like the Key Largo rum runner or pour selections a well-curated wine list.
From the Pecan-Wood Grill
Certain dishes at Catch Twenty-Three get their signature flavor from the kitchen's pecan-wood-burning grill. Below, a couple of highlights:
|Filet Mignon||Chilean Sea Bass|
|This tender cut of beef picks up a hint of sweet smokiness on the grill, which is brought out by a rich zinfandel reduction.||Chefs brush this fish with olive oil and key-lime juice before grilling it to perfection.|