There is nothing more exciting than seeing the new fall fashion collections or when one of my favorite dining destinations rolls out a new menu. I recently had the opportunity to taste my way around the new menu at FlameStone Grill and was joined by some of my favorite gals for a night of great food and of course, laughter. As a ridiculously busy mother of two, I cherish these evenings when I can relax and enjoy myself with fellow food lovers. I was in great company with Megan (I Run For Wine), Jennifer (The Foodie Patootie), Leslie (Dash of Les), Katie (Ruffles and Truffles) and Lauren (Tampa Uncorked).
I was of course, running late, as I got stuck at work after a stressful day and had to battle the horrendous traffic on the Veterans as I made my way up to Oldsmar. The girls graciously waited for me and the server promptly offered me a beverage and I requested a much-needed glass of Pinot Noir. As I caught my breath and got settled, we were presented with the first of many scrumptious dishes…..stone-ground, cornmeal dusted calamari with a lemon cracked pepper aioli. I loved the presentation, especially the grilled lemon and jar of aioli. This dish exceeded my expectations as the cornmeal was a nice touch and the aioli was outstanding. I could not stop eating the golden rings of deliciousness.
If you read my blog, than you know how obsessed I am with anything Buffalo. From chicken wings to mac and cheese, Buffalo sauce is one of my favorites and I was excited to try our next item, Buffalo Chicken Sliders served on a pretzel bun. Served on a butcher block with a side of fries, these put a huge smile on my face. The juicy, white breasts of chicken were fried to perfection coated with just the right amount a tangy Buffalo sauce. Topped with lettuce and tomato and nestled inside an insanely delicious pretzel bun, these are ideal for sharing or if you are like me, can be enjoyed as a meal. I would love to nibble on these while watching football.
Oh FlameStone, you sure know how to please a girl. I was already deliriously happy with the Buffalo sliders and then they brought the next dish which about made me faint with excitement…….Shrimp N’ Grits. Now, these are not your standard, run of the mill shrimp n’ grits, these are BUFFALO crispy shrimp served atop stone-ground white cheddar grits. Oh lord, I was getting in deep and loving every minute of it. Two words, white cheddar. Not since the film My Cousin Vinny has a dish of grits garnered so much attention. I promise you, these will rock your world. If you are looking to get your grit on, head over to FlameStone and try these life changing grits. You can thank me later. 😉
Salads are a staple in my diet and we were treated to two gorgeous dishes of luscious, sexy greens. First up was their Kale Salad which combines my favorite super food kale with peanuts, carrots and chopped mint which is tossed in a fresh cilantro vinaigrette. I was so excited that I could not hold my camera still enough to take a decent photo, but I can say that it was fantastic. The mint added an interesting twist and the vinaigrette glazed each piece of kale enough so that it was not overpowering. A symphony of flavors, this salad is a wonderful addition to the menu.
If I was stranded on a desert island and could only have three items, one of them would be goat cheese. You will never find my refrigerator devoid of this creamy cheese of the gods and I eat it with everything. As you can imagine, I was elated with joy when we were presented with their Beet & Goat Cheese Salad. Gorgeous arugula with heirloom beets, fried goat cheese and a honey-citrus vinaigrette, this salad was one of my favorites of the evening. Goat cheese on its own is divine, but when its fried, it makes me lose my mind.
Next came our two main courses and the first was their N.Y Strip Steak which is 14oz of richly marbled perfection topped with a herbed compound butter. I enjoyed mine medium rare and each bite melted in my mouth.
Our next dish was my favorite of the night. Almost to beautiful to eat, their Chilean Sea Bass is yuzu marinated and served atop bamboo rice with miso broth. Chilean sea bass is my absolute favorite fish and FlameStone does an amazing job with this dish. I almost felt as if I was eating my last meal, as everything exceeded my expectations. Chef Paul Syms is a culinary mastermind and everything he touches turns to gold.
No matter how full I am, I will never turn down a sweet ending to a meal. FlameStone really sets the bar with their dessert creations and have an amazing way of reinventing classics that will knock your socks off. When I saw the presentation of their Sticky Toffee Pudding, my dropped so hard that you could hear it hit the floor. Paired with Nutella ice cream and salted caramel, it is better than _____. (You can fill in the blank ;P) Too good to share, I must say the girls are lucky they did not suffer from any fork wounds.
I did not think that anything could top their sticky toffee pudding and I was beyond stuffed, but when in Rome, I always do as the
Romans bloggers do and had to suffer through two more desserts. Tough life, I know. Served in an adorable skillet, their Peach Cobbler with white chocolate macadamia nuts and vanilla bean ice cream is the ultimate comfort dessert. Each blissful bite will leave you wanting more. I could not stop myself and paid for it the next day at the gym.
Just when I thought I could scoop myself up from the booth and head home to curl up in bed, we had yet another sweet surprise….DONUTS! They give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world, well give me a donut and I can conquer anything. Served with an array of dipping sauces, these sweet little pillows of deliciousness are sensational. I took two home for my two bambinos and needless to say, they want to go to FlameStone.
My entire experience was beyond delicious and I have already set a date for my next visit. Ideal for a romantic dinner for two, a girls night out or a family dinner, FlameStone is a delicious experience.[?]