Restaurant Review – Lee Roy Selmon’s
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So, I got an email a couple of weeks ago announcing that Lee Roy Selmon’s Sports Restaurant is letting kids eat free on Mondays…and they wanted to know if I would mind taking my family in to give them a test drive. So, you know I said yes. Otherwise, you’d be staring at a blank page and wondering why you were here. So, for those who still don’t know: Yes, we were given a free meals in exchange for a review. And as always, the opinions in this review are mine and mine alone. (And also, my wife’s and kids’.) So let’s get started on this culinary adventure.
Trying New Things
Okay, I’ve been to Lee Roy Selmon’s before. But it was always with a buddy of mine when we worked over in the Westshore area. Usually once or twice a year, we’d make a Selmon’s run and go grab some awesome burgers for lunch. We’d sit in the bar, eat lunch and watch sports. Loved it. But when I heard they were doing a promo about letting kids eat free on Mondays in July, my first thought was, “Wait…aren’t they more of a sports bar?”
So we went in and man, was I wrong. Mostly my previous impression is because we always ate in the bar area, hence me not seeing any kids. (Also, lunchtime midweek means you won’t be seeing a ton of ‘family activity’ going on, either.) It’s not a sports bar with good food. It’s a great restaurant that has a lot of televisions in it. Which mostly have sports on them.
We sat down and started the fun.
First, I ordered a Smokin’ Tampa Tea for Two. And, yes, I shared it…begrudgingly. The photo doesn’t do it justice, though. That’s dry ice in the bottom there. Nice touch!
Then we ordered an appetizer. I would have gone with the nachos or something, but when my son heard ‘shrimp’ he yelled out, “I want shrimp, daddy!” We ordered the Cedar Plank Shrimp. My son grabbed a shrimp off of the plank before I could even get a picture snapped! And they didn’t last long enough to get another shot. Also, that little souffle cup back there? That’s loaded down with a garlic horseradish aioli that was so good, I had to rescue it off of the plate to eat with my french fries.
Next came my wife’s Caesar Salad. A little cracked black pepper and it would have been phenomenal. The Tampa Tea for Two was running low, so my wife opted for something I would never order…but mostly because I don’t do martinis. (Bet you didn’t know that’s the ONLY reason I never played Bond in the movies.)
I give you the Strawberry Basil Martini. It came with a fresh strawberry garnish on the glass…but I wasn’t quick enough to snap a shot while it was still up there.
That’s bits of fresh strawberry and basil floating around in there! While my wife enjoyed it, she said she preferred the Smokin’ Tampa Tea for Two.
I’ll get to the grown up stuff in a minute. But for now, let’s talk about the kids. I mean, this IS the reason we went to dinner. (That, and I loves me some free food.) But one thing I look for when we take the kids out, is how they are treated as customers. So often, kids are just an afterthought. Some places either don’t have separate kids’ menus or you have to ask for them. I love their kids’ menus for several reasons. Colors! Activities! They are big! And they have more selections than your standard fare.
Most offer burgers and chicken and mac. These guys go a bit further. I mean, ribs? It’s nice to see a menu that takes kids who eat grown-up food into account. And the sides? They come with fries (except the mac & cheese) but you can substitute any of the sides from the grown-up menu. Nice!
My youngest chose the Mac & Cheese Doubleplay. He’s a much pickier eater than my oldest son, so this is usually a pretty generic ‘go-to’ item. I will say, I was a little bummed out that it was Kraft Mac and Cheese. I know some kids love the stuff, but I don’t buy it at home because of the artificial coloring in it. I would LOVE it if Lee Roy Selmon’s were to step up their game in this department and make some home made Macaroni and Cheese for the kids. They rest of their food is so good, I can’t imagine it would be bad. That having been said, he plowed through half the plate before we could blink.
My oldest wasn’t going to have any of the mamby-pamby kiddie food. He heard there were ribs on the menu and declared “I want ribs, daddy!” So, what could I do? I ordered the kid some ribs! Okay, so as you saw by the kids’ menu up there, this kid’s meal was $5.99. There’s another restaurant a mile away that I won’t mention *coughgenghisgrillcough* that charges almost seven bucks for their mac and cheese. FOR MAC AND CHEESE. And this was WAY better than that other place’s kid meal too.
