When classically trained chef Anass El-Omari and his wife Susana Herrera purchased Lexington Oaks Golf Club about three years ago, I was excited about the prospect of having another real restaurant in Wesley Chapel.
And, although Anass at first revamped the existing golfer-oriented menu at the golf course’s restaurant, which he re-named Omari’s Grille, he ended up scaling back his everyday offerings of fresh fish, pasta and filet mignon, and has kept the menu smaller and simpler since reopening Omari’s after the Covid-19 pandemic shut it down for a few months in 2020.
But now, while Omari’s regular menu is still mainly comprised of burgers, sandwiches, wings and other fast, simple foods favored by the golfers who frequent his completely renovated golf course, Anass has brought back some of the dishes I loved on his original Omari’s menu as specials on Friday evenings.
Anass loves both cooking and talking about cooking. So, in conjunction with this article, we recorded our second “Cooking With Anass” segment that was released a few days before this issue arrived in your mailbox, where he made an amazing Cajun pasta (above), with both Andouille sausage and top sirloin steak in a semi-spicy cream sauce that’s as good as anything you’ll find in any fine dining establishment.
“Good food is actually really simple to make,” he said as he set some hot oil on fire before sautéeing the steak and sausage together. “The key is knowing what ingredients and how much of each to use. I love sharing my secrets.”
And, I love tasting his recipes, because Anass is a true culinary artist who serves up some of the best food in our area, even if many locals still don’t know it. So, whether you want to start with authentic Colombian empanadas, crispy calamari or shrimp tempura salad, or enjoy a great grilled chicken caprese or salmon teriyaki entrée, you can’t go wrong at Omari’s.
Great Events, Too!
Now that things have gotten a little more normal in this Covid-crazy world, people are again looking for great places to host events like weddings, quinceañeras, baby showers, anniversary parties and even memorial gatherings and you can’t go wrong if you host your next event for 20-80 people at Lexington Oaks.
Omari’s offers a complete appetizer catering menu — featuring burger sliders, mini-croissants stuffed with chicken and tuna salad and more — as well as a sit-down dinner menu for events, so you can serve London broil with mushroom sauce, orange chicken and a variety of shrimp dishes, plus a dessert bar. Anass and his staff also can custom-design pretty much anything else you’d want to serve.
And, while the indoor space currently is limited to 80 people, Anass says he plans to extend the room out to the existing patio area, so that up to 120 people could fit in the air conditioned, indoor space. And, there is an additional covered outdoor space that can fit another 60 or so people.
“I think Wesley Chapel really needs an event space like this,” Anass says, “and the food will always be good. “Plus, we have the area down by the water (photo above) for weddings (as in the photo above) and the people love it.”
Omari’s Grill at Lexington Oaks Golf Club (16333 Lexington Oaks Blvd.) is open Wednesday & Thursday, 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m., 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. on Friday, 11 a.m., and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday & Sunday. For additional information, call (813) 929-4217, visit LexingtonOaksGolf.com, or call the golf course’s main number — (813) 907-7270 — to talk to a catering specialist about scheduling, and designing a menu for, your event.