Global Top 50
He will get beat on inside counters, but he uses his length to reach out and get just enough contact to provide the quarterback room to operate. He's more than willing as a run blocker and, while he lacks power, he does a nice job of shielding defenders. Utah Jazz — Louis Hawks — New York Knicks — Building the perfect quarterback. He's an outstanding blitzer, displaying timing and burst. He operated in the shotgun in the Trojans' offense.
From off coverage, he has a choppy pedal, but he boasts an excellent burst out of his plant and drive. His route recognition, throw anticipation and ball awareness are elite. He collected several pass breakups in every game I studied. He's very willing in run support and provides some big hits. Overall, Alexander lacks ideal fluidity, but I love his instincts, swagger and ball skills. Payne is a powerful, run-stuffing defensive tackle with pass-rush upside.
Against the run, he launches out of his stance and quickly shoots his hands to generate knock-back against single blocks. He holds up well vs. As a pass rusher, he has a quick get-off, but he needs to develop a plan. Most of his pressure is the result of his swim move. He needs to work on counter moves. Overall, Payne is built to dominate on run downs right now. He has the athletic ability and power to emerge as a much better pass rusher in the near future. James Daniels, C, Iowa. Daniels is a very athletic and technically proficient center.
In the run game, he's extremely quick and effective on reach blocks and second-level blocks. I'm amazed by his ability to stay attached with his hands while he re-works his foot positioning. In pass pro, he plays with outstanding knee bend and balance. He shoots his hands quickly and can anchor against power as well as redirect vs.
Daniels is one of the best center prospects I've evaluated in the last five years. Taven Bryan, DT, Florida. Bryan is a very athletic, twitched-up defensive tackle. As a pass rusher, he has an excellent get-off. When he has proper hand placement, he can push the pocket with outstanding power. He does needs to add more hand moves to his arsenal, but he has the raw tools to develop into an outstanding interior pass rusher at the next level.
Bryan is very inconsistent against the run. He plays too high, struggles to resist pressure on angle blocks and loses sight of the ball.
He's at his best when slanting and shooting gaps. Overall, Bryan isn't a finished product, but he has Pro Bowl-caliber traits and could emerge as a premier interior pass rusher. Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama. Evans is a versatile, playmaking linebacker. He moved all over the field in the Alabama defense. He aligned off the ball in the middle of the defense, stood up outside and even occasionally put his hand in the ground as a defensive end in pass-rush situations.
He runs right through blockers and if he doesn't make the tackle, he creates a pileup to slow down the ball carrier. He has outstanding speed to range sideline to sideline.
He will miss an occasional tackle in space because he rarely breaks down, instead looking for the big hit. In coverage, he can easily mirror tight ends and backs. He will even match up in the slot at times.
He isn't a polished pass rusher, but he can win with pure speed and effort. Overall, Evans is a tone-setter on defense and his versatility is a huge asset. Sony Michel, RB, Georgia. Michel is one of my favorite players in this entire draft class.
He has a perfect build for the position and runs with a nice blend of power, quickness and elusiveness. He drops his shoulder on contact and generates space when none is available.
He has enough juice to get to the perimeter, and while he lacks home-run speed, he's rarely caught from behind. In the passing game, he runs crisp routes and catches the ball smoothly. He's been very stout in pass protection. Overall, Michel reminds me a lot of Kareem Hunt and I think he's capable of making a similar impact at the next level. Kirk is a compact, muscled-up WR. He's built like a running back and plays in the slot as well as outside. He's an exceptional route runner. He has strong hands and tracks the ball smoothly.
He does a lot of work in the middle of the field and doesn't let the heavy traffic affect his concentration. I love his strength, elusiveness and will after the catch.
Kirk reminds me a lot of Golden Tate coming out of Notre Dame, and I believe he can have similar success. Billy Price, C, Ohio State. Price was a four-year starter for the Buckeyes. He played both guard and center during his career. He was a very dominant run blocker while lining up at center in He has quick feet and a very powerful base. He latches on and flashes the upper torque to rag-doll opposing defenders.
He isn't a great knee-bender, but once he gets his hands on you, he stays attached. He does struggle with balance at the second level. He gets overly aggressive and ends up on the ground too often. In pass protection, he can anchor easily against power rushers and he's very aware vs.
Overall, I love his strength, toughness and position flexibility. He's not an elite athlete, but he's a Day 1 starter at either guard or center. Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma.
