We were looking for a
restaurant in Downtown St. Petersburg on a cold (60ish)
rainy night in January. As we drove down central avenue, we
noticed a bright storefront in an otherwise dark block. The
light turned out to be coming form a restaurant by the name of
Tedesco's Grillside. It was clear that this was the kind
of place that would be fun to dine in and review.
The restaurant has kind of a
low key urban feel with a long open grill area stretching from
the front window nearly to the back. To the left as you walk in
sits a chair that will momentarily by filled by a folk singer.
The walls are covered with very nice art, all for sale. The
manager, who seats us, comments on my shirt, mentions that
they're a little busier than usual and hands us our menus.
After a few minutes we were
approached by our server and our drink orders are taken. We're
checking out the food that's coming out of the kitchen and are
amazed by the presentation. Vertical salads, nothing is
horizontal! The food clearly imitates the art. Or is it the
other way around?
One of us settles on the
Grilled Strip Steak Salad and I think, "How do you elevate
that?" I think, "I'll try something a little more homey"
and order the Southern Meatloaf. Did I mention the specialty of
the house is Southern cooking? The menu also includes (among
other things) Herb Seared Free Range Chicken, Shrimp Crusted
Mahi, Pan Seared Trout and lots of stuff with pecans and blue
cheese. Most of the dinners are served with sautéed spinach,
mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes. Appetizers include Fried
Green Tomatoes, Fried Sweet Potatoes and Beer Battered Onion
Rings and Wings.
So was this real southern
cookin'? Yup. The meat loaf was baked in an oven and then fried
on the grill. The garlic mashed potatoes were heavenly and the
sautéed spinach was perfect. Steak sauce was creatively drizzled
around the plate.
The salad was indeed vertical.
Get this, they took a tomato, hollowed it out and cut off the
bottom and the top. The chef mad a cone shaped bowl out of fried
shredded cheese, perched it in the tomato and loaded in the
salad. It must have been a full foot tall. The steak was served
on the same plate, which was decorated with the dressing. Wow!
All in a all, a great meal. On
the way pout the door we shook hands with the chef, Daniel
Womack, and told him we'd send our friends- and we hope
you'll all go!