Wine Dine and Play: June 2017

Ciro's Speakeasy and Supper Club










Shhhhhh! - This Is A 1920s Prohibition-Themed Venue  
Tampa, Florida, USA
Cuisine Style: New American Restaurant
Average Price: $$$
Overall Rating: 5/5
Dined in: May 2017
By Sean Overpeck (CFE)
**A full article and index glossary of restaurants, wines, recipes and travel for 
Wine Dine and Play are in the pages section above, or by following these links:



Ciro's Speakeasy and Supper Club Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Executive Chefs:
Ro Patel and Gordon Davis


Ciro’s Speakeasy and Supper Club brings the roaring twenty’s back to life…So, what do we really know about speakeasies, how they came about, why, and what made them disappear. Today they are coming back into style as restaurants and bars following the same protocols of those in 1920s America. In Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida there are several such new speakeasy restaurants and bars that are popping up. For my wife and I’s birthday we met up with my parents and went to a speakeasy that my wife had heard about. They were given the following accolades; OpenTable Diner’s Choice award 2015, Best Cocktail Bar in Tampa by Yelp: 2013, 2014, & 2015, and named in the Top 10 Most Romantic Restaurants in Tampa Bay by USA TODAY in 2015.


The speakeasy clubs began making a silent comeback in New York during the 1990s with bars like Milk and Honey. Ciro’s is rated as South Tampa’s finest cocktail bar serving an elite list of handcrafted cocktails true to the prohibition era. The mixologists create handcrafted cocktails that intrigue both your palate and senses. The bar and restaurant are located in the Bayshore Royal Building, and though it is a full-service restaurant, you must be 21 years or older to enter.

They opened in 2010 to the theme of low lights, candles on the tables, and soft jazz music to create the speakeasy ambiance upon arrival. You make your reservation, they are called back and given the password of the day. When you arrive there are no signs to help guide you, only a wood door that you knock on. A small peephole to the door opens, and you give the password. If you are correct, they let you in. Valet is available on the weekends, otherwise, you park in the area that says for residents only. There are also strict rules listed on their website:

PLEASE, SPEAKEASY.
KEEP YOUR VOICE AT A REASONABLE LEVEL. PLEASE REFRAIN FROM YELLING, CURSING, HOOTING, HOLLERING, OR BEING A BRO
PROPER ATTIRE REQUIRED
COLLARED SHIRTS FOR MEN, NO FLIP FLOPS.,NO SHORTS, NO BALL CAPS
PLEASE BE PATIENT, OUR DRINKS ARE LABOR INTENSIVE
NO NAME DROPPING, WE ARE NOT IMPRESSED
The Ciro's Bar
The first rule along with the hooting rule, unfortunately, were not followed by several guests, even though it is the motto of a speakeasy. They set these rules down, but the service staff or managers did not enforce it. Instead of speaking easy and being quite to respect others, the table that we all sat at was next to a group of loud and rowdy people. We had to ask to move just to hear each other in conversation, so the staff was kind enough to put us in a private room at no extra charge. The low lit lights and candles added to the theme, as did the furnishings, paintings, and wood textures that resembled the upper-class hangouts during the roaring twenties. The bar area had a few booths and cocktail tables, and opposite that was a hall with semi-private booths on both sides with lace curtains drawn, where we originally were before being moved to the private rooms at the end of the hall. 

Menu:
    • From the Pantry
    • From the Farm
    • From the Sea
    • Desserts


The bar list had a combination of classic and modern crafted cocktails, that were very time to consume to prepare, and had many ingredients to each beverage. When placing a drink order it took about 15 minutes before they were delivered, and this included wine as well, which my stepmother was drinking. My Old Fashioned, for example, had Old Forester 86 proof Bourbon, Demerara sugar, Angostura and orange bitters. My wife ordered the Aviation; a cocktail which comes right from the pages of Hugo Enslin 1916 self-published cocktail book, containing Plymouth Gin, muddled lemons + garnish, maraschino cherry, and Crème de violette. Other drinks we ordered included the Paloma and Angels Envy. 

