There’s a new restaurant at the Tampa Le Méridien: Here’s what to expect

TAMPA — Tampa’s historic Le Méridien resort says goodbye to Bizou Brasserie and howdy to Sal Rosa.

The restaurant on the second flooring of the downtown resort debuted its new Caribbean Latin focus in September after a renovation that up to date every thing from the menu to the furnishings to the flooring and added a brand new café and expanded bar/lounge space.

Main the kitchen is Govt Chef Jennifer Saalhoff, who got here to the resort in 2022 and has additionally overseen the menu at Bizou Brasserie.

A Sal Rosa sign is displayed outside the Le Meridien Hotel on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, in Tampa.
A Sal Rosa signal is displayed exterior the Le Meridien Resort on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, in Tampa. (Jeffrey Wu | Occasions)

The shift to a Latin-inspired menu was very intentional, stated Andrew Spicknall, basic supervisor at Evolution Hospitality, who has labored on the resort for about two years. He stated his staff at Sal Rosa partnered with Streetsense, a artistic consulting company that got here to the Tampa Bay space and assessed what was lacking within the close by culinary scene.

“They actually helped us establish the hole and alternative,” Spinall stated. “So we went with Caribbean/Latin delicacies. Downtown did not actually have that idea.

Saalhoff has been at work revamping the menu, from cocktails and brunch entrees to ice cream flavors on the new Cafe + Scoops positioned simply exterior the restaurant. Sal Rosa is open day by day for each meal, beginning at 6:30 a.m. seven days every week and serves signature breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.

Octopus at Sal Rosa on Friday, September 29, 2023 in Tampa.
Octopus at Sal Rosa on Friday, September 29, 2023 in Tampa. (Jeffrey Wu | Occasions)

Saalhoff developed new recipes over the course of 5 months, tweaking, including, subtracting and tasting meals along with her kitchen staff of about 10 folks to verify they knew the brand new menu in and out.

“I in all probability made these dishes 12 alternative ways,” she stated. “I make these recipes again and again.”

She was decided to make it stick collectively.

“It is undoubtedly a problem for our cooks to have menus which are distinctive in their very own manner,” Spicknall stated. “However she does an amazing job of creating certain the idea flows. Even our breakfast menu has lots of Latin aptitude.”

Cocktails include, back row from left, a sparkling sunset, a lychee caipirinha and a sal rosa raita.  Front and center is the Sunset Dragon.
Cocktails embody, again row from left, a glowing sundown, a lychee caipirinha and a sal rosa raita. Entrance and heart is the Sundown Dragon. (Jeffrey Wu | Occasions)
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Saalhoff has been a chef for 25 years and an govt chef for 15 years. She stated she began out in Manhattan, working with as many cooks as she may. She has drawn up a listing of names that might curiosity modern foodies: Tom Colicchio, Mario Batali, Daniel Boulud, Masaharu Morimoto.

“I used to go to Del Posto, Mario Batali’s restaurant, on my days off,” she stated. “You possibly can theater wherever in these days. I discovered loads.”

From there, she moved to Philadelphia and labored in a Cuban restaurant for 5 years earlier than beginning a profession within the resort trade. In Tampa Bay, she labored as a chef at Don CeSar and Sarasota Fashionable earlier than Spicknall employed her to work at Le Meridien in Tampa.

In lower than two years, I designed two very totally different menus. She enjoys the problem.

“I made Latin delicacies,” she stated. “I am accustomed to this type of delicacies and the flavors. However I am additionally massive on analysis. I did not need to utterly imitate and replicate it, however I attempted to be impressed by its flavors and reinterpret them utilizing totally different proteins.”

The menu is stuffed with acquainted Latin dishes that Saalhoff has put her stamp on, like ceviche that options sous vide octopus that has been chopped and seasoned. It is served with avocado puree, orange citrus sauce, and pressed Cuban bread topped with a topping of sun-dried tomatoes. Tangy charred hamachi and uncooked scallop crudo are one other gentle appetizer choice, served with pineapple granita, yuzu, cardamom, spicy salt and pickled fresnos.

Whole fried yellow snapper at Sal Rosa on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, in Tampa.
Complete fried yellow snapper at Sal Rosa on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, in Tampa. (Jeffrey Wu | Occasions)
Paella at Sal Rosa on Friday, September 29, 2023 in Tampa.
Paella at Sal Rosa on Friday, September 29, 2023 in Tampa. (Jeffrey Wu | Occasions)

Consistent with the Caribbean theme, the menu is stuffed with fish. There’s seafood paella, a deconstructed model of the traditional dish during which shrimp, clams, mussels and boiled lobster tail encompass a mound of rice. It’s served with saffron lobster broth. The entire yellowtail snapper is superb, with the fried fish sitting upright on the plate with its tail wrapped round a mattress of coconut rice and a mango-coconut curry sauce.

Jamaican jerk drums, that are fried till crispy and served with spicy jerk sauce and mango chutney, are extremely popular with diners, Saalhoff stated. Mole quick ribs are a hearty and flavorful choice, served with polenta buns, guajillo pepper jelly, almond chimichurri and mole sauce.

To renovate the restaurant house itself, the resort partnered with Ash, a design agency from New York Metropolis. They eliminated the wine wall and cabinets that fashioned a part of the lounge space, and opened them as much as enable extra gentle from home windows on the resort’s second flooring, which had beforehand been a courtroom.

The dining area at Sal Rosa on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, in Tampa.
The eating space at Sal Rosa on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, in Tampa. (Jeffrey Wu | Occasions)

“We took every thing out to make it an even bigger, brighter house,” Spinal stated. It was meatier, darkish and really heavy. We wished to lighten it up with our Caribbean and Latin theme.

The Sal Rosa staff is eager to interact diners past simply resort visitors. Two new “Sal Rosa” indicators are positioned exterior and going through busy Florida Road, letting passers-by know the restaurant is ready inside.

“The purpose is to draw folks from exterior. We undoubtedly need lots of native involvement,” Spinall stated. “There’s lots of new housing that wasn’t there earlier than. …We will meet the wants of resort visitors and other people from overseas alike.

A Sal Rosa banner is displayed outside the Le Méridien Hotel on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, in Tampa.
A Sal Rosa banner is displayed exterior the Le Méridien Resort on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, in Tampa. (Jeffrey Wu | Occasions)

When you go to Sal Rosa in Tampa

Sal Rosa is open from 6:30 a.m. to midnight Monday via Friday and seven a.m. to midnight Saturday via Sunday. Positioned on the second flooring of Le Méridien Resort, 601 N. Florida Ave., Tampa. 813-999-8214. salrosatampa.com.

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