Brown is an enormous left tackle. In pass protection, he lacks ideal foot quickness and knee bend. However, he's effective because of his size, strength and length. He plays upright, but has quick hands to keep defenders away from his chest. He runs speed rushers around the quarterback and anchors against power rushers very easily. He will get beat on inside counters, but he uses his length to reach out and get just enough contact to provide the quarterback room to operate.
He's a mauler in the run game. He completely washes defenders down the line of scrimmage on down blocks. He's surprisingly effective on second-level blocks because he takes proper angles. I see Brown as an ideal starting right tackle.
He isn't a pretty athlete, but he gets the job done. Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford. Phillips is a powerful defensive tackle with excellent production and a non-stop motor. He dominates against the run. He jolts blockers with a quick, explosive punch before locating the football and collecting tackles. He understands blocking schemes, routinely defeating double-teams with his quickness and awareness.
His lateral range is exceptional and he never seems to tire out despite rarely coming off the field. He needs to improve as a finisher. He has some ankle tightness and struggles to flatten out once he gets upfield.
Phillips offers immediate value on run downs and I believe he's going to improve as a pass rusher at the next level. Key is a tall, rangy edge rusher for the Tigers. He splits his time between a two- and three-point stance. This is a frustrating player to study. He has a rare blend of size, agility and explosiveness, but takes too many plays off and allows inferior opponents to neutralize him.
As a pass rusher, he flashes an explosive get-off. He has the ability to wrap around the offensive tackle and flatten to the quarterback. He'll also show off a nifty step-back move where he swipes away the hands of the tackle before clearing him and closing on the QB.
However, there are other times where he gets stuck vs. His effort is spotty. Against the run, he fails to consistently set the edge and his back-side pursuit is lethargic. Key has Pro Bowl talent, but his up-and-down play is concerning. Hurst is a former pro baseball player who walked on as a tight end for the Gamecocks. He has excellent size, speed and ball skills. He was primarily used as a move tight end. As a route runner, he is very smooth and quickly builds speed.
At South Carolina, he wasn't asked to run a lot of traditional option routes and work back to the quarterback. However, he excels on vertical routes and crossers. He tracks the ball smoothly and has a big catch radius. He received the ball quite a bit on tight end reverses and proved plenty capable of making defenders miss or out-running them to the corner.
He's more than willing as a run blocker and, while he lacks power, he does a nice job of shielding defenders. Hurst should be a Day 1 starter and has tremendous upside.
McGlinchey started at right tackle and left tackle during his collegiate career. He has outstanding size for the position. In the passing game, he has average quickness out of his stance but uses his length to keep his chest clean and anchor vs. He does get too narrow at times, which causes him to struggle vs.
I think he'll benefit from a move back to the right side. In the run game, he does a good job of getting underneath opponents and generating movement at the point of attack. He's very aware vs. McGlinchey had some games where he struggled see: Miami , but he has all of the desired traits to emerge as a quality starting right tackle at the next level.
Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado. Oliver has excellent size, length and speed for the position. He's at his best in press coverage. He shoots his hands and re-routes wide receivers before staying on their hip down the field. He has plenty of speed to carry vertical routes. From off coverage, he has some stiffness when he has to open up and change directions. He has good ball awareness down the field see: I love his aggressiveness and physicality in the running game.
He fights through blocks and he's a reliable tackler in space. Oliver has the ideal skill set to thrive as a press cornerback at the next level. He needs to improve his flexibility and transition movement in off coverage. Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia. Wynn was an undersized left tackle for the Bulldogs; he projects as a starting guard at the next level.
In the run game, he is sudden out of his stance and can roll his hips on contact, generating movement at the point of attack. His hand strength is outstanding. He's very effective as a puller because of his ability to redirect and cover up linebackers in space. In pass protection, he keeps his hands tight and he's a natural knee-bender. He will lunge and whiff on rare occasions, but he's usually patient and stays on balance. He is very aware of blitzers see: Minkah Fitzpatrick in the national title game.
Wynn has some previous experience at guard and I believe he has Pro Bowl ability at that position. Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama. Harrison is a hulking safety prospect with a nice blend of versatility, toughness and instincts. He moved around in the Alabama defense, aligning as the high safety at times while dropping down in the box, as well.
