The fact that I just made my first visit to the Lodge in South Tampa is a complete sin. I do not know how I have survived this long in Tampa without dining at this eclectic and delicious establishment. This past Saturday, I had a small taste and I want more!
Located in the heart of SoHo at 516 S. Howard Ave., the Lodge is a fun place with seriously delicious food. With an innovative selection of menus serving everything from brunch and incredible sandwiches to brick-oven pizzas and sushi, the Lodge is like the equivalent of a “foodie fun house” leaving you deliriously happy after your dining experience.
My friend Rebecca and I headed over to the Lodge on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. As much as I wanted to order off their incredible brunch menu, especially the NYC Pretzel French Toast, we opted for a few appetizers so we could sample some different flavors. We started off with their Crispy Calamari and with choices of Regular, Buffalo or Hot-N-Sweet, we went with Buffalo. Lightly fried and tender, their calamari was divine. Growing up in California, I have had more than my fair share of calamari and theirs reminded me so much of my favorite calamari dish back home, Calamaretti Fritti at Il Fornaio in Palo Alto. I loved the Buffalo flavor, which was not to overpowering and seasoned just right.
I could not resist sampling some of their Fried Chicken Wings since most of you know I feature chicken wings each Wednesday. With sauce choices of Buffalo, BBQ or Hot-N-Sweet Asian, we chose Hot-N-Sweet Asian.
Sweet and spicy, the wings were succulent and packed with flavor. I really liked the sauce and would order these again in a New York minute. They have done an excellent job with the fusion of hot and sweet and their wings rival many popular wings spots in Tampa Bay.
While deciding what to order next, I was drawn to their selection of “Almost Famous Sliders.” With choices of the Sirloin Burger, Crispy Buffalo Chicken and Citrus Lime Chicken, I decided on the Citrus Lime Chicken. Topped with guacamole, tomato and jalapeño aioli, this slider puts others to shame. I was impressed by the size and the incredible blend of flavors. Not only was the guacamole fresh and creamy, it was loaded with chunks of avocado. I easily could have eaten another one, but I had to save room for the other dishes I would be tasting. On my next visit, I think I will try all three sliders.
Rebecca ordered Carlos’ Famous Grilled Chicken Cobb Sandwich and when it was placed in front of her….I was jealous. Grilled chicken, cheddar cheese, tomato, bacon and avocado served on grilled wheat bread and dressed with the perfect amount of mayo, this sandwich is a masterpiece. Thankfully she let me taste it and holy cannoli was it good! I love Cobb Salads and this sandwich is a tasty tribute to the classic salad from Los Angeles. Served with sweet potato waffle fries, this is one of those sandwiches that you must try in Tampa Bay.
Was I getting full? Yes, but that was not going to stop me from trying some of their famous sushi. Recommended by our server, we tried the Crazy which consists of tempura shrimp, salmon and cream cheese and then is topped with spicy tuna, Sriracha aioli and Kabayaki sauce. I only had room for one piece, but that piece left such a tasty first impression that I will be back to try more of their sushi. The Sriracha aioli was magnificent and really enhanced the flavors of the shrimp and salmon.
As we finished our lunch, our server suggested we try a few sweet endings to cap off our afternoon. When it comes to sweets, you do not need to twist my arm. The first dessert we tried was their Warm Apple Cobbler Blossom served over vanilla ice cream. Nothing spells fall like apple cobbler and this dish will warm your heart. After one bite I was reminded of the apple cobbler my mom used to make when I was growing up and it brought back sweet memories.
Our final dessert was Lil Fudge Brownies served over vanilla ice cream. I don’t know what their secret is, but they have taken a simple dessert and made it into a decadent masterpiece. The warm brownies slowly melt the sweet vanilla ice cream and the two flavors blended together are intoxicating. This is the ultimate comfort dessert and I could not think of a better way to end my fabulous lunch.
The Lodge is truly a gem in South Tampa and I want to thank them for hosting me this past weekend. With weekly specials and tons of events, the Lodge is the ultimate destination for your next social gathering. To learn about daily specials, be sure to follow then on Facebook by clicking here. I am anxiously awaiting my next visit and look forward to further exploring their food and cocktail menus.