Thursday, September 4, 2014

Cru Cellars – Tampa, FL

I drive past Cru Cellars all the time (it’s about a block north of Datz), but until I read that it was in the top 10 best restaurants in South Tampa on the blog Tasting Tampa, I didn’t realize it was more than just a wine shop. 
We bought a $40 deal for only $20 on Creative Loafing a little while ago (if you’re ever looking for great deals on restaurants, CL Deals are the best!)

Yesterday we had already spent most of the day eating – starting off at the Madeira Beach Mid-Week Market, then having lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings.  After all that, we took a long walk around the boardwalks at Weedon Island Preserve (actually where Lance and I had our first official date…) 

That evening it started pouring rain and lightning like crazy – probably not the best time to head out for a date night.  But we were looking forward to trying Cru Cellars out! 

From the outside, all you see is the wine shop (which looked pretty quiet).  But once we walked inside, we saw that around the corner was a bar with several bar-top tables for dining.  It was decorated very simply, with a few industrial lamps and one accent wall with a sepia-tone photo of wine barrels.  Their specials were outlined on a chalkboard-painted door mounted to the wall. 
The menu had an impressive selection of unique wines, as well as bottled beers.  I tried out the “European Road Trip” flight – a sampling of 1 white and 2 red wines.  The Zudugarai Txakolina was a sweet, tart white wine.  Next was the Chateau Saint Roch Cotes du Rhone red blend which was dry but fruity.  Then finally, I had the Sebille Chinon, which was a completely different red wine that tasted a bit like olives. 
Next, we ordered the Fig Jam & Prosciutto Flatbread, which was topped with bleu cheese and arugula.  OMG I think it may have been the best flatbread that I’ve ever had.  It was the perfect mix of sweet and salty.  The bleu cheese on this one tasted more like brie. 
After that, we tried the “Farmer’s Platter” sampling.  We could choose from a list of cow, sheep, goat, and bleu cheeses, along with cured meats and small bites. 
We chose the deviled eggs (topped with caviar and pickled red onion), duck rillette (a house-made truffled duck pâté), Sottocenere with Truffles (a semi-soft Italian cow cheese with black truffle shavings), Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog (a California goat cheese made with buttermilk and fresh cream), and the Manchego (a Spanish sheep cheese).  The platter was served with a sweet jam, caramelized nuts, and a warm baguette. 
Wow – I’m so glad we tried the Farmer’s Platter.  Everything on it was incredible.  Those were by far the fanciest deviled eggs we’ve ever had.  The duck pâté was a great topping for the crispy bread.  My favorite of the cheeses by far was the Cypress Grove goat cheese.  It was so creamy and paired nicely with the nuts and jam.  The Manchego and Sottocenere were both good, but there actually wasn’t as much truffle flavor as we expected in the cow cheese.

We finished the meal with the Banana Foster Cheesecake – described as vanilla cheesecake, brûléed banana, salted caramel, and meringue. While it was tasty, I probably wouldn’t get it again.  The cheesecake was pretty small, surrounded by unimpressive Vanilla Wafer cookies – considering a Cheesecake Factory slice costs about $6-7 for a huge piece, this one was definitely not worth $9.  It’s my fault though since Lance really wanted to order the Strawberry Shortcake Funnel Cake instead.
We ended by browsing their wine shop afterwards.  It has hundreds of varieties of wines – most of which I had never heard of before.  They had an entire table dedicated to wines under $13 (which would be a nice place to pick up a unique bottle for a party).  
Overall it was an amazing meal – the perfect spot for a date night!   

Cru Cellars is located at 2506 S MacDill Ave, Tampa, FL 33629 and is open 12pm – 10pm Tuesday – Thursday, 12pm – 11pm Friday and Saturday, and closed Sunday – Monday. 

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