Friday, January 13, 2012

The Refinery

by Meghann on January 13, 2012

Ten months ago, when I first moved to Tampa, I was sent a lengthy list of restaurants I had to try in the Tampa area from my new friend Kristin (who is leaving me and moving to Austin next month!).

I’ve actually done pretty well hitting most of the places she recommended (Cafe Hey, The Bricks, Fly Bar, etc), but there was one high on the list – that she simply RAVED about – that I never visited, but had always been in the back of my mind.

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I think The Refinery sums up their philosophy pretty well on their website We buy as much as we can from farmers and suppliers who do it right. Sustainably and ethically right. Then we refine this already beautiful product into something even more amazing and we change it up every week. Sounds like a place I want to be eating at.

So what took me so long to eat there? Location. Location. Location. The restaurant is located off a road I rarely drive on, in an area I don’t visit very often, with a tiny sign that you’ll miss if you blink. So, while it was in the back of my mind, not driving by it meant there was no visual reinforcement reminding me I wanted to eat there. I’m a visual person through and through.

Luckily I wasn’t the only person that had always wanted to try The Refinery. My good friend Courtney set up a girl’s night for a few of us to try the restaurant and have a night out on the town without our significant others.

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The Refinery is tiny inside and only accommodates small parties of 6 or less. It’s one of the rare places in Tampa where a reservation is a requirement, otherwise they’ll boot you into the cold on the top deck. Luckily there are heaters.

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That tend to break on occasion.

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Don’t worry. It’s Florida. We survived.;)

There was an extensive craft beer list that immediately caught my attention, but the mood called for wine, not beer. I had a glass of the cab and casually sipped on it through my meal.

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The menu was small with just a few items listed. I was warned it would be meat heavy, but I didn’t find that to be the case. Out of the five main course options listed, two were vegetarian and one of those were vegan. All five (vegetarian or not) sounded amazing and it was a tough call deciding what to get.

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The table started with the pork belly appetizer which cut like butter and tasted delicious.

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For the main course, the majority of my table mates and I selected the Edamame Falafel Burger topped with taleggio asparagus fondue, garlic-dill cucumber, and smoked paprika sweet potato chips.

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The only thing I can say is wow. The falafel burger was full of spice and flavor. I loved the way the rich talegio cheese complemented the burger without overpowering it and thought the slightly pickled cucumbers were a nice sweet touch. Two thumbs up. ๐Ÿ™‚

For dessert the table split the Strawberry Shortcake which had a sweet cornbread base and a strawberry buttercream.

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It was good, but I wouldn’t consider this dish a strawberry shortcake. It was missing another dozen or two of strawberries to make it official. ๐Ÿ˜‰

After months of wanting to try The Refinery, I’m so glad I finally did tonight. Not only was the food good, but the vibe from the restaurant and the philosophy behind their menu choices made me want to support them even more. My meal was amazing and I can’t wait to come back.

The girls and I decided we’re going to try meet on a regular basis and try fun restaurants around the area. Sounds good to me!

This afternoon I had a black cherry chobani with some quaker oatmeal squares.

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I have 10 miles on deck in the morning and a sore booty that still isn’t a fan of moving. It should be interesting.

Good Night!

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