Well, while I have known that GrillSmith has been open for dinner now for about 3-4 weeks, I had not been able to make it by until last night. Some friends wanted to take me out for dinner and asked where I would like to go. So my thoughts leaned towards Grillsmith.
Grillsmith is a concept that is backed by some people from the Melting Pot chain, Marty Blitz of Mise En Place fame in Tampa, and a former managing partner of Carabba's Italian restaurant. I am sure you know my feelings towards Marty Blitz of Mise En Place in Tampa. So I was excited to try it.
It is located in the just off Countryside Blvd. in the Countryside Plaza shopping area. This is south and across the street from the Countryside Mall.
Even though they have not started advertizing yet, they are already quite busy. They do not take reservations, even for large groups, but you can call ahead and have your name placed on the wait list. I highly recommend this. I called at 5:50 PM and said we would be a group of 9 at 7. They said that would be fine. They seated us at 7:05 and were apologizing for seating us late. I told I was very happy with their timeliness.
The interior is glass, dark woods, and ceramic tiles. They have an open cook line similar to what they have at Carabba's. Imagine that. There is also a full bar and a terrace area for the smoking crowd. The terrace area also fans with misters to help lower the temps.
The menu is quite varied. The entrees run the range from steaks and chicken to pizzas, burgers, nine different entree-sized salads, fish, etc. I had something called Chicken Portobello Stack. This was a full boneless chicken breast with sliced portobello mushrooms on top covered with Jack cheese and a white New Orleans style BBQ sauce. It was excellent. With it was fresh steamed broccoli crowns and shredded cheddar hash browns. You also some other starch choices but the hash browns intriqued me. The meal was, I think, $10.99. To this, I added a excellent side salad for $1.99. My wife had macadamia covered grouper filet for $12.99. Another person had a steak with a chimmichurri sauce and was very pleased with it. I don't remember any of the entrees running over $12-13 and many were less. Also, some of the diners had side salads with a raspberry vinegarette that said it was excellent. One nice small point, the tomatoes on the salads were excellent. This is one of the small details that I always look at in a restaurant.
We did not get to try any of the appetizers as many of the diners were on diets. They also have some nice desserts in the $3-3.50 range.
Even as busy as they were, we never felt rushed but did have their attention to the point that we never had to ask for anything.
Leave it to be said, we had a fantastic time. The special occasion meal felt like one and I did not have to put up with the waiters singing to me.
I highly recommend GrillSmith. The address is 2539 Countryside Blvd. in Clearwater and their phone number is 726-6061. Also, they just started opening for lunch also.