When one visits Hogan’s Beach, he must keep in mind the location is nothing more than a tourist trap for serious Hulk Hogan fans.
Walking into the large eatery, fans are treated to an abundance of Hogan memorabilia. Outside, the color scheme boasts Hogan’s well-known red and yellow, while there is a deeper, elegant play on the colors inside.
Though the restaurant provides an escape from normal Tampa nightlife when it closes down the kitchen at 11 p.m. every night to focus on the alcohol menu, it leaves much to be desired when it comes to the appealing, but often misrepresented, menu.
The menu boasts a variety of entrees that sound appetizing such as Maryland Crabcakes, Portabello Bleu Burger and Pineapple Soy Sirloin, but taste buds are quickly disappointed.
One of the most satisfying fares on the menu is the Ultimate Fish Sandwich, which is a Basa fish that is offered grilled, blackened or fried. Grilled is the way to go with a side of chips made in-house.
The same cannot be said about the Portabello Bleu Burger. This burger has to be the driest option on the menu. It lacks the flavor and taste that the appealing description promises on the menu. In an effort to pump up the flavor, arugula and balsamic vinaigrette was requested for an additional $1.50 to fix the cook’s lack of culinary imagination.
One thing the restaurant should invest in is a thermometer, as both the burger and the sirloin were not prepared to order. The sirloin was ordered medium while the burger was ordered medium well, both were served well done, which could often upset any beef palette.
An attempt to get into the “Hulkamania” spirit may be tempting, but the burger named after the wrestling giant is anything but appealing. It is a burger topped with a fried egg, roasted tomatoes, arugula, bacon lardons and black truffle mayo. It is not worth the possible trip to the hospital after eating such high caloric and fatty entree just to play along.
A patron cannot go wrong when deciding between the house chips or paying $1 more for steak fries. What should be an afterthought on any plate, can be a savior to the taste buds at times.
The Asian staple, Pork Dumplings, may seem out of place on the already inconsistent menu, but is one of the best options on the appetizer menu. Both the ponzu and Thai chili dipping sauces complement the dumplings deliciously.
Though the fun, laid-back atmosphere may be distracting during the after party when customers have drinks in their hands, it offers the only solace to the visit during the day time as the service tends to be as bad as the food.
During a recent visit to a nearly empty restaurant, it took a table of two an 1.5 hours to finally get from ordering drinks to paying the check, mostly due to the waiter taking too long to take the orders, serve the food, present the bill and take payment.
Other noteworthy drawbacks were the lack of individual plates for a shared appetizer, dirty silverware and the environmentally un-friendly plastic disposable cups instead of glass or re-usable plastic options.
After giving the establishment a couple of tries, the likelihood of a return is slim to none. However, the delicious Hogan’s Punch is enough to entice a return for a night out with friends.