Watermelon, strawberries, chicken, ribs and beer are just some of the things that remind me it is going to start heating up outside. As we begin the hottest months of the year, Tony Roma’s has rolled out their “Savor the Flavor” menu and lucky for me, I got an invitation to sample all of it.
Now, before I even got a chance to really look at the menu, I was presented with a loaf of warm bread with a side of butter. Crisp on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, it was hard to resist such temptation. Who doesn’t like the smell and taste of fresh-baked bread???
Before I get too far ahead of myself, I should say that per Wikipedia Tony Roma’s is a “long running, family friendly steakhouse chain known for its ribs, onion loaf and Romarita® drinks.” Sitting down in the booth at the Sunny Isles location I was about to experience all three.
Starting of course with the two featured”Cool Down” drinks.
My first sip was from the Strawberry Lemon Mojito. Made with Bacardi® Silver, fresh lemon juice, strawberry purée, mint and muddled fresh strawberries it was certainly sweet enough. I barely tasted the Rum which is not always a bad thing, but almost always a dangerous one as this drink went down as quickly as sipping Kool Aid at a picnic. Pace yourself Lisa!
Clearly I was not about to drink both concoctions, so I happily poured the Summerberry Romarita® for my dinner companion. This bright red beverage is made with Sauza® Gold Tequila, Cointreau®, fresh lime juice, Monin® Black Raspberry and has fresh raspberries floating in it.
With drinks in hand and going down quickly, it was time to bring the food to mama! First to make it to the table, although not on the seasonal tasting menu, is both a favorite and a staple of the restaurant and therefore the chef insisted I taste it. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Tony Roma’s famous Onion Loaf…
Seriously, how cute is that? The thinly sliced onions are hand battered from scratch on premises are fried to perfection, and easily pulls off in bite size nibbles. Nestled in the tower of tastiness, for your dipping pleasure, is TR’s Original BBQ sauce.
The appetizer off the Savor the Flavor of the Grill menu is called the County Fair Accordion Potato. Again, this item is cut and battered on premises then deep fried and served with two different sauces to choose from… a horseradish crème and a ketchup with an added sriracha kick!
Personally I needed it to be a little more crunchy so I asked them to toss it back in for a few extra minutes of sizzle, which they graciously did. The potato peels apart easy enough so that each slice can be individually dipped.
With appetizers dwindling away our waitress brought over the calm before the storm. The Summer BBQ Chicken Salad. Eating your greens before your heaviest course is always a good idea, because, let’s face it, once the meats are out, there is no way you are going to save room for the veggies.
The colors, textures and tastes of this salad really do scream summer time fun. The lettuce mix, has grape tomatoes, avocado, cheddar cheese, bacon pieces, sunflower seeds, grilled corn nibbles, tortilla strips and a pickled grilled pineapple relish all tossed in with a sliced grilled BBQ chicken breast balancing on top. All though the fruit is hard to see, when you bite into one of the diced pieces, the sweetness is hard to miss. The chicken was moist, tangy and played well in the sandbox with the other flavors. Luckily I was splitting this item with my companion as it certainly could have easily been a whole meal by itself.
Finally it was time to loosen up our belts and bring out the big guns. Hand delivered to our table by the culinary manager Arturo Zuzunaga, the Summertime BBQ trio pretty much says it all.
The HUGE plate (or rather platter) features Tony Roma’s World-Famous Baby Back Ribs smothered in a Black Pepper BBQ sauce, grilled chicken with a peach & bourbon glaze, and grilled jalapeño sausage. The ribs were smoky and spicy with the meat just falling right off of them.
The 1/4 piece of chicken was super moist, sweet and sticky forcing you to lick your fingers after every bite.
The sausage, with visible pieces of jalapeño peppers, certainly brought a little bit of heat to the table. It is quite flavorful on its own, however, paired with the dipping sauce brought it to a whole other level. You can taste the hints of molasses and chili powder that make this grain mustard sweet and spicy, but it is the Samuel Adam’s Boston Lager they’ve mixed in that gives it a deep complexity that pairs well with the meat.
Now about those fries…. I adore them. If you are a fan of fries, and who isn’t, they will immediately take you to your happy place. And not just because I could spell out my name. You see it right?
Finally with our belly’s already bursting, we had to find room to squeeze in the sweetest ending to a great meal. The Peach and Blackberry cobbler for two arrived warm and gooey with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream melting into all the nooks and crannies of the sweet treat. Large chunks of peaches and full berries were certainly present in every last bite.
Sadly with the last lick of our spoons we knew it was time to go. Our lovely waitress, Elicia, handed me my to go bag and told us to be sure and visit again.
Oh, Elicia, Tony Roma’s and I have a love affair that won’t be ending any time soon. Until the next time, keep the Romarita®‘s chilled for me .