Boulon Brasserie, Tampa, FL

When I moved to downtown Tampa in 2009 there was next to nothing to do. Restaurants and bars were few and most of them weren’t great. Now, downtown Tampa is a completely new city.

One of the exciting new restaurants on Water St. is Boulon Brasserie. The beautifully decorated French bistro is equally enticing to the eyes as it is to the taste buds.

My girlfriend and I went for an early dinner and decided to order apps and soups as our meal.

We started with the escargot because I love it, and I wanted to compare it to Ponte’s, the highly anticipated restaurant that recently opened in Midtown Tampa. The presentation is very similar and they were both cooked perfectly. The escargot at Boulon was in a delicious garlic oil that was prefect for dipping bread, which I’m very glad our waitress Kayla suggested we order.

We also had the blue crab beignets with a spicy remoulade. The beignets were somehow fluffy and dense, with a wonderful but not overpowering crab flavor. The spicy remoulade was incredible. I wanted to put it on everything we ordered.

Next we had the shrimp nola. There were four large shrimp in a rich Creole sauce. The shrimp and sauce was also delicious, not too heavy despite being so rich, and the shrimp was cooked perfectly. Compared to everything else, the biscuits were just average. They reminded me of the frozen biscuits we buy at Sam’s Club.

We ended with the soup. I ordered the onion soup gratinée, because I love French onion soup. It’s basically a staple in Buffalo, and I try to order it anywhere I see it.

The cheese was the prefect amount of broiled and melted, and had a wonderful cheese pull. It was a lot of cheese, but it cut easily (no scissors required) and I love cheese so no complaints here. The broth wasn’t too salty and the onions were cut small and cooked just right. It was delicious.

My girlfriend ordered the tomato bisque. It came with a petit brioche grilled cheese and it was so cute and so tasty. The soup wasn’t too acidic and had a nice smooth consistency. The little sandwich was perfect for dipping and was nice and toasty on the outside with the cheese nice and melty on the inside. Because of personal preferences I liked the onion better but I would eat both of these every single day.

We had grand plans to share a dessert but were too full after all that food. We’ll use that as an excuse to go back, not that we need one. Everything was delicious and I can’t wait to go back and try more.

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