The thrill of the grill: GrillSmith tasting 2.0

A tasting and overview of some of their most popular menu items.

Starters and “Small Plates”

Mediterranean Platter: Spinach Artichoke Dip and a creamy feta spread, served with warm pita chips, which paired well with both the dip and the spread. Tortilla chips were served as well.
Voodoo Cheese Fries: Creole-seasoned fries with a New Orleans barbeque sauce, smoked Gouda, Cheddar and Swiss cheeses, Andouille sausage and scallions, served with cilantro sour cream. I am not usually a fan of loaded fries, but these were so good that I found myself repeatedly reaching for more. Must have been the “voodoo” in them…
Calamari Duo: Lightly battered and flash-fried, served with Marinara and Sesame Thai sauces. The calamari has a subtle kick, which I enjoyed most with the Marinara sauce.
Stoli Ravioli: Skip the vodka and tonic, and eat your vodka instead. Stuffed with grilled chicken, spinach and ricotta cheese, tossed in a Stolichnaya Vodka tomato cream sauce. Being Italian, I’m especially sensitive to overcooked pasta, but this was cooked al dente.
Smoked Salmon Bruschetta: Norwegian salmon with fresh basil, onion, sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, capers and lemon-feta vinaigrette, atop crisp, buttery crostini. No flimsy pieces of salmon in this selection.
Filet Tip Eggrolls: Marinated filet tips with shitake mushrooms, scallions, blue cheese and caramelized onions, served with Dijon-horseradish and soy sauces. Nice blend of flavors rolled up into an easy bite.
Spicy Thai Chicken (pictured above): Lightly battered and flash-fried, flavored with sriracha aioli and honey glaze with a kick, but not overly spicy. A spin-off of the popular Spicy Thai Shrimp.
Crab and Shrimp Cakes: Maryland-style crab cakes with a shrimp center, flavored with sriracha aioli and mango-ginger salsa. I’m a fan of fruit salsas, and really enjoyed this salsa.
Caprese Stack: Classic Italian appetizer of tomatoes stacked with mozzarella cheese and arugula, dressed with balsamic and basil-flavored olive oil. Ideal option for the health-conscious.

As well as the items listed above, I also sampled two surprise creations not on the menu, chicken nachos and chicken tacos, both of which were delicious, especially the chicken tacos.

If you still have room for the main attraction after the impressive selection of starters, here are two “meaty” options:


Chicken Milanese: Herb-crusted chicken sautéed and finished with a lemon, butter and white wine combination, sun-dried tomatoes, golden raisins, capers, arugula and pine nuts, all tossed in a lemon-feta vinaigrette, served over seasoned jasmine rice. Possibly my favorite item, thanks to the unique flavor of the chicken and the delicious jasmine rice.
Filet Mignon: Seasoned and grilled center-cut tenderloin filet, in a port wine sauce. I don’t eat much steak, but this was delicious and grilled to perfection.

If you are a chocolate lover, GrillSmith has you covered with one of these finales:


Ultimate Brownie Parfait: Chocolate mousse and whipped cream served over warm brownie bites, topped with raspberry-pomegranate preserves and caramel sauce.
Chocolate Decadence: Award-winning dessert of mocha-chocolate flourless cake, topped with chocolate mousse and raspberry coulis.

GrillSmith is a grill-inspired restaurant, putting a unique spin on traditional comfort foods. Located in Tampa, Clearwater, Brandon, Wesley Chapel and Lakeland. A Front Burner Brands concept restaurant.

After attending a tasting event at one of the Bay area GrillSmith locations several weeks ago, where I sampled their most popular appetizers and specialty drinks, I had a second opportunity to sample even more items.

This time, GrillSmith upped the ante and served starters, entrees and desserts. With so many tasty options available, it may be difficult to narrow your selection down to just one or two items.

Whether you want just a few bites, or are famished and need nourishment before your meal arrives, try one of these appetizers to whet your appetite. With so many to choose from, you may be tempted to forgo an entrée and make a dinner out of them.

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