When St. Petersburg Foodies co- creator Lori Brown suggested I review The Lure, that cool, brick-walled open great room concept place on Central with funky wall murals, birch art and pool tables, I said:
'Great, love that place.'
So I went back to try some items besides sushi (which is always very good), started researching the menu, which is voluminous, and said,
'Ummm, wait. This menu is an extended road trip. Yikes'
Then I went back with my friend Deb, who didn't like a menu item (The Kenny, under-cooked scallops), and owner Tom Golden gave us a couple of complimentary menu item cards after she dropped a monster frown face bomb on the unsuspecting host.
Ummmm, Weight, this review gig is adding to my pre-holiday training.
The place is good. Casual, nice bar scene, friendly staff, indoor outdoor dining this time of year in Florida.
Interesting cross section of patrons around noon on a Tuesday. Office ladies on lunch break, young couples with gaga eyes for each other and the sushi. Hip 'Burgers sitting at the bar drinking too early in the day. Dogs strolling down Central. A few scalawags short on lunch money circling.
Pure downtown St Pete.
Interesting quick story about day drinking:. I worked at a high end resort in Vail, Colorado after I graduated from CSU. First gig, Lodge at Vail.
Great Dane Head Chef, Eric Christensen, 'It MUST be Danish Blue Cheese.' OK, Chef.
We all had to work a breakfast shift a week. Then the skiing. One day they closed the lifts because of high winds. No schussing. Beers at 10 am. Chef Eric walked past us, stopped and said 'Beer in za mahwning. One is too many, 16 not enough.'
We went all in on the 16. Brilliant.
OK, back to the task.
But what to eat? This menu covers three continents.
There's no rhyme or reason to what folks are ordering. A lot of sushi going out. Then a rush of tacos, wait, meatballs, flat breads with all kinds of toppings, are those tater tots? Really fresh looking salads breeze by our booth on the first round.
What's the Anchor Entree in this Joint? Sushi and Tapas and Wings, oh my!
Seaweed salad was fresh, flavorful, not too filling. A nice change of pace, actually.
Spicy Tuna and Spicy Yellowtail sushi rolls were mirrors of each other. Uber fresh, good kick it up wasabi and ginger sides nice, not stingy with the fish, with good cucumber background and roe on the Yellowtail.
Almost enough, but Sarrina wanted Spicy Salmon. She loved it. Not the fish for me.
Another day we started with Tuna and Avocado salad. Nice ginger edge, fresh fish, what you'd expect. Followed it up with a Tapas creation called 'The Miller.' Spiced (well, deliciously), seared duck breast over sweet potato mash and balsamic and bacon green beans. Those were good. Brussels Sprouts just might be better. Crispy bacon always welcome here.
That was great. Flavorful, easy to split, messy enough you could get your fingers in there so we took a little bacon then we took a little beans.
Black eye pea hummus with roasted red peppers, kalamata olives and garlic wonton chips and fresh veggie bites also creative and good.
Last trip there we went light (edamame), nice salty edge, steamed just right. Then were taken down and counted out by the McHangar. A sloppy, unctuous flatbread offering with marinated Hangar Steak, Gorgonzola and (thank you!) fresh arugula to deflect the big flavor steak and cheese Godzilla meal.
Haven't gotten to the tacos yet. Being from the west, we eat tacos and sushi in different restaurants. Taco snob in me says no, gracias.
Portions are decent sized, but I have to say a bit pricey. $27+ for a couple of tapas and no drinks. Not cheap.
But the feel of the place is urban, warm and welcoming. Understated hip.
I'll go back with my entrée card and open up my mind to tacos, hold the wonton chips. They serve those at that Hawk joint, I believe.
The Lure has a hip vibe and eclectic menu items ranging from grasshopper tacos to some of the best sushi in Downtown St. Petersburg.