Ferrel Alvarez recently announced he will be joining the Sparkman Wharf development with new restaurant concept, Xilo. Read the details here.
Even one of the biggest names on the Tampa food scene started out as a dishwasher. Twenty-four years later, Ferrell Alvarez is known for his constant innovation in the kitchen and frequently rotating menus. He says food is his calling and enjoys playing with different ingredients to keep them approachable but still interesting.
What is the best thing for dessert that’s not in your restaurant? What makes that dish so special?
The King Midas at Bern’s. I don’t typically pick favorites, but with the King Midas it’s just the perfect combination of flavors. The macadamia ice cream just brings everything together. It’s carrot cake, macadamia nut ice cream and a warm Valrhona chocolate sauce. I’ve had so many other desserts there, but none of them keep up with the King Midas. Classics exist for a reason.
How would you describe the food in your own restaurant, and what dish do you recommend for first-time guests?
I think it’s progressive cuisine that’s thoughtful and challenges the palate. It’s artistic but still approachable. We’re constantly tweaking and changing things, but something near and dear to my heart is the butternut squash. It’s a curry, butternut squash and cauliflower ragu with puffed rice, some cardamom onion pakora, coconut-almond chutney and a little bit of black garlic tahini yogurt.
Editor’s note: Dave Burton, owner of Heights Melts and Heights Fish Camp, also chose the King Midas as his favorite in the South Tampa version of this feature. Check out all the other chefs and their favorites here.
Rooster & the Till
6500 N. Florida Ave. | (813) 374-8940
Harry Waugh Dessert Room
Bern’s Steak House | 1208 S. Howard Ave. | (813) 251-2421
You can find the links to the other chefs featured in our TAMPA downtown Best Thing I Ever Ate issue here.