Mad Girl Eats Bern’s Steak House in Tampa

wpid-photogrid_1427921862101_wm.jpgBern’s Steak House, 1208 S. Howard Ave, Tampa, FL.

From the outside, the building that Bern’s is housed in doesn’t look like much more than a stucco-ed warehouse. No windows, no grass, just a big black top driveway with a Valet stand and double doors. Once inside, wow. A two-story lobby welcomes you, drenched in red, velvet, gold, a huge mirror and mega lighting…talk about moody! A line to check-in at the host desk awaits and you better be there by the time your reservation states, or watch out, they don’t play. Reservations* are a must, and all of your party must be present before you are seated. So, basically, get it together!

Seated in one of the lovely well-appointed dining rooms, you can tell this is an upper echelon Steak House. The menu offers whatever your carnivore heart desires, especially their various steaks, thickness, weights, and tips. The most flavorful of steaks for 2 when ordering rare, is the Strip Steak. Their steaks are aged for optimum beefy flavor. Opting for one large steak of 22 oz, which is 2″ thick, cooked to rare with a slightly warm center, then cut in 2 pieces tableside. A brilliant way to give you a perfectly cooked, juicy steak. The steak entrees come with French Onion soup and toasts, House Salad, Baked Potato, 2 vegetables, and fried onions. Foie Gras was ordered to top the steak.

The food came methodically and perfectly timed. The soup was luscious. The house salad was beautiful as it looked like a mini version of a Chopped Salad. Fab! The baked potato was large, and was ordered with all the toppings and a great accompaniment for a hearty steak. The vegetables were fresh and cooked just to done, and fried onions were delish. Excellent sides. The steak. Oh the steak. It was perfection. Beautifully cooked, bounding with flavor, freaking amazing. Moan-worthy. The addition of foie gras on top was out-of-bounds! Rich, smooth, damn scrumptious. It definitely wasn’t needed, but it was wanted 😉

Bern’s is legendary and continually ranks in the top 10 of Best Steak Houses in the Country.They also have one of the largest wine collections anywhere, so I got a fantastic glass of Rose’ to round out my experience. This was worth every penny and I look forward to returning to this absolutely spectacular restaurant. Not to be missed, their Dessert Room upstairs.

Hours: Sun to Thurs 5:00pm – 10:00pm, Fri and Sat 5:00pm – 11:00pm.

*Reservation requests are accepted on-line with a 72 hour advance notice. For special inquiries, call 813-251-2421.

5 out of 5 perfect points. Undeniable excellence.

Mad Girl Eats Charley’s Steakhouse in Orlando


Charley’s Steakhouse, 8255 International Drive Orlando, FL. Two more locations available in Orlando and one in Tampa.

Family owned since 1973, Charley’s Steakhouse has continually been named one of the Best Independent Steakhouses in the country. It only seemed fit that Charley’s was the first choice when an immense hankering for a great aged steak filled every crevice of my being. Wine lovers will fall in love with Charley’s award-winning wine list.

The restaurant location I chose was on I-drive, in the heart of the tourist and conventioneer corridor of Orlando.  It had a warm and inviting atmosphere that one you would hope for when dining at an upscale steakhouse. The staff was pleasant, knowledgable and professional. Their menu offered a decent array of appetizers and entrees. Escargot Bourgogne was the appetizer choice of the evening. Made to order steaks, with extras to choose, like having your steak stuffed with bleu cheese is a nice touch as well. I wanted my entrée to be fairly simple and straightforward so I opted for their Petite Tenderloin (rare), Scallops wrapped in bacon, Roasted Garlic Mashed Red Potatoes. Also, the Kansas City Strip (Pittsburgh style, charred with red center) and a side order of Black Pepper Parmesan Kettle Fries. All entrees come with salad and three cheese bread.

First up, the Escargot. Oh my, the snails swimming in garlic-y herb melted butter, wonderful thick toasted bread to dunk and soak up all that heaven. I’m still dreaming about this dish. Superb with a capital S. The house salad (which you can upgrade to other selections) was fantastic! I don’t usually get excited about a salad, but they do it up nicely. The added bene of their warm and squishy cheese bread was fab. The only problem was to stop eating all of it to save room for steak!

Finally, the masterpieces arrive. Things of beauty to my carnivore eyes! The 8 oz tenderloin, cooked to a lovely rare temp, was amazing. Excuse me while I close my eyes and relive that moment…….okay, I’m back. The scallops were divine, sweet and gentle with a hint of smokiness from the bacon. I love my potatoes and their red mash is right up there with the best. The bone-in 22 ounce Kansas City Strip took up the entire platter, done to perfection. The Pittsburgh style char was an awesome change and I liked the first 4 bites. Beyond that, the all over char was a tad too much for me, but the steak had so much incredible flavor, yeowza….it was phenomenal. Oh boy, let’s not forget the Parmesan fries, a huge order to be shared, served with horseradish cream. It was what every potato lover dreams of. Honestly.

Every bite of this meal from appetizer to the last bite of steak, was one of the best I’ve had in a long time. See their website for an array of awards.

Hours: Sun-Thurs 5:00pm to 10:30pm, Fri and Sat 5:00pm to 11:00pm.

Reservations are greatly recommended, call 407-363-0228  or see their website

5 out of 5. They deserve a Gold Medal at the Steak Olympics.

Mad Girl Eats David Burke in Chicago

Fatty Melt Sliders

David Burke’s Primehouse, 616 North Rush St., Chicago, IL 

David Burke’s Primehouse in downtown Chicago is nothing short of… amazeballs. I made it a point to stop in for lunch during my summer tour. On my mind for 2 days was the description of their Fatty Melt Sliders; Dry aged beef patty, smoked onion, hot coppa, cheddar cheese, Hawaiian buns cooked in beef butter with a side of truffle asiago fries. Ahh, take me to your leader and order me up a plate!

40 Day Dry Aged Prime Steak Burker

My counterpart ordered the 40 Day Dry Aged Prime Steak Burker topped with garlic spinach, crispy shallots, bacon mayonnaise,  on a toasted potato bun…and added smoked mozzarella.  Yes, we are going to share.

The restaurant ambiance was chic, but comfortable. The staff, truly wonderful. My first pleasant surprise was a lovely gentleman bringing fresh popovers while we waited for our meal. I haven’t see a popover in a couple of decades! Side note: I am now in the market for a popover pan 😉 They were served in a darling 1 cup metal measuring cup. Really nice touch.

Our food arrived in good time, cooked to order, and a picture of beauty. Like Olympic synchronized swimmers, we raised our chosen burgers and took a bite. You would have thought we were having an orgasm. The cacophony of moans were honest and organic….so was the tear in my eye. Luscious. The rich, pure beef flavor of being dry aged, there is nothing like it. No ketchup, no mustard needed. The price for these plates of deliciousness? 12.00 bucks each. Yep, no lie.

BEST BURGERS I’ve ever had. I can’t wait to go back for dinner and try their dry aged steaks and maybe get a tour of their pink Himalayan salt-lined aging room. As seen on Food Paradise/Steak Paradise….true paradise.

If you are in Chicago, love beef, and do not get yourself to David Burke’s Primehouse….you are an idiot. Don’t be stupid, go. You can fall at my feet later.

5 0ut of 5 swoon points for all-around excellence.


Located at the St. James Hotel

616 North Rush St., Chicago, IL


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