Unique Steak Experience: Bern’s, Tampa

26 Apr

From the outside, Bern’s Steak House is a plain white building with few windows, marked by a plain sign. However, its size hints at the gastronomic adventure to come. Inside, the many dining rooms of the Steak House are bustling; we sat at the end of the long Rhone Room.

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We kicked off our meal with steak tartare and heart-shaped toasts. The regular portion is large enough for 2-3 people to share.

Bern's Steakhouse: steak tartare

Perfectly grilled butterflied shrimp served with two slices of garlic crostini. DSC01573

Unlike most steakhouses of this caliber, steak entrees at Bern’s come with appetizers and sides: French onion soup and a simple garden salad.Bern's: French onion soup Bern's: salad

I ordered a 7 oz Chateaubriand, which arrived a perfect medium-rare as I had requested. The steak had a great crust and a melt-in-your-mouth red interior. It was accompanied by the best fried onion strings I’ve ever had – delicately battered, and not greasy at all. Shredded carrots and sauteed kale were the vegetables of the day – probably not something I would have chosen on my own, but alright.

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My husband’s steak:

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The baked potato prepared tableside was interesting, but I didn’t appreciate that the server tore into each potato with ungloved hands.Bern's: bakes potatoBelow: Bern’s wine book – there are thousands of bottles of wine to choose from, ranging from $20 to the 1947 Loudon at $30,000, and  150 wines available by the glass.

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One of the highlights of the Bern’s dining experience is the whirlwind kitchen tour. We saw the preparation of the steaks (it takes 3-4 pounds of beef to produce one pound of steak that will make it to a diner’s plate!), the salad station, cheese slices being placed over bowls of French onion soup…  A coffee bean grinder sat against one wall – at Bern’s, coffee is roasted daily, and imperfect beans are picked out individually, by hand!

The wine cellar is home to rows and rows of numbered wine bottles. Bern’s has over 600,000 bottles of wine (some are stored off-site.) Yes, Bern’s wine collection is one of the largest in the world.

DSC01597Dinner at Bern’s is not complete without a trip upstairs to the Harry Waugh Dessert Room, where you can sit in your own private nook, enclosed by panels from recycled wine barrels. The trio of liquid center chocolate cakes was fantastic! Though the cakes might look small, they were very filling.

DSC01610The macadamia nut sundae served in a waffle bowl is a best-seller but I worried that would be too much ice cream for me. Instead, I ordered The Midas (a scoop of that ice cream over a piece of carrot cake). The carrot cake was nutty and dense, served with an extra boat of chocolate sauce! However, I was disappointed that the cake was not served warm. Next time I’ll be sure to ask for that. Or perhaps I’ll just get the sundae – the macadamia nut ice cream is probably the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted.

To accompany dessert, I recommend Bern’s cappuccino, made with espresso beans soaked in chocolate and Kahlua. Yum. Or, get an Irish coffee – smooth, with a hint of mint.

The Final Word: Bern’s Steak House offers a unique dining experience with solid steaks and an unbeatable wine list. It’s the Dessert Room I can’t wait to go back to though, with a terrific selection of desserts and dessert wines and coffees.

Info: Bern’s Steak House, 1208 S. Howard Avenue, Tampa, FL 

Bern's Steak House on Urbanspoon

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3 Responses to “Unique Steak Experience: Bern’s, Tampa”

  1. Annie April 26, 2015 at 3:48 pm #

    Oh my! It’s been years ago, but when I lived near Tampa, it was a treat to dine at Bern’s Steak House. Great review!

    • BusyFoodie April 27, 2015 at 10:11 pm #

      Thanks, I’m glad you liked my review!

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