By Marie Gilmore & Patricia Tracy

Oaks_executive_chef_william_gideon_2The Bay area is already known for its signature steak houses. Council Oak Steaks and Seafood, nestled in the heart of the Seminole Hard Rock Casino, offers a dinner experience that elevates expectation.

With its award-winning menu, stunning decor, an open-air butcher shop with 21 day Himalayan Rock Salt aged-steaks and a perfect atmosphere, Council Oak is a great choice for a celebration, a night out or the perfect date.

Walking into the restaurant lobby, guests walk past the open-air fresh cut butcher shop where all the beef is housed amongst the Himalayan Rock Salt walls and always cut to order.  The separate climate controlled case features dry-age coolers and is used to age meat for delicious flavor. All meats are cut onsite and are 100 percent USDA prime and aged 21- 28 days. The Council Oak Signature Long Bone Cowboy Ribeye can be personalized with any initials carved into the bone, making for a significant presentation.

If you enjoy seafood, they offer the freshest of fish line caught right here in Florida. For appetizers try Escargot, Oysters Rockefeller, Seared Diver Scallops, Blackened Beef Tenderloin Tips, fresh Council Oak Bacon and more.

Entree choices include New York Strip, Filet Mignon, Kurobuta Pork Chop, Chilean Seabass, Twin SouthOaks_CowboySteak African Cold Water Lobster Tails, Alaskan King Crab and more.

Save room for dessert with highlights including Crème Brulee with fresh berries marinated in Grand Marnier, the Council Oak 151 Volcano made up of vanilla ice cream covered with Heath Bar Crunch flambéed tableside with a shot of 151 Rum.

Head Chef Mike Balles oversees 20 cooks and one chef in the 165-seat Council Oak Steaks and the adjacent Plum VIP lounge.  Balles opened the Bobby Flay Steak restaurant at the Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, N.J. and worked with Wolfgang Puck American Grill and American Cut by Iron Chef Marc Forgione. During his tenure at American Cut, the restaurant was honored with the Best Seafood Restaurant Award in Atlantic City.

In addition to award-winning food, Council Oak features an extensive wine list by the bottle or glass along with a selection of handcrafted cocktails and 13 stuffed olives for its martini menu.

Valrico resident Wayne Tracy recommends their Signature Bloody Mary served with Council Oak Bacon.  “

“From the extensive wine list we chose Beaux Noir ’07 and an excellent Willamette Valley Oregon wine, an excellent pairing,” Tracy said.

Council Oak Steaks and Seafood Restaurant has received one of the most prestigious restaurant reviews from Zagat. Reviewers said that the steak was, “Tender, flavorful and so juicy” and touts it’s “friendly efficient” service and “upscale, trendy” décor, saying “it’s perfect for a night out on the town.”

Next time you are looking for a great dining experience or celebrating a special occasion, call Council Oak Steaks and Seafood for reservations 627-7600 or book online at www.seminolehardrocktampa.com.

Dining room is non -smoking and open Sunday through Thursday 5-10 p.m. and Saturday 5 p.m.– 12 Midnight.

Council Oak is located in the Seminole Hard Rock & Casino at 5223 N. Orient Rd. in Tampa.