Last week, I had the pleasure of sampling the menu at a Tampa area restaurant that was new to me: Catch Twenty-Three! Located in Westchase, Catch Twenty-Three serves food in a casual, upscale atmosphere…with a hint of Caribbean/Latin fusion. I was very excited to see what the menu had to offer, as Justin and I have passed by the restaurant many a time but had never dined there!
I met up with my friend Megan from I Run for Wine to experience Wine Lover’s Wednesday: Catch Twenty-Three offers an “all-you-care-to-drink” option for wine. For $15, ladies can select from four featured wines (Barone Fini Pinot Grigio, Kunde Cabernet, Wente Chardonnay, and Hobnob Pinot Noir…but selections might change over time). Gentlemen are also able to participate in Wine Lover’s Wednesday for $20.
Let’s get started with the food, shall we? Megan and I started with the Red Stripe Beer Calamari – it is marinated for 24 hours in Red Stripe Jamaican beer and served with a roasted red pepper remoulade. The calamari came out golden brown and perfectly crunchy, without being greasy – yum!
Next was a bowl filled with braised blue cheese mussels, with Applewood smoked bacon, lemon juice, white wine, and blue cheese crumbles. It was definitely a beautiful dish, and since I don’t eat mussels, Megan reported to me that she enjoyed them! I did like the addition of bacon; everything is better with bacon, right???
Next up was my personal favorite of the appetizers for the evening: the shredded pork and sweet plantains. This combination was absolutely delicious, and I wanted to fight Megan off so I could eat the entire plate by myself. Darn you, sharing! The dish featured fried plantains, slow roasted shredded pork, and guava barbeque sauce. The combination of sweet and savory was perfection, and it made me want to whip up a batch of pulled pork at home in my slow cooker soon…
I think everyone should be proud of me for the next dish: we were served the Crunchy Tuna Roll. Now, I am very new to sushi – I typically only select options that feature cooked fish or have no fish at all. This was the first time I actually consumed raw tuna. And I actually liked it in the sushi roll – can someone please give me a gold star? The Crunchy Tuna Roll contained spicy tuna and avocado, and was topped with crunchy tempura on the outside. Add a slice of ginger and some soy sauce, and it was a perfect bite.
The Catch salad featured mixed greens, carrot, red onion, tomato, and a citrus vinaigrette dressing. The citrus dressing was just right: not overpowering, and added the perfect amount of sweetness.
The main courses were up next. Megan and I sampled three different options: the Chilean Sea Bass with mango salsa, the Guava Salmon wrapped in Applewood smoked bacon, and the Macadamia Nut Encrusted Scallops. Chilean Sea Bass is always a favorite of mine (but I hardly ever order it), so being able to enjoy the buttery, smooth texture of the fish was a treat! The scallop was crusted to a perfect golden brown as well!
On to dessert! I wasn’t sure if I had the space in my stomach, but I did manage once we were presented with two slices of pie. The Key Lime Pie was served with fresh whipped cream and lime zest. Now, I am particular with key lime pie (honestly, the best key lime pie I’ve ever had is STILL from J.J. Gandy’s), but this slice actually impressed me. It wasn’t overly tart, and the filling was nice and smooth. It would be a refreshing (and classically Floridian) way to end a meal!
However, my heart always goes pitter patter for anything involving chocolate, and the other pie was a slice of Catch Twenty-Three‘s Chocolate Mousse Pie. It was thick, it was rich, it was decadent: I was in heaven.
All in all, we had a wonderful experience dining at Catch Twenty-Three, and I’m looking forward to returning on another evening. And, if you’re looking for somewhere to eat tonight in the Tampa area, make sure you head in to enjoy Wine Lover’s Wednesday!
Do you like dining at seafood restaurants?