There is nothing more that I love than exploring new dining establishments in Tampa Bay. When I first started this blog back in the spring of 2010, I set out to celebrate places that I love in Tampa and am blessed to be surrounded by so many delicious restaurants that make me smile. About a week and a half ago, I was invited to try a new place that opened in New Tampa by the name of Vuelo Mexican Grill. Truth be told, I rarely get to venture out that way unless I am delivering a catering for work. I was excited to spend a Sunday afternoon after church with my kids dining at Vuelo and let me just say, they did not disappoint.
One of the first things I notice when I walk through the door of a restaurant is the host staff. It may sound cliche, but you really do not get a second chance to make a first impression. I am always reading their expressions to see if they really are happy to see me. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone somewhere and found that a host is playing on their cell phone or talking to staff without focusing on guests entering the door. What can I say, it is in my blood. I grew up in restaurants and have been working in them most of my life. My kids and I were greeted with such genuine smiles that lit up the already bright room like diamonds and we were made to feel right at home. As we were escorted to our table, the scent of delicious flavors danced around my nose and tempted me like Thanksgiving dinner.
Aside from the scent of food, I was also drawn to the gorgeous interior. Adorned with hand-painted murals and spectacular lighting, I instantly felt right at home. As soon as we were greeted by our server, I knew we were in for a wonderful meal.
One of the highlights of our visit was their fresh salsa bar that offers everything from mild to hot. I am a salsa girl and tried them all. They offer Mild Luis, Pico de Gallo, Fruit Salsa, Mojo Cubano, Roasted Maize Verde, Roasted Chiles & Garlic and Hot Tomas. My favorite were the Roasted Chiles & Garlic and the Hot Tomas.
Vuelo offers a nice variety of Antojitos & Bocaditos (appetizers and little bites) and I was torn between Ahi Nachos, Ceviche of the Day, Oven Roasted Shishito Peppers, Taquitos and more. I ultimately decided on their Cast Iron Cauliflower as well as their Oven Roasted Shishito Peppers.
Shishito peppers are another one of my favorites and Vuelo did not disappoint. Dusted with sea salt and lime and served with Chipotle Ranchero, they are ideal for sharing. Much like those famous potato chips, no one can eat just one.
When it came time to decide on the main course, I had to ask the server for guidance because if it were up to me, I would have ordered everything one the menu. She highly recommended their Street Tacos which are served with three to an order and you can choose from Pork Carnitas, Barbacoa Beef, Achiote Chicken, Beef Lengua, Spicy Chorizo, Charred Vegetables or Fish (fried or plancha, with slaw & chipotle ranch). I had Fried Fish, Barbacoa and Spicy Chorizo. Much like the appetizers, I was only able to eat one and took the others home to enjoy later for dinner. What can I say, they were great and I was very pleased with everything I tried. By this point, I was feeling nice and relaxed and dreading my long drive home. I wanted to curl up in the booth and take a nap.
Since my kids were with me, they really wanted dessert and my daughter chose their Mexican Chocolate Cake which was 5 layers of bliss. We could not stop eating it and just when I thought that our day could not be better, they presented us with another dessert. No wonder I need to go on a strict diet after the holidays!
I have never met a dessert I didn’t like and their Vuelo Pudding was sensational. Beautifully crafted with cajeta caramel, sea salt pudding, vanilla cookie crumbs and whipped cream, it was the perfect ending to a blissful meal. My kids and I were elated over our experience and anxious to return.
I would like to thank the amazing staff at Vuelo for the hospitality and memorable dining experience. I will be going back in the next few weeks with some fellow foodie friends so they can experience this fantastic new addition to the Tampa dining community. I also caught a glimpse of their brunch menu and it is now on my bucket list.