Last night was a meeting of the Tampa Bay Bloggers. It’s a fairly new group started by my friend Denise aka Run DMT. We mostly converse on Facebook, but last night we had an opportunity to meet in person – which we usually do twice/year.
After calling around, somehow Denise ended up planning our night out at Datz. If you see the sign that says “Datz Delicatessen”, you might think about pastrami and rueben sandwiches. You wouldn’t be too far from one tiny portion of the menu. Datz started as a deli a few years ago, but when they became more in tune with what Tampa Bay area foodies really wanted, they switched to a modern, fresh gastropub with a local flair and ever-changing menu.
Chef Jason, who explained each course to us in detail, told us the menu – which looks like a color newspaper – changes about every 6 weeks, and our wonderful, knowledgeable server Maite said the craft beer menu changes daily. Lots of fresh and local ingredients are incorporated, with a nod toward comments they’ve received from customers.
I think we lucked out that a new fall menu had just hit the kitchen, because I am so ready for fall flavors! It doesn’t usually feel like fall here in Florida until the end of Nov., so flavors and scents are really all we have to pretend it’s fall. Pumpkin, squash, ginger, banana and more grace my pantry and candle choices right away in Sept.
We started with a butternut squash bisque with a ginger froth on top. I don’t even see it on the menu. Brian said he would normally never order a bisque, or anything with squash, but he loved it. It might have actually converted him to someone who chooses to cook with squash. I loved it, but that was no surprise to me. I enjoy squash and pumpkin flavored everything. This bisque was creamy and divine!
The 2nd course was “figgy piggy” salad, named from the figs and bacon on top. It was a spinach base with dried mission figs, blue cheese, bacon, red onions and a warm bacon vinaigrette served in a mini mason jar so you could shake the dressing repeatedly and add more. This salad normally comes with pumpkin seeds on top, but I don’t think ours did. I had 2 helpings. The figs were phenomenal. They are a rare treat for me, and paired with the cheese they were great!
The 3rd course was another salad, this time a roasted baby beet salad with pickled onions and crumbled goat cheese over baby arugula and balsamic glaze. I don’t really care for beets, but I picked off some yummy goat cheese. I did eat half a beet just because I felt I should try everything.
Next came harvest ravioli – squash and walnut filled fresh-made ravioli in a sage brown butter cream sauce topped with shaved parmesan. We hear this is awesome with the seared scallops, but it was so filling and rich as it was. I’d like more walnuts in this, and the sauce was SO rich and buttery it was too high on the guilt meter for me and my tush. But it was absolutely delicious and the fresh made pasta was like eating pillowy clouds.
One person at our table could not eat walnuts, so she ordered datchos, which are Datz Nachos. Instead of a corn chip, they are made from Datz homemade potato chips and topped with chili, cheese, jalapenos, sour cream, blue cheese drizzle, scallions, and just for us some beer braised pulled chicken. Can you imagine???
It’s funny that I don’t like blue cheese and but I loved everything I tasted all night (except the beets.)
To wet my whistle during the meal, I drank an Apple Sage Cooler, a new drink on the menu made from old smoky apple pie moonshine, fresh apple juice, lemon juice, ginger beer and fresh sage. It was a lot like a Moscow Mule, but not in a copper cup, and slightly less sweet. I think the fuzzy fresh sage leaf in the glass is a wonderful touch! I’m not a big drinker, and I’ve never had moonshine, and this drink was just enough to loosen me up and widen my smile without knocking me on my @$$. Maite also said she doesn’t normally drink moonshine but enjoys this bubbly beverage.
Then came dessert…
I’m not sure if we were supposed to be served dessert, but Brian decided to order two slices of cake for the table to share. Because they were HUGE and rich and sharable. Some of the ladies also got cupcakes to take home to their daughters, but if they were smart they hid those pretty, pink boxes from everybody and anybody and devoured them in private – preferably while taking a bubblebath by candlelight.
But we had the peanut butter explosion cake – layers of peanut buttery fluffy goodness and firm chocolate cake with fudgy frosting, a chocolate syrup drizzle, and brownie chunks on top. The other was Jack Daniel’s chocolate cake, which tasted NOTHING like Jack Daniels, and was a much lighter, fluffier cake. Brian like the JD better and I preferred with PB. I was almost forcing myself to eat at this point because I was so full, but each PB bite was too good to waste!
Brian also ordered a dessert beverage, Datz’s new smashing pumpkin martini made with pumpkin pie liquor and vanilla vodka and gingersnap crumbles around the rim. It tasted like milky, liquidy pumpkin pie awesomesauce!
Here’s what I want to try next time I go:
itty bitty mac, waffles n’ tweet (boneless fried chicken on cheddar waffles with jalapeno-maple syrup), havana hottie sandwich, holy guacamolee mezrah sandwich, or the april in paris – warm melted brie, tomato, arugula, pasil pesto served hot on grilled country bread. But not all at once.
Really, is there a thing on this menu that doesn’t sound amazing?
Does it still sound like a place for pastrami and a pickle?
Well, they have that too, but I’ll stick with the seasonal, more original flair that I know I’ll never find anywhere else and never be able to replicate at home!
Thank you Datz and Tampa Bay Bloggers for a fun and delicious night that put me in a food coma at 10:30pm on a Saturday night. After 3 days of lentils, spinach and bananas, I sure enjoyed that!