A safe bet at Tampa’s Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa is the quality of the restaurants and cocktail lounges. The hotel's newest restaurant, called The Rez Grill, plays a winning hand of craft cocktails and comfort food to become one of the most sure bets of all. Opened last month as part of a multimillion dollar expansion and renovation, The Rez is an American grill which will appeal to hotel guests and locals alike. At the helm is creative culinary director Frank Anderson, whose experience includes running James Beard Award winning restaurants in Los Angeles.

“Bringing on someone of Frank’s culinary talent to open The Rez Grill shows our continued commitment to providing our guests the best service,” said Dawn Lazo, the Hard Rock's vice president of food and beverage.

The Rez Grill is a beautiful restaurant in Tampa combining a warm color palette, weathered beam ceilings, inviting booths, and a rich leather bar front into a contemporary tavern. A communal table is positioned with great views of the open kitchen, where flames from the wood-burning jade grill finish steaks and chops over cherry wood sourced from Florida forests. 

Part of The Rez's focus is on craft cocktails and a professional bar service, so the bar is a natural place to start. Classic cocktails get a new twist, juices are always fresh, and syrups are hand-made. The “New Fashioned” is a rum-based nod to the old fashioned. It's made with Zacapa 23, chocolate bitters, dehydrated orange, and a filthy cherry.  What a way to start the night! The improved gin and tonic gets an upgrade from elderflower, while the Diana cocktail gets a local spin from guava.

The Diana Cocktail at the Rez Grill.

The Rez Grill focuses on quality in its kitchen, raising the standards for comfort food while still keeping it “comfortable” for everyone. Starters include wood-grilled artichokes with lemon-pepper butter and garlic aioli, rock shrimp tempura, and Benton Ham served with house biscuits and red pepper jam. Entrees range from comfort food classics like steak frites and hand-crafted pasta dishes, to more sophisticated fare like grouper roasted with root vegetables in parchment paper, and A-4 Japanese Waygu beef steak with fingerling potatoes and horseradish cream.

Two versions of shrimp and grits are available at The Rez Grill. One is comfort food all the way, with country ham and a soft egg as accompaniment. You'll love the soft yolk enrichment of the creamy grits as you take the first bite! The other version dresses it up with American hackleback caviar. Imagine firm dark caviar with pearls of emerald and gold sprinkled through the grits and the pronounced flavor that only comes from Sturgeon roe.

The Table Participation section of the menu features entrees like fried chicken and St. Louis style ribs, specifically designed for sharing. Finishing it all off is dessert, where you can order pecan pie with Jack Daniels ice cream, candied bacon and spicy caramel, paired with a closing cocktail like a Brandy Milk Punch.

St. Louis style ribs at The Rez Grill.

The Rez Grill deals out delicious food all night for lucky people who get to enjoy the attention paid to every detail. It's a place where nea itrly everything is made in-house by artists and craftsmen who take pride in their work. The Rez is open for dinner only, starting at 5 p.m. It joins six other restaurants in Tampa's Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, including Council Oak Steaks & Seafood, Rise Kitchen & Bakery, and Hard Rock Cafe Tampa.

For more great places to eat and drink in Tampa, and the best events near you, check out 813area.com. Register for updates sent to your mobile device. Best of all, it’s free!