Birthday Dinner at 1200 Chophouse

Hi!!! As of yesterday, I am 20!!!!

What does that mean? Celebration of course! Even better, my family and our close friends are all fully vaccinated so no excuse NOT to go out. That’s right, after nearly 1.5 YEARS, reviews are back!

1200 Chophouse

1200 (degree) Chophouse is a small steakhouse right by St. Pete’s beach. It’s claim to fame is it’s unique oven that supposedly broils to steaks at 1200 degrees. Whether of not that’s true, it’s gained quite the reputation around here. They do NOT take reservations, but by 5: 30 pm, there’s already a 1.5 hr wait!

Food

The restaurant takes a no- nonsense approach to their menu. None of the 5 syllable long French names and dozens of menu items. The entire menu fits on 1 page, with plenty of space at that.

And… since we had 5 hungry people, we got a good sampling

Truffle Fries- I typically stay away from “truffle” anything, but the waiter said we HAD to get them. He was right. They were perfectly crispy on the outside and velvety on the inside. The truffle flavour was there, but not overpowering. The sprinkling of grated mozzarella added a nice pungency and the sauce was just divine.

Bacon Wrapped Scallops- These were the dark horse of the night. Too good to be true. To start, the scallops were massive and very fresh. The bacon was perfectly crisp and added a smoky overtone that didn’t cover the natural sweetness of the scallop. To top things off, the balsamic glaze added a touch of acidic sweetness to cut through the rich saltiness.

Pan Seared Sea Bass- When in Florida, it’s pretty hard to go wrong with the fish. This is no exception. The bass was incredibly fresh and melt in your mouth tender. However, I found the beur blanc sauce quite unnecessary as it covered the taste of the fish (my preference). Also, PLEASE, PLEASE tell restaurants to serve fish skin side up!

NY Strip- New York strip is a prized cut and 1200 Chophouse did it justice. Not much more to say than, perfect. Even though our family friend ordered it medium, it was still unbelievably tender.

3lb Tomahawk- It’s my birthday; I decided to splurge. This tomahawk won “Tampa Bay’s Most Memorable Dish” in 2015- good enough endorsement for me! It was definitely memorable all right, and delicious. Perfectly seasoned, criminally juicy and unbelievably tender with a deliciously crunchy crust. There’s also something utterly satisfying about gnawing on the massive bone. With that said, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend ordering it. It didn’t seem worth the cost. PS, the bone weighs at least 12 oz- I’d stick with the regular ribeye.

Service and Atmosphere

While “nice steakhouse” typically conjures up images of white table cloths and polished premium silverware, 1200 Chophouse takes a more relaxed approach

Hawaiian shirts and beachwear welcome! It was really nice to get top quality food in such a laid back atmosphere. With that said, I did find the restaurant a bit cramped and being right by the main road wasn’t the most pleasant experience.

The atmosphere might not scream high class steakhouse, but the service was beyond 5 star. The waiter who served us was prompt, accommodating and extremely helpful (wouldn’t have ordered the truffle fries without him). Our glasses never ran empty and despite how busy it was, we never had to wait. He somehow always knew when to show up. The food also showed up quite quickly- a pleasant surprise after a very long 1.5 hr wait.

Overall Impression

Overall, I would recommend dining here on a visit to St. Pete’s beach (highly recommended BTW)…. if only for the bacon wrapped scallops and truffle fries. The steaks themselves aren’t necessarily that much better than a home grilled one, but there’s just something different about having someone else make it.

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