Fab steak dinner and half a million bottles of wine

When in the US it would be almost a little sinful not to visit a proper steak house. One of my colleagues told me to go to Bern’s Steak House in Tampa, http://www.bernssteakhouse.com/. It is one of those places you go to and it is an experience. The experience is the fantastic food, it is organic and very high quality, they have their own farm where they grow vegetables, they offer the best quality steaks and their wine cellar is just the kind of cellar that should you ever (not that I wish!) get locked in a cellar, this would be the one! I will get back to the wine.

Bern’s Steak House has been around since 1956. When you walk in it is almost sinister, very dark with big chairs to wait in but the service is nothing but the best and you feel looked after from the moment you pull up in the car and the valet is ready to open the door until the moment the valet brings your car and with another friendly smile and gently close the car door and direct you on to the road.

It has almost the feeling of a gentlemen’s club as you are walked to your table but it is only the decor. As soon as you sit down you are guided through the menu and your waiter, having trained for a full year before he/she is allowed to be a Bern’s waiter/waitress, can answer any question you might have, balancing the act of being attentive and still let you have time to choose.

I started with a glass of Delamotte, ‘Le Mesnil’ Brut, delicious and light as a feather to get going. The wine menu is something spectacular in itself. They don’t have a wine list, they have a wine book to choose from. if you ever found a wine list intimidating this could send you screaming with fear of seeming like an ignorant wine amateur! Luckily our very chilled out but friendly waiter was at hand.

Bern’s Steak House book of wines

The menu had a wonderful list of fish and seafood dishes that sounded delicious, they have a whole caviar menu that I would have loved to explore but Bern’s is a sacred place for the steak.

To go with the steak I knew I wanted a Pinot Noir from Oregon, they make some fantastic wines and Pinot Noir in particular (I think) and we had a few suggestions and settled for a Ken Wright Cellar, Nysa Vineyard 2009. It was light, less earthy than the Ramspeck and very smooth.

Having chosen the wine I had to enquire if it was correct that they actually have a wine cellar of 100,000 bottles. It was confirmed that this is correct but they also have another storage facility with approx 400,000 bottles, a wine connoisseurs heaven!

We settled for the Delmoncio cut, it is my favourite and shared 18oz between two, it proved to be absolutely enough. Delmonico is the eye of the rib (called “Rib-Eye” in meat circles). It is known, generally, for its richness; because of the greater quantity of fine fat grains – especially in the outer part of the eye and especially when cut nearer to the chuck end.

We started with Bern’s Steak House French Onion Soup au Gratin served with very dainty garlic and spelt toast.

After this it was time for the Steak House Salad and I have to say it was most likely the best salad I have ever eaten. It was a house salad served with, by my choice, blue cheese dressing. It didn’t need any of the dressing but it was just so delicious I could not resist it. Each vegetable seemed to just taste more of what it was, the carrot, the pepper, the iceberg lettuce, there was something special. The tomato was peeled and so sweet, the olive was perfectly marinated and the cheese grated on top was light and still full of flavour. I did have to leave some of it as otherwise I would not have been able to eat my steak but I wish I will eat salad like that again.

After this it was time for the steak. The Delmoncio is only served rare or medium rare. It arrived with onion rings, green beans and carrot salad on the plate, a baked potato with butter, sour cream, chives and bacon crumble and the only side dish I pro actively ordered, Black truffle creamed corn. I looked at the food and for a moment I felt a little like a poor contender in Man vs Food. It might have shown on my face as the waiter gently leaned over and whispered “concentrate on the steak”.

Delmoncio, perfectly cooked

Baked potato with everything on it

I took his advice, tasted everything and the steak did get my fullest attention until I tasted the back truffle creamed sweetcorn and I was completely lost. The steak was gorgeous, crispy but not burnt on the outside, The meat was so tender and juicy, cooked to perfection but the combination of black truffle, naughty cream and corn was irresistible.

If I would have been let out in the kitchen and had found a whole pot I would have eaten it, on my own and and spoon would have been too small, give me a ladle any time! As I live so far away I will give this a try at home and see if I can re create it! In the end I did come to a stop, I had to leave something on the plate and I left steak in order to be able to finish the creamed corn!

After that meal there was no room at all to visit the dessert room, such a shame as they have a long and most impressive cheese list that I would have loved to order from but it was time to head back to the hotel and nurse a very full but happy belly.

Before we left we took a tour in the wine cellar (the one with “only about 100,000 bottles!) and I had to admit I got wine envy! It was an amazing place and through locked doors we could see a crate that had their most expensive wine to date, a couple of bottles worth $30,000 each! Well, best left there but a great ending to a fantastic wine and dining experience!

2 Responses to “Fab steak dinner and half a million bottles of wine”
  1. That French Onion Soup looks amazing! You’re right, it would be rude not to go to a proper steak house when in the US.

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