There have been numerous times in the years that I have visited International Plaza in the Westshore area and walked by Gallery Bistro. Normally an employee attempts to court me into trying a sample, but I am either on my way to the mall or visiting another restaurant in the area. The free samples are a bit odd when the restaurant is surrounded by tons of restaurants with heavy traffic such as The Pub, Cheesecake Factory, and Capital Grille. I finally visited Gallery Bistro a few weeks ago after my sister kept raving about how great the food was there and my skeptical family had no appetite to wait in line for a seat at The Cheesecake Factory.
I assumed that Gallery Bistro was a restaurant chain during my other trips to the mall because the International Plaza is simply overrun with them, but to my surprise as I sat on my smartphone investigating their menu and reviews, Gallery Bistro is actually an independent and local establishment, which certainly needs to be advertised more. Reviews were all over the place, but most people said they liked the chips and lunch was preferable to dinner. Fair enough.
The menu was really diverse in a way that I was simply not expecting. Sandwiches, burgers, fish, salads, Asian cuisine, BBQ, you name it. The Apple Marmalade Burger caught my eye: 1/2 pound of beef, grilled apple, marmalade onions, provolone cheese, and honey mustard. Just reading the description made me very hungry. I ordered the burger medium-rare and hoped for the best.
The items ordered by the rest of my family also sounded and later tasted appetizing. The Amy Grant Wrap: Blackened chicken,pineapple-mango salsa, cheese, pine nuts, pecans, tomatoes, greens and raspberry vinaigrette. That may be the tastiest wrap description I have ever read honestly. My sister and Mom enjoyed the Thai Salmon which was cooked just right.
We ordered the Bam-Bam-Shrimp as an appetizer and not one shrimp was left standing. It was similar to Bonefish Grill and almost just as good.
I assembled my Apple Marmalade Burger and made my first bite apprehensively. This was either going to absolutely amazing or disgusting, with such an odd concoction of ingredients it could only go one way. As it turned out, the burger was absolutely delicious! The sweet flavors of the apple and the tangy taste of honey mustard went perfectly and the chef cooked the burger meat just right. This is honestly one of the best burgers I have enjoyed in Tampa Bay, no lie. I think this could be a serious contestant in a future Burger Showdown.
Many people think a burger is a simple and easy thing to make, but making a good burger is truly an art that few restaurants excel in. Indeed, I have had numerous bad or simply flavorless burgers just this year alone. The juiciness of the meat must stay in tact and it is important that all ingredients are fresh. Finally, the burger has to be composed correctly. There is nothing more aggravating than a burger that falls apart right after you make your first bite and I am happy to say that this burger had all the qualities of a great burger.
The blue cheese chips were a great substitution for regular french fries and I enjoyed them. If you love blue cheese, you will love these chips, but if not I think the chips would taste very good even if you removed the blue cheese.
Our waitress was very attentive and quick to put our order in and frequently checked on us to see how we were doing. During a trip to the bathroom, I saw the interior of the restaurant for the first time and was very impressed with how elegant and classy the interior was, with plenty of private spots throughout. Gallery Bistro should promote that more in my opinion.
Overall, Gallery Bistro has a great product. I really enjoyed my burger and would definitely return back in the future to try other things on their menu. I think the marketing of the restaurant should certainly focus more that they are an independent establishment and that they have a diverse menu, instead of using free samples which in my opinion never drew me inside. As an independent restaurant, Gallery Bistro should also make a greater effort to connect with the local community as well – the chains around them survive on their names alone.
Restaurant Name: Gallery Bistro
Address: 2223 N West Shore Blvd. Tampa, FL 33607
Phone Number: (813) 353-3838