Refinery

After the theme park food, we were very ready for some quality food.  We headed to Tampa to a place that we love…The Refinery. We were excited to get another taste of chef Greg Baker’s inventive menu.  This place does everything right as far as we’re concerned.  They change their menu every Thursday in order to take advantage of whatever local, seasonal products they can get.  They serve high quality, unique food in a laid back atmosphere at a totally reasonable price.

He said…I started off with this Tangerine Wheat beer.  It was light, refreshing and different. The tangerine flavor was subtle, but gave the beer a unique flavor.  I enjoyed it so much, I had another.

She said…I enjoyed a glass of  Chilean sauvignon blanc (didn’t get a picture).  Ok so it was a bottle, but he had a little and they corked the leftovers up and put it in a bag for us to take home without us even asking.  I didn’t even know restaurants would do that.  I certainly wouldn’t dream of asking such a thing, especially in a fine dining restaurant, but that is just an example of the cool, laid back vibe of this place.

Stuffed Zucchini with house-made harissa sausage, Yukon Gold, dandelion greens, sumac pear butter

He said…I had the house-made sausage the last time we visited, and I was excited to try it again.  The dish certainly did not disappoint.  Harissa is a hot red pepper paste used in North African cooking that gives the sausage a nice spicy flavor.  The Yukon Gold potato slices were crispy and delicious.  The pear butter provided a nice sweet contrast to the spicy sausage.

Smoked Eggplant Sformato with Swiss cream sauce, watercress

She said…I wanted to take advantage of some of the unique items on the menu so I started with this dish.  I had never had sformato before, and I’ll admit I didn’t even know what it was.  It is described as being similar to a souffle but not as airy.  I liked the flavor of this dish, but wasn’t crazy about the consistency.  I also didn’t like the intense bitterness of the watercress.  The sauce, however was delectable!  Even though I didn’t love this dish, I was glad I tried it.

Stuffed and Smothered Pork Chop with Oyster cornbread stuffing, stout onion gravy, sage potato mash

He said…I really liked this dish.  The pork chop was cooked perfectly, but the star of this dish was the oyster cornbread stuffing.  The oyster flavor gave the dish a unique flavor. Also, the stuffing and the onion gravy was a perfect autumn complement to the pork chop.

Honey Glazed Roasted Kohlrabi Bulb with cornmeal-green cake, cheesy rice

She said…I had never had kohlrabi before either.  I really liked it.  It is a root vegetable similar to a broccoli stem or cabbage heart.  The honey glaze on this was delicious.  I loved the cheesy rice, so smooth and rich.  The cornmeal-green cake was interesting, but a little bitter for me and my least favorite component of the dish.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with maple, ginger, lemon, goat’s cheese icing

He said…When I saw this on the menu, I knew that She would be all over this being the goat cheese fanatic that she is.  So I was surprised when she suggested we split dessert.  I suggested we order our own dessert, which proved to be a wise choice because this possibly was the best cupcake that I have ever tasted.  The goat cheese icing was so good that it made me a goat cheese convert.  I normally don’t like cupcakes because the icing tends to be too sweet, however, this icing was a perfect combination of sweetness and tartness.

She said…I agree, this cupcake was fabulous!  When something says goat cheese, I want to taste the goat cheese.  This frosting was just right…lemony, sweet and goat cheesy!

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