Carlos Eats team member Jenn Nguyen visited GrillSmith in Carrollwood this Friday for their VIP event. Here is her post on the event.
Two bruschettas were served at the event: smoked salmon and portabello. They both contained capers, basil, red onion, sun dried tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. I personally enjoyed the smoked salmon much more. It was fresh tasting and unlike the portobello bruschetta, the flavor weren’t drowned out by the accompaniments. My guest favored the portobello one. He personally enjoyed the fact that he could taste all the flavors in the bruschetta. The toast was on the oily side even though it did add a nice depth to the hor d’oeuvre.
Basil made another appearance in the Caprese stack. A jumbo grape tomato (surprisingly flavorful) with basil and mozzarella (nothing special). The salty, creamy mozzarella played well with the crisp, juicy tomato.
The fourth sample was the Spicy Thai Shrimp, the restaurant’s successful take on Bonefish Grill’s Bang Bang Shrimp. A nice crunch to the succulent shrimp with a hit of tang to cut the rich Sriracha aioli. The Creative Loafing freelance writer who joined me at the table noted that this was her favorite item even though she did not like fried foods.
The final sample item available was the Crab and Shrimp Cake. Since no utensils were provided, it was a little hard to eat. Unlike the Spicy Thai Shrimp, this fried item was quite greasy. I thought the construction of the item was a little awkward; the breading was only on the outside and it was quite heavy. The jumbo lump crab was plentiful and flavorful. The shrimp was unnecessary especially because the crab overpowered the delicate shrimp. It did serve as a great textural contrast. There was a small bit of Sriracha dolloped on top, but did nothing for the crab and shrimp cake.
The signature cocktail we tried was the Signature Strawberry Lemonade. Made with Grey Goose Vodka, I expected it to have that lemonade twang with a smooth finish. Yet, it was surprisingly sweet and floral.
Overall, a good tasting! A talented artist, Shaun Hopper, was there playing his acoustic renditions of popular songs. I thought the service could have been a little bit more efficient; there were times when I had to hunt down a server to get an hor d’oeuvre. There were giving out samples of cocktails (a Bacardi spiced rum with Coke and Orange flavored Grey Goose with Cranberry Juice) which the crowd enjoyed. The chef even made an appearance and mingled with the crowd to answer any questions. All in all, I had a great time and a memorable experience, no doubt.
Restaurant Name: GrillSmith
Cuisine: American, Steakhouse
Address: 14303 N. Dale Mabry Highway Tampa, FL 33618
Phone Number: (813) 269-1500