Thursday, June 1, 2017

Ulele, Tampa

Our hungry group headed over to Tampa Heights to check out Ulele, a very cool restaurant that opened to great reviews and long waits for reservations in 2014. The brainchild of the Gonzmart family of Columbia Restaurant fame, this converted Water Works factory offers great views of the Hillsborough River. The building was restored beautifully with a mix of industrial and modern art and sculptures, many from the Gonzmarts’ private collection and some commissioned just for Ulele. With seating on two floors and an outdoor bar and tables, it can accommodate huge crowds which when combined with the high ceilings accounts for Ulele’s one negative – the noise. However, if you can score a table upstairs you’ll find it a little quieter.
The menu offers a fusion of Native American cuisine and multicultural influences using items indigenous to the area.
I ordered the “Chief Red Eagle” Duck made with a port wine orange marmalade and in my usual corny spirit comically ducked when the waiter brought it to the table. (groans all around) I haven’t had duck in about 40 years and following Chef’s suggestion wisely asked for medium to well done. It came with Mashed Potatoes and Spinach sautéed with garlic and while I absolutely loved the duck and the spinach, the mashed potatoes were thick and cold. But what stood out for me was my Roasted Beets & Poached Pear appetizer with a balsamic charred red onion, whipped goat cheese, blackberry honey gastrique, toasted almonds and watercress. As I'm writing this my mouth is watering and I will definitely order this next time.
Hubby had the Crackling Pork Shank served with Wild Rice and Green Beans and he enjoyed every bit of it. Kathy went for the Water Works Meatloaf which was served as thin slices similar to Salisbury Steak and served with Popcorn Mashed Potatoes – yes you heard me right, Popcorn and Mashed Potatoes. Weird but delicious and an obvious nod to the Native American corn - it was very good.
Hollie ordered the 3 Sisters Stuffed Portabello and it was not only delicious but plentiful enough to take half home to enjoy another day. We followed dinner with a little stroll on the River Walk and it was a brilliant evening - gorgeous views and a lively energy from the crowds enjoying the outdoor seating on this balmy night. We'll be back to Ulele for sure. A great place to bring out of town visitors or your ladies' lunch club.
Ulele Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
View my food journey on Zomato!

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