Please see Tastecasting explained here if you are not familiar with the program.
On Thursday night, eight members of the Tastecasting crew were treated to a tasting menu at bb’s – courtesy of Chef Carlos Ramirez. He took a personal interest in our experience and spent a surprising amount of time patiently describing our selections and answering our questions.
To begin, we were treated to Shrimp Bisque Soup.
The bisque had a great shrimp flavor. It wasn’t overly heavy and was very well seasoned. It was thick, creamy and spicy with a bright chive topping. The toast point served with it was topped with garlic, parmesan cheese, black pepper and olive oil.
For our second course, Chef Ramirez gave us an array of salads. Others in the group enjoyed Warm Goat Cheese, Rotisserie Turkey Cobb, Mediterranean Chicken and Grilled Salmon Salads. I had the pleasure of enjoying the Pan Asian Chop Chop Salad.
The salad featured juicy grilled chicken, macadamia nuts which lent an intriguing texture and pleasantly firm rice noodles on a bed of crispy greens. It was topped with sweet soy, sesame ginger vinaigrette, pickled ginger and a wasabi drizzle. The combination of sweet, spice, heat and crunch made the salad very enjoyable.
Our next course was an assorted selection of entrées. My dining companions were treated to sofrito spiced half chickens, grilled steak with chorizo whipped potatoes or grilled wahoo. I enjoyed Cellentani pasta with chicken, clams, spicy Italian sausage, squash, zucchini and goat cheese pomodoro.
The pasta was very well cooked – not mushy or bland at all. The sauce was especially tangy, which was accentuated by the dabs of goat cheese throughout the plate. Make no mistake, this is a lot of good food. I rarely leave anything behind when I eat out, but I had enough pasta to bring a bit home to The Man. Tasty tasty!
As if that weren’t enough, finally Chef Ramirez brought out the desserts. To say that the selection is good is the understatement of the year. There are ten to sixteen dessert selections each day and the menu changes hourly according to the website. We were given tasting portions, so the portions in the photographs are not indicative of the portion you receive when you order. We saw some of the servings and they are HUGE. If you fantasize about cake (I know I do) these are the cakes in your daydreams.
A very short listing of the desserts we were offered -
The Classic Carrot Cake with cream cheese frosting. Absolutely magnificent. This was the favorite of several tasters. There were bits of carrot and fruit and the icing was tremendous.
The chocolate cake was just what you’d hope for when looking for chocolate cake – moist, chocolaty and delicious.
The White Cake with raspberry filling was light and refreshing.
The tasters were evenly split on what their favorites were. Some were besotted with the carrot cake, while others (that would be me) went back to the Croissant Bread Pudding again and again. It was moist and fluffy without any of the sodden eggy heaviness that I’ve been so disappointed with in the past. It redeemed every bad bread pudding I’ve had in my lifetime. I will chase this as the ideal with every bread pudding I have in the future!
There seemed to be no end to the delights of the dessert case at bb’s. The soup, salad and entrées were among the best in the city, but the desserts are truly singular. You will not find a better dessert in Jacksonville. I only regretted that I didn’t have room to try them all!
bb’s is a cozy, modern, clean and welcoming place with all the amenities one looks for in a great little bistro. It is cool and hip without being pretentious or intimidating. Chef Ramirez was truly motivated to please our little group. He was delightful in his explanations and completely capable in his execution. I would happily return to bb’s for any occasion. A big thank you to bb’s staff, management and especially Chef Ramirez as the restaurant was a true joy to visit.
You can visit bb’s at 1019 Hendricks Avenue, Jacksonville, Florida.
Reach the restaurant by phone at (904) 306-0100 or on their website at bbsrestaurant.com.
Full menus can be viewed on the website.
all photos copyright © 2009 by jodi a. kasten • all rights reserved