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Bern's Steakhouse in Tampa, Florida

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    Bern's Steakhouse in Tampa, Florida

    Bern’s Steakhouse was established in 1956 by Bern and Gertrude Laxer. It is now owned and operated by their son, David.
    The following was written by Bern's restaurant.
    We learned early that if you want to be the best at something, you can't worry about the cost or the trouble. We do things differently, and we do them with great pride and passion.
    Our waiters train one year with us, working at almost every station in the restaurant, in our workshops, and on the farm. They then train for another 8 to 12 weeks in the dining rooms before they wait on you by themselves.
    We devote space equivalent to 100 dining seats just to offer you the widest selection of wines in the world.
    We use only freshly-squeezed juices and the highest quality liquors to prepare your cocktail.
    We fly in fresh caviar regularly.
    Our seafood is flown here daily so that we can offer the freshest product from all over the world.
    We buy veal bones to help us make better onion soup, even though we have (and use) hundreds of pounds of our own beef bones.
    We sprout organic curly cress seeds in our kitchen, just to add one small flavor ingredient to your salad.
    We marinate our olives for at least one month in pure olive oil, herbs and spices, even though you may scarcely notice one on your salad. We grow what we can on our own farm, organically, without pesticides or other toxic materials, and pick your vegetables ripe and fresh as frequently as possible.
    We peel your tomato before serving it.
    We age your steak as long as we do for the best flavor.
    We broil your steak with lump hardwood charcoal instead of super- convenient briquettes.
    We then cut and trim and weigh your steak only after you have placed your order (with 62 choices to cut, a bit more labor is required than if we just served you several pre-cut steaks).
    We make garlic butter for your steak the old-fashioned way, by peeling lots of garlic and blending it with 100% sweet cream butter.
    We use hundreds of pounds of 93 score AA unsalted fresh creamery butter weekly in the kitchen.
    We prepare all our vegetables either to your order or in very small quantities.
    We bake your potato to order (and throw it out if it is baked a shade too long).
    We prepare your onion rings so that they are ready when your steak comes off the grill. We hand-sort our green coffee beans to eliminate every single defect before we roast them (up to eight different beans separately), and then blend our American and Turkish coffee beans each day in our kitchen. We use three separate grinders so that each of our distinct coffees and blends are freshly ground only to your order. We also brew your coffee strong and believe that only
    heavy whipping cream is good enough for it.
    We use organically grown spelt and whole wheat flour for our freshly-baked breads and toasts. We make all our own ice creams, sherbets, pies, pastries, hot fudge, whipped cream, breads, crackers, etc. ourselves, so that we might use more exciting ingredients throughout.
    We import specialty and hard-to-find products like chocolate, rare liqueurs and flavors from all over the world just to produce a unique dessert.
    We mean it when we say we want you to have a most memorable evening when you dine with us, tonight and each time you come.

    Aged meat is already tender (and never bloody). You can order it cooked less done than you would fresh meat. In fact, fresh meat is cooked to tenderize it, and aged meat becomes tougher the longer you cook it. You can order your steak any thickness you want from thin (one inch thick) all the way to very thick (over 3 inches thick).
    You can also combine two adjacent degrees of doneness in one thicker steak.
    Prefer fresh steak? Other than T-bone, we can cut your steak any way you wish unaged, since we cut your steak after you order anyway. No extra charge. No problem, just tell your waiter.
    Our beef is the most beautiful and most costly in America. However, in order to be beautiful, it must be well-fed. And this is the problem: what to do with the excess fat. We remove it (and the gristle, too, where possible) even though it gives you a less-perfect looking steak. It's our weight loss. But we want you to know that we cut our steaks to give you good eating, not necessarily good looking.
    If you tour our kitchen, you'll see why we buy 3-4 pounds of beef in order to give you one pound of steak. Here are our various cooking choices.

    (Rather than reproduce the entire chart of degrees of doneness for five thickness of steaks, below is for 2” to 2 ¾ inches thick.)

