Flambe Tampa's Fall Menu Gets All the Season's Favorites Right
Flambe Tampa owner Chad Bolsinger is optimistic about his restaurant in the near future. "I love my city," said Chad, "I can't wait to see what our landlord has in store for the Channelside district." His landlord is of course synonymous with Tampa nowadays.
Jeff Vinik, owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning and proprietor of Channelside Plaza, has become a mainstay in the news due to sharing his vision of a wellness-focused mixed use and green space where a corporate headquarters could lure sophisticated residents who share his passion for healthy living.
All of that is music to Chad's ears, who along with his partner, have invested six years into the space that is now Flambe Tampa. The restaurant was reinvented a couple years ago, previously it was the Opa Taverna. It's right on the water in Channelside Plaza and features International fare, but with an American twist. Flambe's chef hails from New Orleans, and coupled with Chad's partner's Indian cuisine expertise, the result is an inventive menu with surprising choices.
When I was there Friday night, we sat outside because the breeze from the water was a perfect element for a date night. We tried alligator bites (which were seasoned perfectly), we inhaled the fall special menu item of Butternut Squash Ravioli paired with Shipyard Brewery's Pumpkin Ale. We also tried shrimp and grits and chicken kebobs. It was a ridiculous amount of food and it was really delicious. Chad's favorite? The Butter Chicken. "It took my partner two days to get the recipe just right to serve," he said.
The space is massive at Flambe Tampa, enough room for several hundred diners, and they take pride in local produce purchased from Plant City farms. Overall, the server was attentive, the food exquisite and the location is perfect for an evening stroll by the water on the Bay.
With so much to look forward to with Vinik's vision, we chatted with Chad about everything he's gone through at Channelside Plaza.
"I've been here through the worst of it, and I'm here to stay," he said. He's endured buyouts and an empty plaza and through it all he has loyal customers who love the ambience, food and bottomless mimosas for Sunday Brunch.
We laughed at memories of Banana Joe's, Pop City and the Velvet Room that existed long before Splitsville. Only those of you who grew up here in Tampa remember this, but I won't age myself and tell you how long that's been.
Let's just say this Tampa Girl is really excited about what's coming to Channelside. When pressed for a date on renovations, Chad smiled slyly and said "Maybe after hockey season?"
Hey, we like the sound of that.
Be sure to try out Flambe next time you're looking for a great waterfront view and fresh food, I highly recommend it.