The Best Little Steak House in Florida
I typically don’t recommend restaurants. Too many times I have returned to a restaurant where I had a fantastic meal in an effort to duplicate the experience, only to be disappointed with the second visit. Everyone’s restaurant expectations are different. However, my visit to Berns Steak House in Tampa, went way beyond even my level of expectation, and those who know me know that my standards are extremely high.
Bern’s has absolutely no curb appeal, looking like an old warehouse on drive-up. One step through the doors and suddenly you are in an old, European castle turned bordello, complete with enormous gold framed mirrors and old world portraits in oil. Down the hallway there are several rooms that open into exposed brick and oil painting adorned parlors of intense epicurean indulgence.
Bern Laxer opened the restaurant in 1956 and it quickly became a legend. The servers are professionally trained and must work as apprentices in the kitchen prior to serving the guests. They are all very knowledgeable and offer guidance on choosing your hand cut piece of beef, and how it should be properly prepared. I try not to eat a huge amount of red meat these days so I went with the Chateaubriand Tips with a Pinot Noir Reduction.
Since all entrees come with Onion Soup, Salad, Potato, Onion Rings and a veggie garnish on the plate, I couldn’t see ordering anything but a smallish amount of beef, even after a long day of shooting outdoor in the heat of the Florida sun.
My oh my! Everything was perfectly prepared and tasted yummy. Choosing a wine proved to be a challenge since their famous cellar houses over 6,500 labels. Fortunately, our friendly server Matt offered me a tasting of several bottles so I could more easily choose the perfect accompaniment to my meal.
All guests are offered the opportunity to tour the kitchen and the wine cellar, so after dinner, off we went. The kitchen was not only abuzz with dozens and dozens of workers, but spotless and an obviously well-oiled machine. Everything is prepared in-house and they even have their own vegetable gardens.
I am not a food critic nor a restaurant reviewer, however the next time you find yourself in Tampa, FL, pay a visit to Bern’s Steak House. You won’t be disappointed!