In zone coverage, he's quick to read his keys and flow to the ball. He has excellent range when he's working in the deep half. When he's in the box, he flies to the alley to collect tackles on quick throws to the perimeter. He isn't as effective in man coverage. He has some lower-body stiffness and his change of direction is average. He's excellent against the run. He attacks the line of scrimmage and breaks down before securing the tackle.
He has a very high batting average as a tackler. Harrison is a very well-rounded safety and he's ready to play right away. Landry is an undersized edge rusher. At BC, he was deployed as a hand-in-the-ground defensive end and a stand-up outside linebacker. Against the pass, he lacks an elite get-off, but he has a variety of hand moves and bends really well coming off the corner. He also has the ability to widen and convert speed to power against opposing tackles.
He was an outstanding finisher in , but fell off of a few sacks in He's inconsistent against the run. He flashes the quickness to cross the face of blockers and collect tackles, but once engaged, he struggles to get off blocks.
He needs to get stronger. I see Landry as a fit for teams that employ a defense and are looking for a pass-rush upgrade. He has some similarities to Dee Ford coming out of Auburn. Vander Esch is a long, instinctive and fast inside linebacker. He does a good job sorting through the trash to find the ball. He's a highly productive tackler, but also produces a couple fly-by missed tackles in every game. Vander Esch was one of the most productive players in the country this past season and should be an immediate starter at the next level.
Hubbard has ideal size and he was very productive for the Buckeyes. As a pass rusher, he has an average get-off, but he has an array of hand moves and power. He has experimented with a spin move, but that is still a work in progress. He's very effective when he's used as a looper and allowed to rush against offensive guards.
His effort is outstanding and he's a good finisher despite some ankle stiffness. He's very strong at the point of attack in the run game. He also uses his quickness and effort to make plays from the back side. I see Hubbard as an ideal left defensive end. If he adds some weight, he would also fit as a DE for teams that employ three-man fronts. Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon. Crosby lined up at left tackle for the Ducks. He has a nice blend of size, power and instincts. In the passing game, he lacks upper-tier quickness, but he does a nice job of staying square, shooting his hands and steering opponents.
He will have some trouble with elite speed rushers, but I believe he'll benefit from a move to the right side. I love what he brings in the run game. He consistently generates movement on down blocks and he's a nasty finisher. He also takes good angles when working up to the second level before latching and controlling linebackers.
I wish he were a little more athletic, but he has all of the skills to be a solid starting right tackle. Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville. Jackson has been the most dynamic playmaker in college football for the last two seasons, operating out of the shotgun in the Cardinals ' offense.
He has a lean, narrow frame. He has quick feet in his setup and he bounces on his toes once he gets to the top of his drop. He throws with a very narrow base.
He generates tremendous velocity despite flipping the ball and failing to generate any power or torque from his lower half. His accuracy suffers when he has to drive the ball outside the numbers.
He is too stiff on his front leg and the ball sails on him. His pocket presence has improved over the last year and he excels avoiding unblocked rushers. He's the most electric runner at the position to enter the NFL in the last decade. On designed QB runs, he's very elusive and slithery.
Overall, Jackson needs time to work out some mechanical issues, but his playmaking ability is special. O'Neill is a very intriguing left tackle prospect. The former tight end has good size and outstanding quickness. In the passing game, he's very quick out of his stance. He displays the ability to kick out wide and cover up speed rushers.
When he shoots his hands on time, he can steer and control defenders. If defenders get into his chest, he struggles to sink his weight and settle vs. In the run game, he is at his best on pulls and combo blocks. His quickness is his best asset. O'Neill needs to get stronger and improve his knee-bend, but he should emerge as a starting left tackle.
Sutton is a big, physical wideout. He primarily lined up outside for the Mustangs, but he did take some reps in the slot. He uses his upper-body strength to defeat press coverage, but lacks ideal suddenness in his release. As a route runner, he's a long strider who struggles to generate much separation. He makes a ton of plays with defenders draped all over him.
He has an enormous catch radius and his ability to high point the ball is special see: After the catch, he lacks burst and wiggle, but he will power through tacklers.
Dante Pettis, WR, Washington. He's a very smooth and precise route runner. He sets up defenders, creates leverage and doesn't waste any steps coming out of the break. He excels at selling double-moves. He tracks the ball very well down the field and he's very reliable when he has the defender in a trail position.
He does have some contact drops over the middle. After the catch, he gets up to top speed quickly and he's very elusive in space. He's one of the best punt returners I've ever evaluated. Pettis should emerge as a solid No. Goedert has ideal size, ball skills and toughness for the position.
