Travelling as I often do, I find myself in lots of different restaurants in different cities. On Thursday evening, we stopped by Charley’s Steak House in Tampa, FL. Entering this establishment, one is immediately caught up in the inviting, rich wood paneling and aromas dancing around the foyer.
Not really hungry and thinking only of having a glass of wine or two and maybe an appetizer, we proceeded to the enormous bar area. I have to say; whoever decorated Charley’s knows what a Steak House should look like.
Sitting at the bar, we were quickly greeted by veteran Bartender Kristian. Kristian is as polished as he is knowledgeable and helped us in the selection of our wine…a 2002 Opus. After carefully uncorking it, he proceeded to strain the contents into a breathing carafe to remove any sediment that may have been present. The wine was delectable, and we shared a bit of it with some nearby diners. One of those, my new friend Maria, agreed that it was indeed very good.
Enjoying the wine, we decided to order some Crab Cakes, which not only complemented the wine very well, they were in and of themselves excellent; all Crab and no cake! They started my taste buds doing a serious happy dance which only got better, yes they did.
We followed that with an order of Alaskan King Crabs which were equally yummy. Already full from a rather late lunch, we had pretty much decided to just finish the wine and call it a night. However, at the urging of Operations Manager Doug Scagliola, we tried a small filet mignon. I have enjoyed such cuts of meat before, however, the very first bite revealed why Charley’s is rated among the very best Steak Houses in America.
It was 'fork cut’ tender, aged and seasoned perfectly, and cooked exactly medium rare, precisely as I like it. With the expertly applied touch of drawn butter added to the top, my taste bud happy dance turned into a full scale 'hokey pokey’ because "that’s what it’s all about” in steak.
I was also very impressed by the staff, all of whom have been with Charley’s for years and all get along very well with each other. The combination of that and the tremendous customer service lands Charley’s in a class by itself. As a side note, while children are certainly welcome, I consider this a place to take a dinner vacation and enjoy the company of several friends or that special someone for a few hours.
Our Bartender Kristian took a few minutes away from the very busy bar and gave me a grand tour of the facility, pointing out the private party suites, one of which houses the wine storage cellar; the old cigar/cocktail area, and the main dining room.
We finished off the visit and evening with just a taste of Louis XIII Cognac, and we are very much looking forward to our next visit to this Tampa Gem.
The Patriots Press gives Charley’s Steak House all five of our Stars and we recommend them for all occasions. You will find them at 4444 West Cypress St. in Tampa, FL., and their phone number is 813 353 9706.