Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Reviews Are In!

Check out what people are saying!
This comes courtesy of World of Westchase online.

California Fare Surfs into Westchase

You’re not Californ-I-A Dreamin! Everybody’s gone surfin’!
Surfin’ Westchase, U.S.A., that is, so wax down those longboards and head over to our new Surf Shack!
The owners of Stonechase have opened the Surf Shack Coastal Kitchen in the old Chico’s location. The décor is California cool. Surfboards hang from the ceiling, sleek tables feature tops filled with Clearwater Beach sand and cement floors look like the surf just rolled in. The bar mosaics are gorgeous. There is even a monster TV screen featuring surfers showing off their skills.
Chef Eben Chriss brings his culinary talents to the Surf Shack from Mekenita Mexican Grille in Lutz. You are going to love his menu, which emphasizes fresh ingredients. We started with the AhiTuna Poke’, a mound of diced freshly caught Ahi tuna mixed with diced red peppers and cucumbers then tossed in a poke’ sauce (sesame, soy and scallions). It was served over the house surf slaw of cabbage and red onion in a citrus dressing. A side of hot, deep-fried (but not greasy), won-tons accompanied the tuna.

The dish was healthy, fresh and delightful.
I live to find the perfect fish tacos. At Surf Shack, I found not one but two! The Longboard Fish Tacos were amazing. A huge piece of beer-battered, lightly fried cod was tucked inside a flour tortilla with a great chipotle sour cream drizzle, surf slaw and fresh pico de gallo.
Served in corn tortillas, the Pipeline Fish Tacos were grilled, fresh cod, thinly sliced cabbage and the most amazing chile-tomatillo salsa you will ever taste. It completely changed the taste of these tacos! The other creative addition was pickled red onions, which tamed the strong onion beautifully. Both tacos had minimal ingredients but maximum impact.

 The Shack Wrap is as California as it gets. Its flour tortilla contained moist chunks of chicken grilled with a spicy house rub with Applewood bacon, mixed greens, tomatoes, avocado and shredded cheddar and Jack cheeses. Its attention-grabbing mango-passion fruit vinaigrette will wake up your taste buds. The combination of flavors were mouth-watering.
From the Shack Stack offerings (their signature dishes), we chose the Tenderloin Stack. There was no way was The Carnivore was going to pass this up. This dish was beautifully presented with layers of grilled tenderloin steak chunks, black beans, grilled onions, fresh corn, guacamole, chipotle sour cream, pico de gallo, shredded cheese, citrus rice and garlic-tomato salsa – all sandwiched between two crunchy, lightly fried flour tortillas. He was dazzled by the dish’s many fresh and satisfying tastes. He will forever have a hard time ordering anything else on his many trips back to Surf Shack. They may as well name it The Carnivore Tenderloin Stack!

Ahem, a word about dessert. The California Cannoli is a not-to-be missed creative concoction, guaranteed to conquer your sweet tooth cravings forever. Chef Eben puts macadamia-nut, white chocolate cookie dough into won-ton wrappers, then lightly fries them to a golden brown. Four arrived nestled in a bowl with whipped cream drizzled with a caramel sauce.

 The Surf Shack plans a new covered patio for dining al fresco. At opening they were serving the freshest and most creative sangrias you will ever taste. Several interesting beers and wines by the glass were also available. Their expanded liquor license is expected mid to late January. Afterward they promise the most delicious and freshest tasting margaritas. No mix, ever. (Be still, my beating heart!)

I must also mention the selection of non-alcoholic, hand-shaken teas and juices. These are all made with fresh fruits pureed or muddled into memorable beverages.

Surf Shack Coastal Kitchen is a wonderful addition to Westchase. I haven’t been this excited about a restaurant in a long time. The food is creative, unique, healthy and scrumptious. Put down this review right now, grab the kids and drive over and check it out.

Hang ten, dudes! See you at Surf Shack with my bushy-bushy blonde hairdo!

Surf Shack Coastal Kitchen
12217 W. Linebaugh Ave
Hours: Sun-Wed, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Thu, Fri and Sat, 11:30 a.m.-midnight
Happy Hour: 3-6 p.m. daily.
Sundays kids eat free (one kid’s meal per adult entrée)
By Gail Gundersen
Gundersen, a resident of Woodbay and lifelong foodie, can be reached at

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