Then came the grown-up’s food! I ordered the 14 oz. Ribeye with fries and added the Cedar Plank Shrimp. From the appetizer feeding frenzy, I knew if Little Man didn’t like the ribs, he’d eat the shrimp. Turns out, it was a wise decision. But let’s get back to this steak. I mean, look at it. It’s a thing of beauty. They offered for me to make it “SELMON STYLE”, and they’d add Parmesan garlic butter to it. And while that was tempting, I wanted to know what their cut of meat tasted like. I ordered it cooked medium, and it was perfect from the first bite. The meat was juicy, tender and those little bits of char on the edges…heaven. I don’t normally order steaks because I have been known to cook up a mean one, myself. But, I would order this one again without hesitation.
Any time I’ve been to Selmon’s in the past, I’ve always ordered the Hall of Fame Burger. It’s just so awesome. Selmon’s has the best bacon I’ve ever had. My buddy and I once tried to bribe the kitchen at another Selmon’s to sell us a couple of pounds of bacon. They didn’t…*sigh* But I did find out one of their secrets. They bake it! Okay, wait a minute…there’s another picture down here I want you to look at. Seriously! LOOK AT THAT CHAR! THE BLACK PEPPER! I have to scroll down…I’m making myself hungry over here.
Here’s another shot of those Cedar Plank Shrimp. They taste as good as they look. Shrimp can be a bit tricky, which is why most places batter and fry them. It’s a much more forgiving cooking method. Grilling is harder. And cooking on a slab ‘o wood? Expert level! They weren’t chewy or overcooked, nor salty. And my son may or may not have picked up the piece of wood and tried to chew on it. (He said that’s where the flavor is…allegedly.)
My wife opted for the Cedar Plank Salmon. She ordered their smashed potatoes with mushroom gravy. Salmon is another one of those things that can be tricky to cook. The skin adds a layer of protection from overcooking, and it’s generally a fattier meat, which lends itself towards being easier to cook. But, again, once you put things on a cedar plank, the rules change a little. While I have successfully grilled with cedar planks…I have also failed horribly. So many factors to worry about. Is the wood wet enough or too wet? How hot is your fire? Is it consistent? And they nailed this one too. The salmon had a delightfully light smoky flavor that let the true flavor of the fish shine.
Now let’s talk about them smashed taters. I don’t usually order mashed potatoes in restaurants. Mainly because my wife has a magic leprechaun in her pocket that she pulls out when she’s making them…and they are magical. So much so, they’ve ruined me on mashed potatoes anywhere else. With that in mind, these are some of the best mashed potatoes I’ve ever had in a restaurant. No, they are not as good as my wife’s. BUT…they don’t have her magical leprechaun either. The mushroom gravy was good too. A tad salty, but then I don’t eat a lot of salt in my diet…so I don’t think a lot of people would notice or complain.
Here I am plowing into that delicious steak. The smile it put on my face lingered far into the night.
The french fries were so tasty, my son’s hand kept disappearing as he was cramming them into his gaping maw. The fries and shrimp definitely got his seal of approval.
Did I mention we ordered dessert too? Yep…first was the Crunch Time Sundae. It’s a scoop of vanilla ice cream rolled in Captain Crunch, topped with a hard shell chocolate, whipped cream and Reese’s peanut butter chips. I got the picture and one bite before my youngest boy devoured the whole thing while saying “Good. Good. Good. More. More. More.” over and over again. Pretty sure that means he liked it.
Then we tore up some Georgia Peach Cobbler. It’s got peaches baked with cinnamon and brown sugar. It also has my wife’s favorite: Streusel topping. And they top it off with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This one put the final nail in the coffin. It was too much. We packed some of it up to go because there just wasn’t any more room at the inn. So, we started packing up and decided to go change Littlest Man’s diaper. Yes, they have changing stations in their men’s room! Just one more reason I’ll be choosing this place to bring the kids vs. say ‘another place’ we’ve been to before.
So, mad props to Lee Roy Selmon’s for making our family night complete. And as an added bonus, they even put one of the televisions on the Disney Channel so the kids had something to watch as well. That’s just awesome. So many ‘sports’ restaurants won’t change the stations for you. Now, don’t go asking during football season on a Sunday…but if you’re there and there’s no one watching sports on a tv, they’ll change it for you. Tell them DiaperDads sent you!
Also, they have a Gluten-Free menu…THAT’S AWESOME!
Here’s a short video of the Smokin’ Tampa Tea for 2!