The AVENUE eat/drink is a popular ‘gastropub’ near the new ‘trendy’ Central Avenue district in St. Petersburg. This downtown pocket is quickly filling up with all kinds of new restaurants and bars that are getting the attention of many foodies.
We arrived on a Saturday evening and they were already packed with the college football crowd. The wait for a table inside was not going to be anytime soon as fans were parked at their tables. They had immediate seating on the back patio/bar area, but it was way too stuffy hot back there. So we opted for the last table on the front outside area. A great choice.
The fans with misters helped keep the table comfortable. Our server was friendly and very knowledgeable about the menu offerings and helped us narrow down our choices. Food from the kitchen came out quick and there was just enough space between appetizer and our main dishes.
Mmmm Bacon ($8.50) – Thick cut Applewood bacon, black pepper bourbon syrup & Guiness-chocolate ganache dipping sauces. “WOW”. That was what we both said when this was brought out. The cool presentation in a mason jar was definitely a clue as to just how good this was going to be.
The bacon was thick (as promised on the menu) and had the best balance of smoke and salt. Eating it alone was a treat, but once you dipped it into one of the two sauces….‘Wow”. Yeah, we said it twice. My favorite was the Guinness-chocolate ganache, which wasn’t too sweet and added a richness to the bacon. Jeff was more drawn to the black pepper bourbon syrup.
Bite Mi ($13) – Roast pork, daikon, carrot, cilantro, jalapeno-garlic-lime aioli. The menu didn’t do the best job on letting you know that the roast pork is on a burger. Our server did clear that up immediately, informing me that it’s not a roast pork sandwich. I still went for it anyway, but glad she cleared it up.
The burger was really good, but I found that the roast pork seemed to get ‘lost’ with all of those toppings. The freshness of the veggies really stood out and the aioli was very tasty.
The fries were fresh and we both liked the large salt crystals sprinkled on them. Oh, extra points for the cool service board used with the burgers too.
Black + Bleu ($11) – Blackened seasoning, Applewood bacon + bleu cheese. Well, Jeff certainly got his bacon fix this weekend.
The same thick bacon was used on this burger and the generous topping of bleu cheese made Jeff very happy.
The blackening seasoning could have used a bit more of a kick, but the burger was cooked to a nice medium.
The AVENUE eat/drink was a fun experience with some great comfort food offerings. This is EXACTLY the comfort food we’ve been looking for and this restaurant is easily #1 on our Best in Tampa Bay.
The AVENUE eat/drink is located at 330 1st Avenue S, St. Petersburg, FL 33701