At South Dakota State, he lined up in-line, flexed in the slot or split out wide. In the passing game, he builds speed as a route runner and has subtle quickness at the top of his routes.
He understands how to keep defenders on his back and has strong reliable hands. He lacks big-time burst after the catch but he runs hard and is tough to bring down. In the run game, he effectively shields defenders over his nose and can generate some movement on down blocks. Goedert isn't an electric playmaker, but he's dependable in every facet of the position.
Rankin, who lined up at left tackle for the Bulldogs, possesses ideal size and power. In pass pro, he has average quickness out of his stance, but he does a nice job of staying square and shooting his hands. He has tremendous upper-body strength and torque to latch on and control opponents.
He has some ankle stiffness when he redirects vs. In the run game, he loads up his hands and runs his feet on contact, generating solid movement at the point of attack. He lacks the ideal agility to redirect at the second level. I see Rankin as a starting right tackle at the next level with the skill set to kick inside if needed.
Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia. Chubb is a powerfully built running back. He's at his best running between the tackles. He has excellent vision. He runs with a high pad level, but he has incredible contact balance. Defenders routinely bounce off him in the hole and he always fights for extra yards.
He lacks home-run speed, but he racks up a lot of doubles. Chubb reminds me of Jonathan Stewart coming out of college, but he doesn't quite have the same burst. Kerryon Johnson, RB, Auburn. Johnson is a very productive back. He lets his blocks develop before using a very slick jump-cut and bursting through the line of scrimmage. His running style is very reminiscent of Le'Veon Bell 's. He doesn't have elite top speed, but he's plenty fast enough. He ate them all with gusto, licking pate off his wrist at one point.
They will have an anniversary party in late April. There are anchor menu items with absurd Instagram documentation: But they have recently begun adding daily featured items: A recent dish that has met with wide approval is a whole branzino stuffed with olives, fresh herbs and candied orange zest, wrapped in prosciutto and served over saffron butter-poached potatoes.
Cena is almost 6 years old and poised for a dining room remodel this year. Buttacavoli is the reigning king of risotto. For instance, his current preoccupation is one that plays on a supreme pizza, the arborio crowded with sausage, mushroom, onions and peppers and topped with fried pepperoni.
Recent changes in Hillsborough County liquor laws meant the restaurant could expand to a full liquor license in , but as with everything, Buttacavoli and team have done things their own way, offering a curated list of cocktails Italian mojito, negroni, barrel-aged boulevardier and a few others and not an encyclopedic bar.
The dining room is fairly formal but spare, so much of the focus is on the plates. Buttacavoli has done some version of mortadella-stuffed fried olives for a while. Some of his desserts are like Transformers made out of sweet things, a cookie affixed to a moussey thing from which a chocolate plank juts like wings. He likes textural contrasts: Station House, First Ave.
Station House owner Steve Gianfilippo would have you believe that this was his vision all along. And maybe it was. Ane has a no-reservations ramen room, a main dining room that takes reservations, a big central bar and a more private lounge off to one side that also takes reservations.
Petersburg has gotten really hip. Cruz and co-chef Branden Lenz have fashioned a multipage flip menu divided by category seafood, vegetables, etc. Pick something from each, most small and priced accordingly: Maybe the gochujang-dressed chopped wagyu called yukke; skewers of king oyster mushroom; silken tofu with its creme brulee-like top; and broiled salmon with miso butterscotch.
On the soup side, the niku udon with luscious braised wagyu beef shoulder is the bomb. What makes a restaurant great and not just really, really good? Can a pizzeria do this? But he is pizza royalty, and his small, charming restaurant in Safety Harbor makes a delicious pie. Order at the counter pizza, but also definitely a salad, maybe the beet and take a seat to watch Greg work.
Seymour presses sugarcane with a buddy from whom he buys his water buffalo milk; talks seed saving with local treasure Mehmet Oztan; buys whole hogs from a local farmer and uses the whole animal. Seven years ago, I worried that this little sweetheart was too off the beaten path to thrive, and that its vision — a Parisian-style Vietnamese-French cafe, not fusion but both cuisines side by side — would be perplexing for St.
