When Flamestone invites you to come try some of the new items that you can find on their revamped menu, you just go, okay? You just leave work as soon as you are able and traverse the very, very busy streets of Tampa with rush hour traffic and pissed off drivers for over an hour to get there. (For Tampa folks: I work in Lakeland and Flamestone is in Oldsmar. Talk about a trek.)
You do it in the name of love because Flamestone is an amazing place, with equally amazing food. And you do it with a smile on your face because you know that the items you are about to consume will skyrocket your relationship with Flamestone to a whole ‘nother level.
Walk with me as I share my dining experience and what I think of the changes.
Calamari: Cornmeal crusted with lemon pepper cracked aioli
My favorite item of the night, I was embarrassed to keep going back to this appetizer as many times as I did. I’ve had many a calamari dish. What really made Flamestone’s stand out was the lemon pepper cracked aioli. I could see myself dipping french fries in this aioli, spreading it on a hamburger, or even using it as a grilled chicken baste.
Buffalo Chicken Sliders: Juicy crispy buffalo chicken on a pretzel bun, served with fries
Next up were these beauties. I LOVE buffalo chicken sandwiches and I order them often, so when we were presented with these, I lost my cool….literally. First, I was just too excited to remain calm and second, this buffalo was really spicy, just the way I like it! The pretzel bun was soft too. Just, yum.
Shrimp N’ Grits: Buffalo crispy shrimp with stone ground white cheddar grits
This Shrimp N’ Grits dish was my second favorite of the evening. Again, Flamestone knows the meaning of “buffalo”. These spicy shrimp were crispy and tossed in the same buffalo sauce, but what really won the show in this dish was the grits. Stone ground white cheddar grits…I mean, what the heck does that even mean? I’ll tell you. It translates to delicious. And creamy. And mouthwatering.
Beet & Goat Cheese Salad: Arugula, heirloom beets, fried goat cheese with a honey-citrus vinaigrette
I have an obsession with arugula. It’s the one item that is always in my home. I will make a special trip to the grocery store (and the closest one to me is awful to get in and out of) just for a bag of arugula. Put these peppery lettuce leaves on pizza, in sandwiches, or by themselves in a salad. You cannot go wrong.
But, do you want to know what I’m more obsessed with? Goat cheese. Bonus points for being fried. It’s no surprise that I loved this salad. I’m not a fan of beets so I picked them off, but I loved that they were there. They added color to the dish!
Kale Salad: Kale, peanuts, carrots, chopped mint with a fresh cilantro vinaigrette
The Kale Salad was the next item I tried and I found it to be interesting. I do like kale, in salad and as chips, but paired with fresh mint and the cilantro vinaigrette, it was too much intensity for me. The flavor was good though.
N.Y. Strip Steak: 14 ounce well-marbled, served with redskin double butter mashed potatoes
Flamestone steaks are 30 day aged Chicago Stockyard Angus, hand cut on premise and topped with an herbed compound butter. I loved the char on the outside and it was cooked perfectly. Seasoning was very good! Whenever I’ve visited Flamestone I’ve opted for their redskin double butter mashed potatoes so I’m going to recommend you do the same. They are rich and buttery without feeling like complete overkill.
Chilean Sea Bass: Yuzu marinated on dashi miso broth with bamboo rice
Next up: Chilean Sea Bass. I’m more about steak, chicken, turkey and pork than fish, but my God, this fish was flaky and melted in my mouth. I loved the asian influences present and I think this was a favorite all around.
Sticky Toffee Pudding: Served with homemade nutella ice cream and salted caramel
Friends, have you ever had nutella ice cream?? Well now that I have, I can tell you this. You need to try it. Go to Flamestone and promptly order the Sticky Toffee Pudding. Yes, I mean as an appetizer.
Peach Cobbler: Served with while chocolate macadamia nuts and vanilla bean ice cream
Lastly (but not least because there is no loser at Flamestone), we had the Peach Cobbler. It was warm, both in temperature and in feeling, and was exactly what I thought it would be: perfect.
Mac ‘N Cheese lovers: The new Flamestone menu has a section dedicated to the Mac N’ Cheese Skillet. The original four cheese skillet can have charred prime rib, truffle parm, nueske bacon, pulled chicken, diced jalapeno, or lump crab added for a small upcharge. THAT is my next adventure.