It’s Saturday in the city, and the one place on my mind is Downtown St. Pete’s Tryst Gastro Lounge. Located at 240 Beach Drive NE, Tryst is right across from the Museum of Fine Arts. Open for almost a year, several of the restaurant/bar/lounge’s distinguishing features are the late night breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes.
Tryst has also earned a reputation for being one of St. Pete’s best outdoor dining spaces. Although, this could be true of one of many restaurants located on Beach Drive, so I’m anxious to experience it from the inside out.
I park a few blocks away, and my leisurely walk brings me right to Tryst’s open-air street bar and patio. The hostess is prompt, seating me quickly and without hesitation. The inside is dark with sparkling orange-gold colored walls behind the bar, reminding me of a dazzling disco ball.
There’s a trendy and modern feel throughout, from the romantic dot and drop like lighting to the Victorian style couches with voluptuous cushioned backs. The long white couch catches my eye. Fortunately, I am comfortably seated on it.
After several people pass by without a hello, I start to wonder who my server is. Finally, he makes an appearance, announcing the food and drink menus.
I ask which drinks are most popular, and he hurriedly responds, “There’s Green Envy, Walk on the Pier, or the Bramble.” It’s hard to keep his attention much longer to ask more about the menu or the specials, which I later overhear from another server.
Several of the specialty drinks go for about $10, and they feature fusions of muddled fruit. They also offer several wines, and more than 120 bottled and draft beers.
I order the Bramble, which consists of infused blackberries, Hendrick’s gin, a splash of lemon, a splash of champagne, mint, and a fresh blackberry garnish. I rate the mildly sweet beverage – with only subtle hints of gin and mint – as okay.
I also taste the Walk on the Pier, which includes strawberries, Kettle One vodka, basil and lemon. This drink fares better, with a vibrant fruity flavor, perfectly balanced by sweet strawberries and fresh basil. Refreshing and delicious!
The menu features seafood with chicken, beef, and other fusion recipes. I order the carrot-ginger soup with mint crème fraiche, priced at $8.
It’s served hot, but has a cool smoothness. The carrot flavors are bland but dense. Reminding me of squash, each taste introduces a spicy bite of ginger to the tongue. It is warm and good to the last spoonful.
The $16 Beef Carpaccio appetizer comes with a meaty tartare, truffled mustard, frisee, and young herb salad. The presentation is appetizing with a ripe red color in the most delicately placed medallion portions of raw meat. It’s like beef sushi, tender with a fresh tang, and spreadable on a baguette. The tartare is elegant and boasts hints of olive. The mostly arugula salad has a sharp bite that blends well with the meat.
I also order the $27 grilled tuna steak with vegetable and wild rice stir fry, decorated with blood orange and ginger sauce. The meat is a pretty pink with succulent texture, and the grilled exterior is mouth-watering with smoked flavor throughout. It’s hard to capture the orange flavor from the sauce and the rice is basic – the steak is the star of this dish.
Overall, the service wasn’t horrible, but as pricey and trendy as Tryst presents itself, I’d like to hear the specials from my own server next time rather than overhear them from the table next to me. Some dishes are a little overpriced, while others are worth the quality that is served. However, every bite of food at Tryst is good until it’s gone. It’s definitely a happening place to indulge and mingle inside or out.
Check out the full menus at www.trystgastrolounge.com or find them on Facebook.
Monday-Friday, 4p.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 3p.m. for late breakfast/early lunch, 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. for dinner (kitchen opens at 5 p.m.)
Tryst Gastro Lounge: 240 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701, (727)-821-4567