From the pantry section of the menu came the starters, but if you're only interested in lite bites then this menu would do well for you also. Options included the land and sea tartare with fried oysters, quail egg, and a grilled baguette. Also, they had options of a black truffle popcorn, or duck fries with cocoa ketchup, garlic aioli, and a chipotle-maple gravy. My wife and I shared the Cheese Fondue with Gruyere, cooked down with a German Riesling, served with a house-made pretzel incorporated with wild mushrooms, and chives. The fondue had a wonderful crisp flavor canceling the heavy salt from the pretzel. 
Cheese Fondue with pretzel
We all ordered our entrees from the land section of the menu where they had selections such as seared lamb with parsnip purée, broccolini, and a  berry glacé, or a strip steak. My father ordered the chicken and waffles dish which was a very generous size portion served with two poached eggs, buttermilk fried chicken, and a chili molasse. My father is a fan of this dish and has ordered it several times in the different restaurants around Tampa that we have dined in. When we went to Edison Food + Drink Lab, he quoted me as saying that was the worst chicken and waffle he had ever had. Here at Ciro’s, he gave two thumbs up. I had one bite, and from my observation, the chicken was crispy on the outside, plus moist and filled with flavor from the inside. The molasses gave the dish a nice sweet spice combination, that took me by surprise as well. I would order this dish.

My wife enjoyed a salad, while my stepmother had the Ciro’s Burger with duck fries. Prime ground beef cooked to order and topped with pickled cabbage and onions, a tomato-habanero jam, malt vinegar aioli, all put together on a house-made brioche bun. It was delightful.
Ciro's Burger
Unfortunately, there was one entree not up to par, and that was mine with the char siu duck. Confit duck legs with a Korean citrus gochujang chili paste, and forbidden arroncini, which are Sicilian stuffed rice balls. In this recipe, they are made with forbidden rice, a Japanese furikake seasoning and then coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried. The plate is then garnished with white sesame seeds and cilantro. The presentation looked amazing, but for the price, there was very little duck, and I believe that the black rice selection is what made the arroncini very un-enjoyable for me in this dish. Though it is an ancient grain and one of the healthiest rice selections to choose from, to me it had a very overpowering flavor and has to be paired delicately as to not compromise the main star of the dish, in this case, the duck.

Dessert:
Two dessert options were available and as my wife and I were celebrating our birthday, I did order one for all of us to share. Their selections were a chocolate fondue with churro waffle bites, assorted fruits, and the ganache. Since we had their starter fondue, we went with the second choice; milk and cookies. Four cookies of the chef’s choice with a cereal and brandy milk punch presentation. The beverage was in an old glass bottle with flip-top cork enclosure in a bucket of ice, and the cookies nice and warm to the side. The cookies tasted good, but it took them twenty-five minutes to come out.
Milk and Cookies
Please see these guidelines for Tipping in Restaurants and on following proper etiquette, customs, cultures, and avoiding assumptions when you dine out.


A little history behind the speakeasy concept:

There are many answers to the question about what a speakeasy is. The history of how they began cannot be argued as that is the way it is. The first one to exist was in Pittsburg, 1880 and was known as an unlicensed saloon (speak-easies), so called because of the practice of speaking quietly about such a place in public, or when inside it, so as not to alert the police or neighbors. One of the rules that are still practiced today is the tradition of speaking quietly while inside and is a Ciro House Rule, which as I mentioned earlier was not enforced. The speakeasies were also known by the terms "blind pig" and "blind tiger.” They became extremely popular in the 1920s thanks to the passing of the 18th Amendment (January 16, 1919) to the United States Constitution also known as the Volstead Act, making the production or sale of any alcohol in the United States illegal. The fact that Government tried to control what an individual could or could not do had many negative effects that should have been foreseen before the Amendment’s passage. 

