Fly Bar & Restaurant (Tampa)

Fly Bar & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Day of the Week: Saturday, 7/26
Total Bill: $156.64 (before tip)
Breakdown: 8 small plates, 2 desserts, 5 cocktails
Pros: Chill vibe, friendly service, unique food.
Cons: Uncomfortable bar stools, parking.
Verdict: Definitely going back.

She says:
I was bugging Hubby to take me out this particular night but I was being very indecisive about where I wanted to go. I didn’t want to go anywhere too fancy or too loud or too crowded. I was driving him crazy so finally he fooled around on the iPad for a while and told me to get dressed but didn’t tell me where we were going.

I was excited when we got to Fly Bar because I’ve wanted to go there for a few years. We just don’t go downtown very often. We got there early (probably 5:15), so it was still very quiet. We sat at the bar.

First we ordered drinks (the bartender bought our first round for coming in to try the place – those drinks are not included in my totals above). I had the Bourbon & Branch (Buffalo Trace bourbon, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, hickory water, $10 ) and Hubby had Stumpknocker Pale Ale ($5). My cocktail was excellent – like a summery Manhattan. I’m not sure how you make a bourbon drink refreshing (maybe hickory water is the key???) but it was.

Our first round was four dishes:
• Spicy tuna tartare (“hot sesame oil, guacamole, wonton chips,” $15) – Very good, fresh tuna.
• Buttermilk shrimp pancake (“poblano butter, corn salsa, rosemary agave syrup,” $12) – One of our favorites of the night. This was three savory pancakes with chopped shrimp in them topped with the corn salsa. Hubby was skeptical but I insisted and once he tried them he told me I did an excellent job picking them.
• Snapper escovitch (“Jamaican pepper sauce, coconut jasmine rice,” $13) – The bartender told me this dish is deceptively simple in appearance and he was right. You get some lightly floured and pan fried snapper pieces on top of a bed of rice garnished with pickled vegetables and the pepper sauce. But it’s delicious! The breading soaks up a lot of the sauce, so every bite of fish is very flavorful. The pickled veggies and pepper sauce really contrast to the richness of the breading and the rice, too. This was my favorite dish.
• Salmon crudo ($12) – This dish was a little confusing when we got it. There are three layers of salmon, each one supported by a wonton chip. One layer was chopped salmon with pineapple and a sauce, one was with cashews and a sauce, and I forget exactly what was in the third layer (although, according to the menu on the restaurant’s site, it included red Thai curry aioli). We deconstructed the tower and tried each layer individually. It was good but I don’t think we’d get it again. Each of us had one layer we really didn’t care for (fortunately, they were different layers).

We ordered more cocktails. Hubby had the Poolside in Mexico (“Tequila Ocho Repo, lime cordial, salted celery apple purée,” $11), which was very good. I spied some hopped grapefruit bitters on the bar and asked the bartender what they put that in because it sounded delicious. He said they like to use it in gin martinis, so I told him to make one for me ($10.50). It was fabulous. I absolutely want another one RIGHT NOW.

After our first round of food, we ordered more (which we really did not need):
• Truffled mac & cheese ($8) – Generous portion size. They use a pasta called canneroni that does a great job soaking up the sauce.
• Panko crusted goat cheese ($8) – Three little fried balls of panko crusted goat cheese with a “charred cherry pomodoro.” This was a little bland. Neither of us liked the sauce. We would skip this next time.
• Japanese eggplant caprese (“roasted red pepper jam, polenta & goat cheese ‘grilled cheese’” $10) – I was a good sport and tried this even though I don’t really like eggplant. It was quite good! The eggplant was grilled, which kept it from getting that mushy texture that can happen with eggplant. The best part was definitely the polenta and goat cheese grilled cheese (I mean, hello!).
• Mushroom gnocchi ($10) – I regret how full we were by the time this came because I think I would’ve enjoyed it more if I wasn’t stuffed to the gills. By the time I tried it, it was merely “pretty good” but I have a feeling that in reality it was “delicious” (see: law of diminishing marginal utility).

Hubby also tried the Brazilian Sidecar (“Novo Togo aged Cachaça, Pierre Ferrand dry curaçao, yuzu candy,” $10). Although on this particular night the candy was peach. The bar prefers one specific brand of candy (and it is really good candy) but they can’t always get the yuzu flavor, so they just pick something else that sounds yummy and complementary. Which the peach was.

For dessert we each ordered the guava coffee cake (“habanero caramel, vanilla bean ice cream,” all desserts are $7). Each coffee cake was a very good size (about as big around as a grapefruit) and the habanero caramel was amazing. Sweet with the perfect amount of spice. I also had an Irish coffee ($6) that was excellent. They didn’t skimp on the whiskey and put in the perfect amount of Bailey’s.

Bottom line, we had a great time and look forward to going back.

He says:
This place is cool, a new place for us that has been there for a while. Inside is very nice, modern art and wood. Sat at the bar and the service was good. Only issue I had was that it was empty and we had three different bartenders in the 90 minutes we were there. I like some consistency.

The food was very good. My favorite dish was the shrimp pancakes. The mac ‘n cheese and the ahi were also highlights.

The biggest problem with this place is the parking issue. It’s a pain in the ass to know where you will and will not get towed from.

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About twofoodiesinlove

About the couple: We are thirtysomethings. We’ve known each other since 2001 when we were in college together and we got married in 2009. About the wife: She’s been an accountant since 2004 and loves numbers maybe a little too much. She eats and cooks and bakes and drinks and constantly has to watch her weight because of it. About the husband: He’s a government employee… for 9 years… he likes nice people who don’t talk too much and FOOD!!! He’s a fatty who loves beer, wine and clear spirits. He likes to cook, usually stuff that is too hard for him but usually turns out well. he tries to watch his weight as it goes by at the speed of light but can’t seem to see it… oh and he loves the Wifey. she rocks.
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2 Responses to Fly Bar & Restaurant (Tampa)

  1. Sweet Polly says:

    I was there about six years ago and both the food and service pizzed me off. I may have to give it another whirl. Good post!

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