Being a food writer has major perks. I get to nosh at local eateries, explore different restaurant concepts, and sample all kinds of bites. As a food writer who is also a chef, I pay extra attention to detail when dining out. I research menus before making reservations, and I’ll have the meal I’ll order explicitly planned to a tee. (Call me “type A”, but I don’t screw around when it comes to food.) However, my recent visit to V9 Eats in St. Pete was spontaneously out of my comfort zone and yet absolutely worth the stop.
It’s hard to miss V9 Eats as its exterior flaunts bright, pastel colors of the ’80s. It’s housed in an old car service building (think Jiffy Lube) but has a playful, industrial feel with a California vibe. The menu is pretty hefty and doesn’t have a central theme, but there is literally something for every palate. It took me a few minutes to digest the menu because V9 offers everything from smash burgers and shrimp po’ boys to burritos and BBQ ribs. My chef mentors would have a coronary over a menu this mismatched and yet, it works.
As ridiculous as it may seem to review chicken salad, V9’s homemade chicken salad is to DIE for. I’m not even sure I could make a chicken salad that tasted as fresh and perfectly dressed as V9. Tip: Order it as a sandwich on Dave’s Famous Bread ($10). I eat a low-carb, low-fat diet, but even my trainer would approve of this sandwich. As a lover of world cuisines, I’m always on the lookout for ethic flavors, particularly those of Southeast Asia. Not many restaurants serve Schnitzel and butter chicken on the same menu, so I had to give it a try. V9’s butter chicken ($13) is marinated in spices, smothered in warm, tomato curry and served over Cavatappi pasta with a garnish of yogurt sauce. The flavors were on point, but curry served over noodles had a real dorm-room feel to it that I didn’t anticipate nor was a fan of.
Made In House
I had the pleasure of speaking with one of V9’s managers and to my surprise, nearly everything is made in-house. Other than the fried items and some of the breads/wraps, V9 takes pride in their scratch-made creations. All wings and ribs (and any other BBQ meat they may have on special that day) is smoked on site. They make chili daily for the hot dogs and their dressings, sauces, rubs, and dill cream sauce (a fan favorite), are all made on site with the freshest ingredients. Hell, they even ferment cucumbers to make their own pickles!
If you can’t decide what you want to eat but like to have a plethora of options, swing by V9 Eats and get ready to have your tastebuds bombarded in an epic adventure.
Ready for dessert? Check out our review of Plant Love Ice Cream.