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Sep 24, 2008 07:43 AM

The Toasted Pheasant (Tampa)

I attended a birthday dinner at The Toasted Pheasant on Dale Mabry recently. It is a French bistro-style place. I had never been there. The birthday girl selected the restaurant.

I was impressed with most of the food. I arrived early and started with an individual pizza at one of the tables in the covered outdoor area. It was an anchovy, black olive, goat cheese and mozzarella (I think) pizza with a nice, super-thin crust and plenty of toppings. The problem with anchovies on a pizza is that they can often dominate all other flavors in a pizza. Happily, this was nicely balanced. I gave my girlfriend a slice (not an anchovy lover) and she could not even identify the flavor as anchovy, although she thought it was tasty. That's a good pizza! There are a lot more appetizer pizza selections with more mainstream ingredients. Some of the other people in our party ordered them later and said that they were equally good.

When the rest of our group arrived, we moved inside. I ordered the onion soup, which was intensely onion-flavored, a bit sweet, and not excessively salty, a problem, I find, with many onion soups. The soup came topped with a piece of toasted bread with gruyere (I think) cheese. It was not floating in the soup and easily lifted off the soup. The toasted bread with cheese was filling and a bit bland, which contrasted nicely with the intensive onion flavor of the soup.

The next course was a duck liver pate and a chicken meat/liver pate with ground pistachio nuts. The duck liver pate was not very "livery" tasting and had more a bologna texture. It was really the only thing I had which I thought needed work. It was just too bland. The chicken meat/liver pate was delightfully moist and flavorful. The pates came with buttered, toasted bread points, olives (I think) and cornichons. I understand that they make the bread there on the premises. It was crunchy and delightful.

I also had the duck confit, which tasted appropriately ducky.

Service was extremely attentive. Appetizers ran about $5 to $12, as I vaguely recall. Entrees ran about $15 to $22, with a salad included. I hope this place gets more support or that I just visited them on a rare slow (Tuesday) night because there were only three or four tables occupied the entire night. If places like this don't get more support, they are going to disappear and we will be left to the tender mercies of the chains. This is a great place to get delicious French food at a relatively low price. I recommend it.

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  1. Thanks for the review! I have been wanting to try Toasted Pheasant as I have seen good reviews but really wanted to see what a fellow chowhounder thought.

    1. The original comment has been removed
      1. Sometimes the 'Frencher' the restaurant the tinier the portions...
        I can't afford to pay $15.00+ for an item and recieve an edible decoration in the middle of a plate... It's the Jersey in me I guess... Plus I'm a good enough cook myself...

        Nobody mentioned portion size (or if they did I missed it) so I felt I had'ta...

        How's this place as far as that goes?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Mild Bill

          I agree with you, Mild Bill, and I can't really address your question because all I ordered were appetizers, I think. So the question on the size of portions for a normal meal is still open, I guess. I was full when I left, but I ordered food in a non-traditonal manner.

        2. Perhaps I am being picky but I really get my feathers into a fluff when reading the menus of so called French restaurants and find French language spelling mistakes---at the moment “The Toasted Pheasant on Dale Mabry”. It claims to be “a French bistro-style place”.
          Examples: “Emmentale” on the menu should be “Emmental” ---“Steak Frite” should be “Steak-Frites” --- In one instance they use “sautéed” and in another instance “sauteed

          2 Replies
          1. re: patken

            Well, fractured French wouldn't cause me to avoid the restaurant. I'm more interested in how the food tasted (which was good!) However, I do admit to some amusement when I see in many restaurants (not at "The Toasted Pheasant", necessarily) with the Franglish term "with au jus", which means "with with juice." Or how about a single item on a comination plate in a Mexican restaurant being referred to as a 'tamale"? The singular is "tamal" and the plural is "tamales", as in "un tamal" and "dos tamales."

            1. re: gfr1111

              The owners from London, and he's a very good cook. Used to have Le Bouchon in Belle Aire near the beach, in Pinellas County. I too agree that spelling has nothing to do with the quality of food, and you will be happy with the food in TP.

          2. Four of us had a fine dinner at The Toasted Pheasant last night. What a great little place! Nice setting (despite the strip-mall location), excellent service, very good food, and very reasonable prices. We had the Florida red snapper (sautéed in spinach with lemon-herb oil), Land and Sea (roasted quail stuffed with pine nuts paired with grilled shrimp), "toasted pheasant" with wild mushrooms paired with beef medallions in Madeira glaze, and lamb shank with rosemary, all accompanied by a bottle of 2006 Renwood viognier. The highlights were the birds - delightfully flavorful and miles away from the "tastes like chicken" syndrome of too many game birds. For dessert we did mixed berry crêpes and crème brûlée. The entire bill for four people, including the wine and two desserts, was just over $100! You can even get a $25 discount for weekday dinners with a coupon. Highly recommended. Address: 14445 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa. Phone 813-256-6700. Web site:

            1 Reply