    Very rare no crust, cold and raw
    Very rare with crust, cold raw center
    Rare with cold center and medium crust
    Rare with large warm red center and good crust
    Medium rare nice crust, medium warm red center
    Medium, thick crust, hot pink center
    Medium well, very thick crust and no color left
    Well done, Very thick crust. No color and no juice

    HARRY WAUGH DESSERT ROOM
    One of the most famous, and popular, aspects of Bern's Steak House is its dessert room. Here guests can enjoy a leisurely and intimate end to their dining experience choosing from nearly 50 dessert choices to more than 1,000 dessert wines and spirits.

    The Harry Waugh Dessert Room was built as a tribute to Mr. Harry Waugh, an internationally known and respected wine connoisseur, director of Chateau Latour and good friend to Bern Laxer. Waugh's books and personal diaries on wine tasting are well known throughout the world.

    While dining at Waugh's home in London, Laxer was introduced to the idea of building a separate dessert room in his restaurant. Construction began in March of 1978 was completed and opened in 1985; its square footage larger than all seven of the main dining rooms combined.
    The Harry Waugh Dessert Room is located on the second floor of Bern's Steak House. The Dessert Room is constructed of California redwood wine holding tanks that Laxer had purchased from California wineries, shipped to Tampa. Once in Tampa, his crew created the 48 individual enclosed booths that reside in the dessert room.

    Bern's house pastry team, 20 in all, creates each and every component of the desserts, ice creams and sorbets for Bern's Steak House. As with other ingredients at Bern's, only the very best chocolate, vanilla and fresh dairy ingredients are used to create Bern's signature desserts.

    There are nearly 50 dessert choices on the menu including classics like Banana Cream Pie a heavenly, whipped pie with fresh bananas and Cheesecake Gert, named for Laxer's wife Gertrude, it features a hint of orange, a streusel crumb crust, fresh strawberries and strawberry sauce.

    In addition to its handmade desserts, the Harry Waugh Room features more than 1,000 after dinner drinks, cordials and dessert wines, some made in the 18th century, available by the glass and the bottle. Depending on their taste, guests can choose from more than a dozen Sauternes, more than 200 scotches, ports from all over the globe and a selection of Madeira that is unrivaled.

    In 2009, Rachael Ray rated Bern’s as the best restaurant in America. Nation’s Restaurant News deemed Bern’s a top all-American icon. And George W. Bush ate at Bern’s twice during his presidency.

    Here are some pictures from when Kate and I last dined at Bern's, in 2013. Unfortunately I didn't take any of my steak.

    #2
    With out a doubt, one of the best steak houses I have ever been too. Truly amazing.

    Comment


      #3
      I have had the honor of dining there several times, and am exceedingly proud of this gem being in my home state. Even if you are visiting elsewhere in Florida, worth the drive for this dining experience. Yes, steaks pricey, but I would say steaks are really not that much more that many non-aged steaks in other upscale restaurants. The quality of the steaks and other menu items far exceed that of what is generally considered other known upscale steakhouses.

      Comment


        #4
        Another +++ for Bern’s. Mari Jo and I ate there in mid June and were not disappointed. We split a delicious T-bone. The kitchen staff know their stuff. The wine selection is phenomenal and gets Wine Spectators Gold Award year after year. You MUST go to the dessert lounge too. Highly recommended as a destination restaurant for the food, atmosphere, service and overall experience.

        Comment


        • WayneT
          WayneT commented
          Editing a comment
          Mosca It far surpasses Morton’s in Chicago and is at the same level as the Angus Barn in Durham, NC. You can stay at the Epicurean (Marriot) right across the street where they have great hospitality and a little wine shop.

        • Mosca
          Mosca commented
          Editing a comment
          I have a sister in St Pete, maybe next time we visit!

        • Jim White
          Jim White commented
          Editing a comment
          When you come for that, Mosca, give me a yell and I'd love to meet you there.

        #5
        Nice original write up. Really nice this was bumped & experienced.

