[Note: I was waiting for Hubby's contribution before I posted this but I don't think I'm going to get that at this point. So here it is!]
Day of the Week: Thursday, 9/19
Total Bill: $171.74 (before tip)
Breakdown: 3 starters, 2 mains, 4 or 5 drinks (forgot to grab the itemized receipt!)
Pros: Good food and drinks in a beautiful setting.
Verdict: We’re happy to have Grille One Sixteen in our neighborhood.
We haven’t been to Grille One Sixteen in ages. When it first opened we went there a lot. It was a breath of fresh air for Carrollwood: stunning, Vegas-esque décor, quality food, and good drinks. But then it became a real middle-age meat market populated by douchebags and the women who love them. So we quit going. Then we went back a while later and the menu had stagnated and the liquor selection was sparse. So we didn’t go for a while after that. But Hubby looked at the menu and decided he wanted to give it a shot for his early birthday dinner. I’m very glad we gave it another chance.
We got there about 8:45 and the restaurant was pretty quiet. There were a few tables scattered around and about six other people in the lounge area. We sat at one end of the bar and Dan quickly greeted us. I started with a basil champagne 75 (basil, citrus juice, and gin topped with champagne) that was very good. Hubby had their fresh watermelon martini, which was amazing because they only use fresh watermelon juice (no Pucker or anything fake like that).
For starters we ordered Nueske bacon ($8), tuna tar tar on crispy wontons ($10), ceviche ($8), and two tempura fried lobster tails ($20). The bacon was really tasty, although I prefer mine a little crispier. The tuna was very fresh, with a delicious sweet chili sauce. The ceviche was fresh but had too much onion for me. The lobster tails were a little bit of a letdown because they were pretty greasy. But they weren’t overcooked, which is an accomplishment.
For my dinner I ordered the Kona steak (“oak grilled sliced steak, lightly marinated in a ginger ale soy reduction with caramelized pineapple, sticky rice & steamed broccoli,” $30 with a house or Ceasar salad). I ordered a maple old fashioned to go with my meal.
Hubby ordered Chilean sea bass, which it turns out they didn’t have. Then he ordered the halibut, I think, which they also didn’t have. The bartenders explained that they take fresh fish seriously, so if they can’t get it fresh, they don’t serve it. Hubby ended up with grouper fresh out of the Gulf (market price, also comes with a house or Ceasar salad) with the lobster Oscar topping (normally $12), which they comped because of the confusion with the other fish. Very generous move. I think Hubby had a margarita with his dinner.
My steak was very good. The marinade was a little saltier than I prefer but the pineapple, rice, and broccoli helped to balance that out. Everything was cooked very well. The broccoli impressed me because they didn’t cook it to death. It still had some crunch. Hubby loved his fish – he completely cleaned his plate.
The bartenders asked if we were celebrating a special occasion and of course Hubby said no but I wanted to embarrass him a little so I said yes, his birthday. So when we ordered doughnuts ($8) for dessert, they comped them! Really nice gesture. And if you haven’t had the doughnuts there, what the heck are you waiting for?! You get four doughnuts with four different sauces (chocolate, white chocolate, raspberry, and caramel). The doughnuts are fresh and fluffy, and all of the sauces are excellent.
The quality of the food has definitely rebounded to a high standard and the bar is once again well-stocked and turning out tasty, fresh cocktails. We’re glad to have another upscale dining option in our neighborhood.