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Tony Roma's (Del Mar Flower Hill
by Jeanne Bellezzo
There's something to be said for a restaurant
that can tempt even a resolute non-meat-eater
to try a taste of her dining companion's beef
ribs and go back for seconds and thirds.
That's what Tony Roma's is known
for thick, tender and flavorful ribs,
with an aroma to match. Along with the excellent
Bountiful Beef Ribs, the menu offers St. Louis
Style ribs and, of course, their signature Original
Baby Backs. Each is available in a full or half
slab (the Bountiful Beef Roma order includes
seven huge slabs), with your choice of BBQ sauces.
The Blue Ridge Smokey had a good,
deep smoky flavor, while the Carolina Honey
was sweet and just a little tangy. BBQ purists
will like Tony Roma's Original; if you need
more fire, go for the Red Hots. Can't decide?
The Star Studded Sampler includes Original Baby
Backs, Carolina Honeys, Blue Ridge Smokies and
Bountiful Beef. Bottles of sauces are available
on the table as well to let you experiment with
Their reputation may have been built on ribs,
but Tony Roma's has many other tasty options
as well. Signature USDA Choice beef steaks include
a New York Strip and Top Sirloin served on a
bed of fried onions with sautéed Merlot
The Border Style Sirloin is topped
with Jack cheese, roasted Poblano peppers, diced
tomatoes and fried onions, accompanied bycorn
on the cob and ranch-style beans.
Tony Roma's knows how to do chicken,
too. The BBQ Chicken is perfectly cooked, with
juicy, tender meat that is excellent alone or
dipped in sauce.The Stacked Chicken Tejas dresses
up two grilled chicken breasts with the same
fixings as the Border Style Sirloin, then tops
it off with Original BBQ sauce. Other chicken
choices include a teriyaki-marinated grill and
chicken tenderloin platter.
There's also a variety of grilled
chicken entrée salads, including a Santa
Fe Salad, Grilled Chicken Caesar, Fried Chicken
Tenders Salad and a Buffalo Chicken Salad with
fried chicken breast coated in Buffalo sauce.
Is there any room for seafood lovers at a ribs
place? Absolutely. The Carolina Honeys BBQ Salmon
is a house favorite, offering a large Atlantic
salmon filet grilled and brushed with sweet,
Gulf Grilled Shrimp Skewers come
in pairs, each with a half-dozen plump, medium-sized
shrimp, bell peppers and red onions, along with
rice and crisp steamed vegetables.
Got a taste for variety? "Build
Your Own Combo" dinners let you choose
two of your favorites from nearly all of the
above, or indulge in the Ultimate "Power
Grill" Combo with one half-slab of Carolina
Honeys St. Louis Style ribs, a grilled shrimp
skewer and a 7 oz. Top Sirloin steak.
All entrees include fresh,
lightly dressed cole slaw and your choice
of steamed vegetables, French fries, baked
potato or ranch-style beans.
If you're hankering for a
good burger or sandwich, you won't be
disappointed. The grilled half-pound,
100% ground chuck burgers include a BBQ
and Roma Onion burger topped with fried
onions and melted cheddar, and a Merlot
Mushroom burger smothered with melted
Pulled Pork BBQ, Buffalo Chicken
and Bacon & Swiss Chicken Grill.Each
comes with cole slaw and French
fries.Carb counters, rejoice. Tony
Roma's has a menu just for you.
The Nada Lotta Carbs
selections feature a full rack of
baby back ribs, grilled chicken
and salmon, a bunless beef burger
with three cheeses and more, all
cooked with their Nada Carb BBQ
sauce. How does a zero-carb BBQ
sauce taste? Excellent, with a rich,
While the Mud Pie dessert
definitely isn't low-carb, it's
worth every gram. With a chocolate
cookie crust topped with coffee
ice cream, whipped cream and cookie
crumb sprinkles in a bed of chocolate
sauce, it is shamefully good. The
Skillet Brownie Sundae looked equally
Service at Tony Roma's
is friendly and attentive, and the
steakhouse-style ambiance is comfortable
and relaxed, with rich wood, cozy
booths and artwork that reflects
the Del Mar horse-racing tradition.
The restaurant is open
Sunday through Thursday from 11:30
a.m. to 9 p.m., and 11:30 a.m. to
10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Plenty of parking is available in
the Flower Hill Mall. Take-out available.
All major credit cards accepted.
by John Leonffu