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The Rack Tampa Guide Review

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The Bottom Line

The Rack is part billiard hall, part sushi bar, part cocktail party and all fun.

Pros

  • The food and drinks are tasty!
  • There are plenty of food and drink options for even the pickiest person in your party.
  • With all there is to do and see at The Rack, getting bored is not an option.

Cons

  • Parking is valet only unless you want to take a walk.
  • The place fills up fast on busy nights and can get pretty crowded.

Description

  • Address: There are two locations of The Rack. The Tampa location is located at 1809 W. Platt St., Tampa, Fla., 33606. The Brandon location is located at 1025 W Brandon Blvd., Brandon, Fla., 33511
  • Phone: Tampa (813) 250-1595; Brandon (813) 571-7225
  • Hours: Lunch is available on Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and they are open daily for dinner from 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. at both locations.
  • Parking: Valet is available in front of the restaurant and there is also a lot located nearby within walking distance.
  • Company Website

Guide Review – The Rack Tampa

When you visit The Rack for the first time the experience can be a little overwhelming. There are so many menu options to choose from and just as many drink options and then there’s the decision of whether or not you want to play pool or ping pong. Personally I overindulged at The Rack because since there were so many options I wanted to try everything I could and figure out what my favorites were.

The first thing I did was order a Sexy Bitch martini. This turned out to be my favorite drink of the night and it features Absolut Apeach and Absolut Mandrin vodkas, Chandon Champagne, mango puree, sour mix and a splash of sprite. The best part about this drink is that a portion of the proceeds from every sale of this drink goes to support a local animal shelter.

I was craving sushi so I jumped at the chance to try their sushi bar. The Rack has all the familiar rolls such as the California Roll, Spicy Tuna and the veggie delight. They also have specialty rolls such as the Orion, the Hurricane and the Volcano. The most delicious one on the menu I actually had the luxury of trying is the Orion. This awesome roll features tempura shrimp, snow crab salad, cream cheese, avocado, cucumber, smelt roe and spicy mayo roll topped with tempura tilapia, eel sauce, sweet Thai-chili sauce and tempura chips. It was so yummy I didn’t want it to end.

Other drinks I tried included the Christini, the Apple-tini, the Dirty-tini, the Snicker-tini, the Velvet Elvis and the Rack-o-Politan. I didn’t care for the Dirty-tini but then again I’m not a fan of olive juice. To me this drink tasted like taking a big gulp of water at the beach. As for the Christini, this was a close second favorite to the Sexy Bitch. This drink mixes Stoli Razberi Vodka, Chambord and Godiva White Chocolate Liqueurs and is very smooth to drink.

The Christini cocktail was actually created for the owner and his wife for their wedding. They sat at the bar for hours mixing concoctions until they came up with this blend. After their wedding so many people came in requesting the signature drink from the wedding that it ended up on the menu named after the owner’s blushing bride.

Chocolate lovers can indulge in a snickers bar in a glass. This drink appropriately called the Snicker-tini features 3 Olives Chocolate vodka, Godiva Original liqueur, Baileys Irish Cream and Frangelico Hazlenut Liqueur. Adventurous folks may be interested in the Velvet Elvis which mixes Malibu Coconut rum, Absolut Vanilla vodka, Godiva White Chocolate and Frangelico Hazlenut Liqueur. For a trustworthy old favorite try the Rack-o-Politan which simply mixes Grey Goose Le Citron vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice and a splash of lime juice.

Check out the Tampa Guide’s picks for Sushi.

With all that liquor you better pace yourself and enjoy some food. In addition to trying a bunch of different cocktails I tried a lot of the food too. I sampled the Thai Shrimp Sticks, The Rack Combo, the Country Fried Chicken Breast, the Maple-Dijon Glazed Grilled Salmon and the Lobster Mac & Cheese. The Rack offers what I like to refer to as bar gourmet and everything I tried was more delicious than the previous item.

The best bet for a group is The Rack Combo. This sampler platter includes a fusion roll, corndog bites, chicken tenders and meatballs and is served with spicy brown mustard, honey-mustard and a tomato-jalapeno sauce. If you are super hungry and want a hearty meal try the Country Fried Chicken Breast which features country fried chicken breast served with garlic mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli and pepper gravy.

Trying to be healthy but still want the bar experience? The Rack has something for you too. The Maple-Dijon Glazed Grilled Salmon features grilled salmon served atop a bed of wild rice and steamed asparagus.

I confess my favorite food item was the sushi roll I had. However, my close second favorite was the Lobster Mac & Cheese which is The Rack’s version of mac and cheese with a lot of lobster and four cheeses baked. This stuff is the ultimate in comfort food and is hard to stop eating once you start.

Check out the Top 10 Italian Restaurants in Tampa Bay

After all that food and all those drinks I spent the rest of the evening just hanging out with my husband and some girlfriends. The idea of getting up and playing pool or even moving did not appeal to me. Another night I came back I did enjoy playing pool and ping pong, however. The tables are available to rent by the hour and you can split the cost amongst you and whoever you are playing with.

Taste several Tampa Bay restaurants in one day.

If I’m ever in south Tampa again I’ll definitely visit The Rack again. I’m anxious to check out the Brandon location as well, although I doubt my feelings would be much different considering they serve the same food and drinks. I would highly recommend The Rack to anyone looking for a place to get a drink, a sushi roll, a hearty entrée, just a snack, a place to have fun or all of the above.

As is common in the industry, the writer was provided with a complimentary meal for the purpose of the review. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy. All prices and offering mentioned herein are subject to change without notice.

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