Boy, is there egg on my face, which reminds me that they do a great egg sandwich on a croissant with Gruyere and jambon de Paris for their Saturday brunch. Wise beyond their years. Petersburg from my heart. Plus, there was the lobster corn dog, an absurd decadence that I could hold to my chest like a single white lily while quoting Oscar Wilde: In a couple of months he will open Teepee Taco next door complete with a fully functioning wrapped teepee out back for dining and private parties , making that two restaurants connected by a patio of picnic tables shielded from the sun by gently bowed canvas tarps, bringing the formerly negligible seating up to about And new general manager Kathy LaCrosse, formerly with Outback Steakhouse, keeps service friendly and efficient.
Bodega, the beloved purveyor of lechon and Cuban sandwiches, pollo asado and cafe con leche, in St. And, says Debbie Sayegh, she and husband George aim to open a third concept in St. Petersburg later this year, something not Latin.
Restaurateurs from New York, they took a gamble on St. They expanded into the Creative Clay space and added more seating in , but the Latin street food menu has stayed fairly stable. The Cuban and the pollo asado sandwiches are the top sellers, but the recently added frita sandwich, a Cuban-style burger with a changing cast of accessories, is gaining on them. Debbie and general manager Kaylie Birdsail will relocate to the new Tampa location same menu, with some talk of frozen drinks , a bigger space with a courtyard.
Bobby and Kristel Heskett now have a taco empire. Four is an empire, right? They have an app, so that clinches it. In , that first little Capital Tacos was ranked the third-best taco place in the United States by Business Insider , and Yelp consistently puts it among the top restaurants in the area.
At the end of that first year, the Hesketts opened a second location in Wesley Chapel, later a third in New Port Richey and just some weeks ago a fourth in Brandon.
Each location has gotten successively fancier, with more bells and whistles. Brandon has a sleek open kitchen, lots of stainless steel and a smart hanging menu at the counter; at the original, Bobby made the furniture out of wooden packing pallets and the menu was a funky chalkboard. New on the menu are street corn note to self: Feather Sound's Flo Lounge was ambitious and, even worse, vast. The restaurant is a franchise, with other locations in New York, New Jersey and Virginia, its cuisine more specifically Hyderabadi, the native cooking style of the Hyderabadi Muslims, its dishes categorized by the events at which they are served weddings, festivals, etc.
Dinnertime is when to go, everything a la carte. You can go the butter chicken route, but the real allures are Mysore masala dosa, huge, crisp-edged tangy crepes rolled around a filling of hot chutney and soft potato curry; uthappam, kind of a cross between a crepe and an omelet, studded with veggies; and idli, a savory rice cake that soaks up sambar like a sponge. And while many Southern Indian people are not drinkers, you should pair it all with an Indian-inflected craft cocktail.
The Veytia family and team saw an opportunity when Push Ultra Lounge closed: Expand vertically and scoop up the rest of the space for banquets and other carousing options. On the second floor they have added the Cantinita Bar, really an extension of the Cantina downstairs. And on the third floor, the open-air DeSanto Bar, with its own world-beat assortment of small plates, is a gesture to the late DeSanto Latin American Bistro once helmed by Jeannie Pierola of Edison that was in this spot, essentially a victim of the great recession.
This is in addition to the flagship restaurant at Fourth St. N, where for decades chef Chris Fernandez has done careful and appealing renditions of dishes from his home state of Oaxaca and other regions in Mexico.
At the Cantinita Bar you can get chips and salsa with your liquid refreshment. Think Korean barbecue ribs, Asian pork meatballs, shaken beef lettuce wraps and eggplant caponata. In short, a bunch of easily shared small plates that have no family resemblance to any other Red Mesa project, beyond being things that seem to taste great with a cocktail.
Let me just compliment us all for a moment. The rest of the world caught on to the allures of bitter flavors and fermentation years ago. And now we in Tampa Bay are all like: Bring on the kimchi and gochujang! Korean cuisine in these parts has been limited to a handful of DIY hotpot and barbecue places. I owe this recent find to my friend Kit. A half-Korean former chef, he said Dooriban was legit and I said yes, please. Not going to win on Shark Tank. At dinner, your table is crowded with a passel of banchan bowls cabbage kimchi, cubes of radish kimchi called kkadugi, a squeezed-out sesame spinach called sigeumchi namul and a changing lineup of others , which you alternate among to cool the heat of ddeok boki a gochujang-amped stew dominated by stir-fried rice cake logs, kind of the Korean answer to gnocchi or budae-jjigae, a hearty stew crowded with Spam, hot dogs and kimchi.