One of these effects was placing tens of thousands of people out of work, from brewery employees, bartenders, to grape growers in California. The second negative effect was that though more speakeasies were created to go against the law, many were controlled by organized crime figures. The Amendment was designed to reduce crime, but instead, it tripled it and brought great power to criminals in Chicago and other places. The original purpose of this bill which was first proposed during World War One and had great support by the public because it was believed to be unpatriotic to use much-needed grain to produce alcohol instead of supporting the troops at war. Secondly, many of the large brewers and distillers were of German origin, which added the additional support of many to pass the bill. At one time, there were thought to be over 100,000 speakeasies in New York City alone, and New Jersey claimed there were 10 times as many as before the amendment. The same became true all over the nation. 

Another lesson that should be learned is that when you forcibly tell an individual they can’t do something, then they do it even more. The speakeasies of the 1920s were popular for that very reason, increasing the popularity of alcohol one hundred fold, and created some of the most ruthless gangsters in American histories, like Al Capone. Comparisons can be made today as history repeats itself with the illegal narcotic laws. It has resulted in more drug use and created horrific people like Pablo Escobar and those that came after him. Yet, go to a country that has legalized narcotics, and the crime rate drops as does the number of people using them. When the 18th Amendment was finally repealed in 1933, the crime rate went down as did the use of drinking alcohol. Go figure!


Other Noteworthy New American Cuisine Articles & Restaurants:
Alinea Highly creative new American molecular gastronomy tasting menus in Chicago, Illinois 
Brick and Mortar Rustic-chic new American dining in St. Petersburg, Florida
Chill Restaurant & Bar New American Cuisine, tapas, and exotic cocktails in St. Pete Beach
Harvest Moon Café Farm-to-Fork Daily changing new American fare menu in Sonoma, California
Jekyll Island Seafood Company, New American Seafood Restaurant, Atlanta Airport, Atlanta, Georgia
Lobby at Twelve Boutique hotel bistro, new American, and Southern favorites at Atlantic Station, Atlanta 
Moshulu New American dining on a restored ship in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Samantha’s Restaurant Mellow new American fare in North Canton, Ohio 
The Mad Hatter Waterfront upscale new American cuisine on Sanibel Island, Florida 
The Mill Restaurant New American fare with a southern spin in St. Petersburg, Florida
Z Grille Colorfully inspired twists on American Classics in St. Petersburg, Florida
Zinc Bistro and Bar Southwestern-inspired new American fare in San Antonio, Texas

See the whole list by visiting “The Wine Dine and Play Article Glossary

Other Tampa restaurants and articles on Wine Dine and Play:

Upscale eatery with butchery at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
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Tampa, Florida, USA
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Tampa, Florida, USA
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Tampa, Florida, USA

A Few Florida Favorites:

Fine-dining waterfront spot for grilled fish and steaks
Indian Shores
Old-world classic Italian & Mediterranean
New Smyrna Beach
Old School Rustic Tuscan
Gulfport
Locally Sourced Café for Southern Grub
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Upscale Pan Asian Fare w/sushi
Orlando
Key West
Landmark bar since 1851, where Jimmy Buffet got his start

See the whole list by visiting “The Wine Dine and Play Article Glossary by country




Final notes, review basics, observations and more pictures:

Most reviews are subjective, depending on the writer; but they should also be responsible, and respectfully written, upholding the truth, and accurately conveying the experience to the best of the writer's knowledge, even if it includes metaphors the restaurant may not like to read about. My ratings are by the stars I award (from 0 to 5). The rating is calculated on a point accumulation of six separate factors based on individual experience. They include wine and other beverage selections, plate presentation, customer service, restaurant or café ambiance, food quality, and wow factor. To see more details of this rating list, read this article:

Overall from this experience and the score factors outlined in the ‘about page’ section, based on my individual experience and rating, I give Ciro’s a 5 out of 5 stars, meaning that they not only exceeded my expectations and were far above the average dining experience of most restaurants, but they also surpassed outstanding and were an extraordinary experience.
Scores are detailed in the factor chart below:

Formula Factor Conclusions and Overall Ratings
Max Points Possible:
Total Points Awarded:
Total Points deducted:
Ambiance
10
10
0
Food quality
10
8
2
Plate presentation
9
8
0
Customer service
9
7
2
Alcohol and other beverages
10
9
1
Total regular points awarded
48
42
5
Total percentage Before Bonus

