Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Speakeasy - Tampa - April 28th

When I made the reservation I made sure to ask the usual questions... What kind of seating did they have? We always prefer a round table for 8. A long table means that people on either end won't be able to talk much. If we're stuck with a long table we make sure the 4 gals are in the center seats and two guys on each end. This ensures that the women have clear and easy talking access. The guys are less worried about this and it just makes for a more congenial atmosphere all around. Happy wife - happy life. The Speakeasy as it's name implies has a dark and private atmosphere. A bunch of little curtained rooms that seat 2 or 4 and 2 private rooms to seat either 8 (cramped) or 16 (cramped). Because I mentioned that we were a dining out group we were given the larger room. The room was movie theater dark with banquet seating on 3 sides and small cocktail table scattered around the room you could draw toward you and place your food and drink upon. It took a while for our eyes to adjust but the atmosphere was fun. Atmosphere - The Speakeasy tries real hard to make you feel like you've been transported to prohibition times. When I made the reservation I was given the password "Roosevelt" and sure enough as we arrived the valet in hushed tones asked for the password and then led us down a path that led to an unmarked door. I knocked and a little hatch door opened and a hostess asked again for the password. Cute. I had also been told the dress code was formal - dress to impress. And our group did its best to comply - the ladies laid on the bling and makeup and the fellows put their best foot forward, especially one who showed up in a white tuxedo jacket. Our waiter made a big fuss over him..."sir, I really appreciate your attire this evening". Worth some giggles. Service - for the most part it was good although there was a drink made incorrectly and a second drink forgotten. Our waiter was dressed for the period and took delight in explaining the menu and how they didn't serve anything that wasn't served during prohibition (hence no olive in your martini). Food - the menus arrived and we were delighted to open them and find them to be backlit for easy reading. We weren't so delighted with the prices. They were steep and the portions were small - little more than appetizer size. Our beef tenderloin was really delicious but for $27 you got about 5 oz. of it. Really everything we ordered was very good quality but the prices were just too much. And as for the drinks, talk about sticker shock. The single barrel Jack Daniels turned out to cost $15 and my Gin and Tonic was $9. The atmosphere is so conducive to having that second drink that it wasn't till the bill arrived that we realized we'd spent $50 just on booze. Shame on us! Summary - I'm glad we experienced it but none of us would return. And that's okay. Our group is adventurous and willing to try something new. Tip to remember---always email your group a link to the restaurant's menu so they can either plan their meal accordingly or voice an objection well in advance if they feel the prices are too exorbitant. But hey, next time it could be a hot dog stand and we'd approach it with the same gusto (sans tuxedo). If you'd like to experience it don't go for dinner - dress up fancy, go for an expensive drink and maybe one appetizer and then go to your local diner for a real meal. Billy's Stone Crab Seafood on Urbanspoon

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