I have to go back and try a bunch more from the fairly lengthy menu, but the galbi sweet, tender beef short rib lengths and the japchae translucent, slithery stir-fried sweet potato starch noodles with veggies were both great. Wait, there are things not to like: What if, first-time restaurant owner Jamal Wilson said, we do it differently?
The sexy reimagining of a s yellow brick building features four bars; high-tops, regular-tops and low tufted leather couch seating; glamorous chandeliers and cool parquet floors. Sit anywhere, start ordering and the food finds you. This is an eye-of-the-beholder thing. I think we might be at the tipping point, with Darryl Shaw, CEO of BluePearl Veterinary, leading the charge, buying up property and talking big future plans. This is why Manashi Boruah and partner Amit Ghorpade, first-time restaurant owners, are smart.
India is the biggest consumer of whiskey and rum in the world. Rasoi opened in November, the top seller chicken tikka masala. That should come as no surprise, but everything at Rasoi is a bit different, a little unexpected, from the tandoori chicken wings very homemade-tasting, marinated in a spiced yogurt, no bright red coloring, cooked in the clay oven to Hyderabadi-style bagara baingan, the spicy, nuanced sauce cradling whole tiny roasted eggplants.
Navi Avard is the big gun in the kitchen, and Arun Rana is responsible for the 11 different kinds of bread. Medium had us sniffling pretty good. The grilled pork banh mi is ridiculously delicious. Vietnamese food fans have been hunched over bowls of steaming pho here since , so this is not news. Even as Vietnamese food has become more prevalent and mainstream, Saigon Deli remains a steady performer.
The countertop is crowded with grab-and-go impulse buys. To drink, try a goofy boba smoothie, maybe green apple, or the intensely sweet-tart limeade. Since its opening in , this place has teemed with enthusiasts. Owner Thomas Mang and family launched with a formidable agenda: The lemongrass tofu creeps into my dreams and waking fantasies, as do many of the Viet-French takeout items offered on the grocery half of the property, long aisles containing flaky sausage-centered pastries banh pate so , perfect baguettes, cha bo and cha lua sausages and refrigerators full of green papaya salad, fresh house-made soy milk and che dau hu, a gorgeous soft soybean custard with ginger honey syrup.
They debuted a new laminated, spiral-bound menu in the middle of , a long read with lovely pictures of each dish that allow even the gastronomically timid to dive into some of the more esoteric chef specials, udon soups and broken rice dishes. They do a good job with the familiar, but those pictures let you take a walk on the wild side. The prepared summer rolls and pastries make it a one-stop-shop for your next cocktail party.
And now there are seven. The first Yummy House on Waters Street, opened in , was no reservations, no booze, no frills, an instant hit on the strength of its authentic Hong Kong-style food.
Owner John Zhao realized he was on to something. He followed that with the Hillsborough Avenue location in , a Sarasota outpost in , Gainesville in , Ocala in , then Orlando and, finally, South Tampa at the end of For a couple of years, he had been talking about doing something different, not a Yummy House but a more loosely Asian noodle concept.
When he found the old bank building on Dale Mabry near Kennedy Boulevard, there was one problem: It was too big for noodles at 12, square feet. So he decided to go for another Yummy House, this one two stories with a private party space upstairs that can be utilized for regular service when the dim sum throngs get too dense downstairs.
The new South Tampa location does monster takeout business, especially in light of the fact that the original Waters Street spot continues to be closed because of a fire in the adjacent nail supply store. South Tampa is still working on a liquor license right now, BYOB, no corkage fee and still needs desperately to annex some extra parking. But the menu is a strikingly consistent replication of dishes from the bistro on Hillsborough Avenue, bright greens, burnished-skin Peking ducks, whole fish confettied with ginger and scallion.
But Zhao is gearing up here to do something new, launching a Chinese tapas menu in February. Owner Michael Stewart seems forever pushing forward, amped about the next thing.
He has partnered in the new Lure, which recently opened in Tampa on MacDill Avenue where Catrinas was, a sister restaurant to the billiards-and-sushi concept in downtown St. His flagship in South Tampa has always been South, with Ava blooming several years ago across the street. Ward still presides over much of the rest of the menu, both experts at a rustic, unfussy style of wood-fired Italian.
