Make us your home page
Instagram
BARFLY ON THE WALL

Review: Kingfish Grill does justice to the 'beertail'

From left to right at Kingfish Grill in Clearwater: Kingfish Punch, Watermelon Mojito, Wild Berries and Bubbles Martini, and a Cigar City draft beer.

Luis Santana/tbt*

From left to right at Kingfish Grill in Clearwater: Kingfish Punch, Watermelon Mojito, Wild Berries and Bubbles Martini, and a Cigar City draft beer.

I'm usually good at predicting trends. If an idea's got legs, I can usually tell, and it's often not long before it gains widespread acceptance. But there are a few concepts that I've been waiting to see gain traction, but never seem to catch on.

For instance, the beer cocktail. With the range of flavors and characteristics already on beer menus nowadays, this seems like a no-brainer. Carbonated soft drinks, exotic liqueurs, bitters, fresh juices, muddled fruits and herbs, and flavored syrups form the building blocks of even the most casual cocktail menu, so why not throw some beer in there?

Clearwater's Kingfish Grill is among a handful of area establishments flirting with the concept. Kingfish focuses on the kind of flavors one would expect to find in the Sunshine State. The cocktail list features a range of tropical frozen drinks, flavored mojitos, citrusy and refreshing signature drinks and, of course, the aforementioned beer cocktails, dubbed "beertails" on the menu.

Wedged between a Taco Bell and an Executive Inn on a not-particularly-attractive stretch of Ulmerton Road, Kingfish Grill is easy to miss, but inside is an attractive, well-designed bar and grill that gets pretty darn busy, perhaps because of its first-place showing in last year's Taste of Clearwater competition.

The interior is divided into a central, U-shaped bar, topped with smooth granite, backed with white, brown and black mosaic tiles, and lit overhead by small orange lamps; a raised dining deck to the left with low-key, soft lighting; and an additional private dining room toward the entrance. Next to the bar are a few additional high-tops, perfect for casual dining and cocktails.

There are some 25 beers on draft and an additional 20 in the bottle, and the selection ranges from Japanese light lagers to ciders to Belgian Quads. The draft list seems to rotate more frequently than the printed menu, so be sure to check the tap handles to avoid missing out on some unlisted gems, like Dunedin Apricot Wheat and St. Bernardus Abt 12.

And then there are the beertails. The Bee Sting is a surprisingly refreshing mix of stout (we opted for Young's Double Chocolate instead of Guinness), Absolut Mandarin and orange juice (yes, stout and orange juice). The Elderflower Citrus Fizz combines lager (we picked Kona Longboard) with Absolut Citron, St Germain and lemon juice. And the aptly-named, decadent Chocolate Razz Truffle is made from Young's Double Chocolate Stout, DeKuyper Razzmatazz Schnapps and Marie Brizard Chocolate Royal liqueur.

While all three were satisfying, the best was the Elderflower Citrus Fizz — the lager addition gave the otherwise standard cocktail an interesting nutty twist, adding depth and an extra-refreshing quality. It's a great example of how beer can be used in the modern cocktail palette.

There are nearly 50 wines available by the bottle, half of which are available by the glass, and a wide selection of high-end liquors, including a few ultra-premium options (such as Grand Marnier 100-Year). The specialty cocktails should also not be overlooked.

While the Kingfish Grill is primarily a restaurant, its bar is ahead of the curve. House cocktails are creative and cover a wide range, as do the beer, wine and liquor selections. Sure, I'm a sucker for the beer cocktails. Maybe in a year or two my trend prediction will be vindicated, but in the meantime, swing by Kingfish and try out a few for yourself. — jg@saintbeat.com

Kingfish Grill

3580 Ulmerton Road, Clearwater; (727) 202-6869, thekingfishgrill.com

The vibe: An upscale-casual restaurant with a diverse, well-stocked bar and creative cocktail menu.

Food: Appetizers, soups and salads, $5.50-$8.90; entrees, $6.90-$38.90.

Booze: Beer, $2.90-$8.90; wine, $5.90-$12.90 by the glass and $21.90-$89.90 by the bottle; liquor, $6.50-$8.90, though a few top-shelf items such as Glenlivet 21-year and Grand Marnier 100-year Anniversary run between $18 and $35. Happy hour is 4 to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday, featuring $5 specialty cocktails and $1 off beers and wines.

Specialty: Whether you're in the mood for beer, wine or liquor, you'll find plenty to choose from. There are nearly 50 beers and 50 wines available, as well as a full range of spirits. A lot of work has been put into the cocktail menu, which is made up of classics, tropical frozen drinks, signature house creations and "beertails" — cocktails made from both beer and spirits. In the latter category, try the Elderflower Citrus Fizz, made with your choice of lager, citrus vodka, elderflower liqueur and lemon juice. It's a great example of the merits of experimenting with beer-liquor cocktail fusions.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday.

Review: Kingfish Grill does justice to the 'beertail' 03/28/13 [Last modified: Thursday, March 28, 2013 4:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Recipe for Chicken Wings with Coconut Sweet Potato Puree

    Cooking

    This dish is an homage to one of my favorite Epcot International Food and Wine Festival dishes: Grilled Beef Skewer With Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato Puree from the Patagonia kiosk. A boniato is a sweet potato with whiter flesh and a typically sweeter flavor. I use standard sweet potatoes in this recipe, plus a little …

    Chicken Wings with Sweet Potato Puree. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times Food Editor.
  2. The 'Total Eclipse' song from the '80s you never knew you loved

    Blogs

    Depending on when you read this, you are eagerly awaiting the eclipse or have seen all the commotion come and go for the first total solar eclipse across America since 1918. Without any doubts, sometime today you will probably have a chance to hear Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse Of The Heart, but here at Stuck in …

  3. Hollywood lost a serious filmmaker in Jerry Lewis

    Movies

    The day the clown died, Hollywood lost a serious filmmaker in Jerry Lewis.

    Jerry Lewis in 2005. Lewis, the comedian and filmmaker who was adored by many, disdained by others, but unquestionably a defining figure of American entertainment in the 20th century, died on the morning of Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017, at his home in Las Vegas. He was 91 (New York Times)
  4. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Aug. 22

    Events

    Gulfport Tuesday Fresh Market: With live music, vegetables, fruit, baked goods, herbs, teas, plants, crafts and handmade jewelry. 9 a.m., Gulfport, along Beach Boulevard, Gulfport. Free. (727) 902-2326.

    SP_347707_KEEL_NAYMARKETS_SCOTT KEELER (12/20/2011 GULFPORT) 1. Shoppers choose various produce items recently at the Gulfport Fresh Market. The market is held on Tuesday mornings.      TIMES PHOTO SCOTT KEELER
  5. My plan for the #solareclipse at 2:51 pm today

    Blogs

    "Marion, don't look at it. Shut your eyes, Marion. Don't look at it, no matter what happens!"