In the afterglow of West Tampa’s Noho Bistro comes Bistro Bleu.
Managing partner Tomas Carrasquillo describes the casually elegant eatery as “New American,” with dishes that Americans have grown up enjoying. But there’s also a sophisticated touch and an international influence.
“The restaurant is a constant evolution,” Carrasquillo says.
The menu at Bistro Bleu changes according to the seasons and availability of products. (It also features local items when available.) The wine and beer lists are no exception.
The wine list is constantly growing as Carrasquillo and co-owner Tina Hurless find the ideal matches to pair with their evolving cuisine. The craft beers also change seasonally.
Founded by Jessica Raia-Long in 2003 as a personal chef business, the company expanded when Hurless came on the scene. Eventually, the pair moved to a space on North Howard Street and so began the evolution. There the pair offered counter lunch service and full catering to a growing client list. NoHo Bistro was born.
Shortly after moving to the new space, the team decided to move yet again to a location on North Armenia. The business continued to grow; and in 2008, dinner was served.
When Long decided to leave the business in August 2010, Carrasquillo and Hurless bought her share of the restaurant. In April, Noho Bistro moved to its current location on South MacDill and became Bistro Bleu.
Among the many highlights on the menu are the Tuscan Chicken Pizza ($10) and the Lump Crab Cakes ($10). Their signature soup is a Sweet Potato Apple Soup with a swirl of crème fraiche ($7). If you’re looking for a lighter meal then go with the Shrimp and Crab Stuffed Avocado ($10). It’s a creamy avocado stuffed with delicious lump crabmeat and tender jumbo shrimp.
For an entrées, there is Spinach and Artichoke Ravioli ($16) with a pesto-Fontina cheese sauce. And there’s the house-made Gnocchi ($16), made with applewood bacon, spinach, caramelized onions and Gorgonzola sauce. Both are outstanding.
The menu also offers a nod to American cuisine with Pork Confit and Grits ($19). It’s made of stone-ground roasted shallow frits and house confit of pork, and served with broccolini.
There are exciting changes in store for this South Tampa gem. Carrasquillo points out that things will always be changing at Bistro Bleu.
Specifically, there are plans to remodel the north side of the dining room to allow for private dining. The owners also hope to have a full liquor license by the end of 2011.
If You Go:
What: Bistro Bleu
When: Lunch - 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Friday
Dinner - 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday
Where: 2402 S. Macdill Ave, Tampa