        Comment


        • ecowper
          ecowper commented
          Editing a comment
          LOL

        #6
        Love these bumped threads. Started in 2015, bumped again in 2016 then current bump yesterday. Triple bump. Wonder what the record is for bumps?

        On a serious note, Berns is legendary. Last went there in the 90's. All I remember was a fabulous steak and sipping Armagnac port in some little space cube in the basement. Great place.

        Comment


        • WayneT
          WayneT commented
          Editing a comment
          Armagnac port? 😳 Are you drink name-dropping? Color me impressed. Most people don’t know about cognac’s unrefined older brother. It’s got quite the bite to it, at half the price. Am I correct in assuming the Armagnac was used to fortify the wine to bring the abv up to target?

        • Troutman
          Troutman commented
          Editing a comment
          Actually Armagnac is more correctly a sort of distilled brandy. Port is a sweet fortified wine. My correction and mistake.

        #7
        Bern's is a legend here in Tampa. I have been there a time or two, and it is everything it's cracked up to be IMHO. I first went there ages ago, high school I'm sure, with my grandmother. It's where I first tried Caesar Salad and caviar. I was old enough to visit my grandparents in the summer, by myself, and my gm and I would send gf off to some ball game, then go shopping or eating. We went to Bern's a few times, so she could "teach me how to use all the silverware." The tableside Caesar is a total production, from juicing the lemon with a fork, to mincing the anchovies with two knives, like watching a foodie movie. I occasionally hear rumors they gave that up, but not from anyone reliable, and I just checked to see > still on the menu. They aren't kidding about allowing extra time tho', prob takes an extra hour, worth every minute. I am still hooked on Caesar salad, could eat it with a piece of grilled salmon every single day (so why don't I, hmmm?) I know a few people who got engaged there, and they did all kinds of photos in the wine cellar and whatnot. A bit of a status symbol in some circles.

        I haven't been there in a good while, several years, but if I were looking for a very special place for a production dinner, it would be my first and last choice.

        Comment


          #8
          A restaurant that I will probably never visit, but reading the comments I wish I could.

          Comment


            #9
            Have been to Bern's a couple times in the last 6mo, with a couple trips to Tampa from TX. Had a great time. I recently read through the book, and it's a pretty fascinating read about the restaurant's origins, if that's your sort of thing, I definitely recommend it!

            Click image for larger version  Name:	image.png Views:	0 Size:	2.64 MB ID:	1445457

            Comment


              #10
              Bern's is a destination. It's only 120 miles away and is great excuse to spend the weekend in the Tampa area. Lot's of museums things to do. If it didn't tate 9 hours round trip we would go more often

              Comment


                #11
                Have been there only once and it was fantastic, a great experience.

                Comment


                  #12
                  On the off chance anyone reading here is planning a trip to Bern's soon... they are renovating. Closed last week, and will be closed till late/end of July. Their "sister" restaurant is open, Haven, not the same experience although similar food.

                  Comment


                  • WayneT
                    WayneT commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Whew! Glad we got our trip in back in June. Thanks for posting that.

                  #13
                  Bern's recently started doing their full kitchen & wine cellar tours again for the first time in a few years! I'll be there again in late Sept.

                  Comment


                    #14
                    I've never been there, but my dad and stepmom make a road trip of Bern's once a year. They have had the same waiter for decades. It has always been a good experience for them.

                    I'll have to let them know it's closed right now. Thanks for the tip acorgihouse .

                    Comment


                      #15
                      Actually, I think is back open again! Let me check... Yep, is back open. I knew I saw in news recently. If they have been before, they know the dress code, and it's not like those restaurants in New Orleans that keep a rack of sport jackets in the entryway. You need to show up with your own!

                      Comment


                      • Spacecase
                        Spacecase commented
                        Editing a comment
                        They also keep spare pants for folks who show up wearing shorts. It was a few years ago, but they loaned a pair of waiter’s pants to a member of our dinner party who wore shorts.

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