0.875

“Wow” factor BONUS
5
3
0
Total bonus percentage

0.0625

Total percentage with a bonus for the final star rating

0.9375

Stars Awarded (see chart below)
             0 - 5
5

**A full break down and explanation of the observations and point disbursement is available in the linked article above. To receive a detailed copy of your score, feel free to contact me at any time and I will provide it to you.**






***

Overall Star Rating:
5 of 5 Stars: 
94% Rating with a 3 point “wow” bonus
An Extraordinary Dining Experience
Corkage fee’s:
This Restaurant does not list any corkage fee’s however, most American restaurants charge 
$25.00 per bottle
Restaurant style:
Conservative dining
Cuisine Style:
American
Allergen or dietary accommodations: 
Farm to Fork, Gluten Free, Local, Low Carb, Pescatarian, Sustainable, Vegetarian options
Reservations:
Required
Walk-Ins:
Not accepted
Dress code:
Conservative attire
Child policy:


The Restaurants reviewed on this site may have a kids menu or cater to them; however, for full enjoyment of food and wine, it is recommended that kids not to be in attendance, unless they have been trained in proper etiquette. 
If not then:
Hire a Babysitter! 
Experiences:
Place for foodies, Contemporary, Trendy, Lounge, Romantic, Hotspot, Great bar, Good for special occasions, Beautiful décor, Intimate, Classy, and a Neighborhood Gem.
Payments:
Cash, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express
Parking:
Valet or a Private lot
cash valet fee of $5 Thursday - Saturday evenings
Wifi
The restaurants reviewed on this site may have Wi-Fi, but do not require you to go online, because the excitement of the food and wine alone will keep you too entertained instead of checking your social media and emails.
Noise level:
Loud
Smoking:
Nonsmoking restaurant
Patio or terrace:
No




Food Prices 
(excludes, alcohol, taxes & 20% gratuity’s)

$£€¥ -                Under 50.00 (inexpensive)
$£€¥ x 2 -          51.00- 99.00 (moderate)
$£€¥ x 3 -          Over 100.00 (pricy)
$£€¥ x 4 -          Over 200.00 (expensive)
$£€¥ x 5 -          Over 400.00 (very expensive)


**Currencies reflect the world’s major travelers, restaurant, or wine connoisseur’s**

Currency:
Price
United States Dollar (USD)
$$
Great Britain Pound Sterling (GBP)
££
Canadian Dollar (CAN)
$$$
Chinese Yuan (CNY)  
¥¥¥¥¥
European Union (EUR)
€€

 Alcohol prices:

$93.00 USD



Ciro’s Speakeasy and Supper Club:

2109 Bayshore Blvd
Tampa, Florida 
33606


Contact Information: 
Restaurant website:
Maître d or host:
+1 813-251-0022
Online reservations
Website Contact:
Serving hours:
Eastern Standard Time
(GMT, Zulu, or UTC - 5:00)
Sun-Wed:
5:00 pm - 1:00 am
Thur-Sat:
5:00 pm - 3:00 am
Happy Hour: Mon-Fri 
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Social Media 
Accolades:
Facebook link                





****
The worlds best restaurants is a subjective list of who is writing it and changes on a regular basis. The Wine Dine and Play best experiences are based on my highest rated stared restaurants, meaning that the visit was an outstanding or extraordinary experience. From cafés, chains, mom + pops, hole in the walls, to fine dining including a few Michelin spots. Visit the Top 100 page to see the entire list.

A few to tease you with…

High Rise Fine Global Dining, Highest Restaurant In The World
Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE
Elegant Modern Australian with Molecular Gastronomic dining 
Melbourne, Australia
Haute French Restaurant
Paris, France





Other Pictures:

Private Booths
Chicken and Waffles
Craft Cocktails
Private dining room
Ciro's Burger with duck fries
Server delivering cocktails
Char Sit Duck
Front Entrance
Brandy Milk


“Culinary perfection consists not in doing extraordinary things, 
But in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.”

-Angelique Arnauld (1591-1661)


Who is John Galt?
TTFN






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