The Bestia pizza spicy pork sausage, pureed San Marzano tomatoes, arugula, ricotta is the one to beat, best accompanied by the wood-grilled veggies, smoky but still tooth-resistant.
And I have a hard time stepping away from the beautiful simplicity of the warm ricotta topped with fennel pollen and served with grilled bread rusks. Red wine- and black pepper-infused capellini in oil and garlic served with seared scallops [Times file]. Heck, even pouring yourself a Big Gulp makes me ask: What are we losing by circumventing human interaction, and is it a good idea to indulge without the guidance or vexing oversight of would-be judgers?
That said, what started as a wine shop-restaurant in remains one of the notables in New Port Richey, named for three partners Rich Scherch, chef Mark Malowski and Dan Clark now no longer involved and a reference to wine sugar levels. A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself. Jim Morrison said that. Chef Mark has the heart of a French chef, with loads of Continental touches and nods like airy duck mousse pate, classic French onion soup and sauteed chicken paillards freckled with fresh tarragon.
The single best dish is probably the hot smoked salmon paired with kale and walnuts with a soy and honey mustard gloss, but the cheese selection remains fierce.
Since , this has been the place for Lebanese classics — kebabs, hummus, falafel and a side of belly dancing — but brothers Roger and Ziad Estephan decided in it was time for a change, an upgrade, a makeover. Byblos went dark, re-emerging at the end of the year with a much more date night-appropriate setting.
The candlelight and moody lighting on the patio beat your go-to Instagram filter. All of the classic meze and kebabs are still there, but new executive chef David Puatu has broadened the menu to include a more loosely Mediterranean array of pastas, whole roasted fish and sides, and general manager Manny Quinones has followed suit with a strong lineup of craft cocktails and an expanded beer and wine list.
The walls are covered with vintage Tampa photos best one: Start with a gin drink the girly, egg-white-frothy Clover Club? Why are restaurants at the beach often so disappointing? There are also financial pressures: But then in June, Grace opened and shook things up.
Lisa Masterson and Marlin Kaplan, longtime Cleveland restaurateurs, thought they had one more restaurant in them. Their seater features white banquettes, one tomato red wall, lapis blue water glasses and a gorgeous central mirror-backed bar that has already attracted a fair number of regulars.
Or the salt- and sugar-cured heirloom tomatoes, the vinaigrette's splash of orange blossom water and sprinkling of fried pistachios spinning it subtly Middle Eastern.
The best entree sounds simple enough: A lemon and herb-stuffed chicken breast comes paired with roasted fingerlings and crisp-tender haricots verts, sitting in a pool of lemon- and thyme-inflected chicken broth with hints of nutty roasted garlic. Last year I squeaked Hotel Bar in under the wire. But this year, the collaboration of co-owner Leslie Shirah longtime owner of Fly Bar and partner Mark Culbreath qualifies fully.
Fly Bar bartender Daniel Guess spent time researching signature cocktails from hotels around the world, some dating back to the s, re-creating them in a way that speaks to Tampa audiences circa They shake and stir with grace, putting drinks in appealing glassware.
This is a tiny menu, largely in support of the cocktails: Breadhouse Bakes in Ybor City, fine just with butter but even better with a little cheese and charcuterie razzle-dazzle. TJ Thielbar and partners have hit cruising altitude. They opened the first Noble Crust in January in St. Petersburg, the second in the middle of at the Shops at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel and a third location in Carrollwood on Dec. It will have a farm stand and small healthy-foods restaurant component.
The three restaurants share a similar funky-industrial aesthetic and mostly the same menu: At each location there is live music Thursday and Friday evenings, and the Sunday DJ brunch bounces between locations.
Pinellas County native Rob Reinsmith remains the executive chef for all three, overseeing the production of pastas and other dishes, and his brother Colin has moved from the Wesley Chapel location to Carrollwood. Wesley Chapel has been said to be one of the fastest growth areas in the country, but why was Carrollwood the next logical spot? Noble Crust management watched newcomers like Sacred Pepper take off like a rocket, seeing a void on Dale Mabry at their price point and ambition level.
They chose the space that housed the second-ever outpost of Outback. There are two camps: All three Noble Crusts have great outdoor spaces and all are full bar, with smart craft beer lists and wines on tap. Part of its appeal is visual: Lots of world-beat nibbles and veggies, rib-stickers like a ribeye and steak frites, arrayed to pick over with a couple of buddies.
