When the Epicurean Hotel, Autograph Collection and Elevage Restaurant are in your own back yard, you don’t have to go far to be spoiled. This week I had the good fortune to join Tampa Bay Bloggers for a lovely lunch menu at Elevage, part of the Bern’s Steak House family. The Epicurean Hotel is just across the street from the Tampa landmark. In addition to Elevage and a fabulous rooftop pool and bar (which seems to have some killer parties there, I’ve heard), it is also home to the Epicurean Theatre and kitchen, where they offer many special programs and tastings.
Elevage the restaurant continues to update its menu. I had visited for breakfast three years ago and had delightful salmon, capers and quail egg for a business meeting, visited again last year for a special event hosted by Cabot Cheese, and I was eager to return to see what was new.
Now they are offering $.50 cent martinis with any entree. Our three-martini lunch included cosmopolitans, apple and dirty martinis. I tried the cosmo (loved) and apple (loved more) and left the dirty to the pros. Our meal started with a cheese and meat charcuterie, which would have been delightful enough in itself. We also were served shrimp and grits, barbecue shrimp, spicy calamari, onion rings and fries, The Homage to Bern’s steak sandwich and the juicy Lucy sandwich. In Bern’s fashion, the service is top notch and the servers attended brilliantly to our every need.
Because I’m allergic to shellfish, I was not able to sample the barbecue shrimp or shrimp and grits. But as soon as the manager heard this, he immediately went to the kitchen to have them bring me a special bowl of grits. I barely noticed the shrimp was missing due to the savory flavors of the bacon, gravy and herbs.