Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bern's Steak House - Tampa

I really don't know how to express my experience eating at Bern's Steak House in Tampa, Florida.  I would simply have to say it was a true privilege.  From the moment you walk into Bern's, you're struck by the history of the place.  It started as a single dining room in a strip mall, but grew to fill the entire space as they bought out the building.  To call the place in institution is appropriate.  They say it's about the "art of steak", but truly it's about food as an art.

Everyone who dines at Bern's is able to take a tour of the kitchens and the wine cellar.  According to my wine cellar guide, one of a few who spend all night finding the wines people order in the massive library, only 15% of their wine is housed in the cellar.  The rest is in a warehouse nearby.  We're talking HALF A MILLION BOTTLES and 6,800+ labels to choose from on a given night.  There's a wine worth $30,000.  There is port made from grapes that were grown when Abraham Lincoln was a CHILD.  It was like a library of wines.  It was like the Hall of Prophecy from Harry Potter, but filled with wine.  The guy said you could drink a bottle a day for like 18 years and never drink the same bottle twice.

The kitchen was no less impressive.  Our tour, given by a waiter in training, allowed us into the busy, loud world of the kitchen.  They have 60-100 people in the kitchen alone.  They have huge grills for the meat that take up some serious square footage.  Thousands of pounds of steak per week, tons of salads from their garden... it's an insane operation.  They even grow some herbs in the kitchen for the salads.  (Note: I do not like salad, but I ate like 25% of mine... and the waiter told me not to feel bad, because all the rest would go into compost.  Yeah, I was totally being environmentally conscious, right?)

I figured I needed to have a steak... but had no idea everything that would come with it.  Without asking, your steak comes with a French onion soup course, salad with so many dressing options, a baked potato, fried onions, and fresh vegetables. Oh. Em. Gee.

My side of the table also indulged in some White Truffle Macaroni and Cheese... which I could have eaten as my meal.  Seriously, what was in that?  It was divine.  The best macaroni I've had in my life.  I need to recreate this decadence.  Oh, and the steak was perfect.  Of course!

One nuance about Bern's?  You need a separate reservation for dessert.  No joke.  You head upstairs to semi-private rooms (built with giant wine casks as walls) to page through the most intensely amazing dessert menu I have ever seen.  I could have eaten multiple courses there and stayed all night.  The private rooms are so sweet and intimate.  I chose the Banana Bread Bread Pudding: toasted banana pecan bread baked in banana custard, dulce de leche, banana caramel ice cream.  I DIE.

Traveling for work is exhausting.  It takes me away from my home and my boys for days... but there are definitely perks. Being taken on culinary adventures is one of them.  Bern's will remain in my memory as one of those unforgettable meal experiences for sure.  Tampa, I'm impressed!

Bern's Steak House on Urbanspoon 

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  1. This place looks so yummy! I love living vicariously through your adventures on here ;)

    XX, SS || A Little Seersucker Sass

  2. That is why I read so many blogs... we all get to live vicariously through one another!


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