Bread is from Jamison B. Breadhouse Bakes and is excellent, the cocktail program is smart but not precious, and if you eat the house-made chocolate chip cookies with a glass of milk, one of your tablemates will post an Instagram pic with the closest thing to a Leave It to Beaver filter. There are no reservations. They discourage kids under 9 from dining here. The water-looking glass is your wine glass, the wine-looking glass is for water. Giolito cut his chops as a waiter at Donatello, then had an eponymous place on MacDill Avenue before taking time off to pursue other things.
He reopened at the same location, naming this new restaurant for his mom, who has periodically made a showing in the kitchen. We share a chianti, a Caesar salad, then I waffle: Should I go lasagna Giolito and wife fleetingly had a Mr. Lasagna shop on El Prado Boulevard or, what I usually opt for, linguine with clams, white wine sauce but with chopped tomato, extra spicy?
Before Giolito tallies our bill by hand, punching a tiny calculator , I wheedle my way into sharing a limoncello cake and an espresso. Sure, you could buy those Rosetta Stone tapes with their fancy speech recognition technology. French is the best, its dishes lip-smackingly evocative. Ragout de lapin, poitrine de porc, vichyssoise.
So why do so few restaurants serve this cuisine these days? There were some staffing changes early on, but for the past four years it has been Ryan Steffensmeier in the kitchen.
Prices have inched up just slightly over the past few years but are still fair-minded for textbook versions of the classics on a one-page dinner menu. Bargain hunters can scoot in on Mondays for half-price apps.
The bouillabaisse has been a constant, changing a bit daily depending on what seafood has come in fresh, but it always has that heady white wine and fennel je ne sais quoi.
And for dessert, a perfect creme brulee with its gossamer crunchy cap and velvety custard. This was the first restaurant I ever reviewed for the Times , opened in A couple of years ago, their big news was a remodel that enclosed the back patio and expanded the dining room, but in it was the arrival of a new Arcobaleno pastamaker.
It is booming in high season, reservations recommended, and the Goffs have branched out with a lot more weddings and other catering gigs these days. Their expansion a couple of years ago brought it up to seats and, with that, a full liquor bar. Lasagnas come in individual cast iron skillets, always sumptuous and involving internal battles: Revise to a quarter. Whittle to tiny square. Eat whole thing with a sprinkle of self-loathing.
But the mussels with shallots and white wine have few detractors well, the vegans, but I would submit that there is a case to be made that mussels are not sentient or motile, and thus not unlike plants. Surely there are other locals, they thought, who would appreciate good food right here. Marco had been in technology startups for decades and was accustomed to doing market research. Truth is, Lakeland sits in the middle of 9 million people, 40 minutes from Tampa, 40 from Orlando.
They took the plunge in December , opening a glamorous, upscale restaurant with an seat main dining room, a second-floor event space for and a rooftop lounge that seats another They serve Sunday brunch up top.
They tweaked things as they learned: Chicken and waffles became an early hit, the waffles made with Brazilian cheese bread. Traditional feijoada, a black bean stew, never quite took. They began with a more European-style no-tipping model, but shifted away from that when it was hard to maintain staff. Another crowd fave is the grouper moqueca, a nod to the Brazilian stew slow-cooked with fish, onions, peppers and coconut milk.
Executive chef Daniel Schubert not Brazilian, but can certainly fake it persuasively at this point sends out attractively composed plates and the full bar offers a nice array of mojitos, caipirinhas, classic cocktails and a few risk-takers Scotch and chai, hmm. Higher wages, higher rents, higher food costs and fiercer competition: The Refinery went in to the year having shifted focus somewhat, expanding the burger portion of the menu and relying less on its farm-to-fork identity.
Seminole Heights then had to endure protracted Hurricane Irma anxiety and the specter of a series of slayings in the neighborhood. Greg feels he has been doing some of the best food of his career, with a slight turn back toward the Italian pastas of his early cooking years. Salmon is paired with fennel, tomatoes, cucumber and pistachio. They opened the Restorative in on a shoestring, not in craft-beer-and-hipster-hangout downtown Dunedin, but rather in a strip mall on Patricia Avenue that also houses Sully's Tavern and is across the street from Dunedin Lanes.
It has continued like that. They recently decided to shift their days of operation to Monday to Friday so they could add a Monday hospitality industry night and so they could do wine dinners and private parties on Saturdays also, says Borajkiewicz, so they could take more naps.