The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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Archive for the ‘Clearwater’ Category

The Big O No

Ate dinner at Pete & Shorty’s in Clearwater tonight.  It was crowded and noisy inside, so we sat on the patio.  I have to say, every so often, you got a whiff of something not quite fresh out there.  I don’t know if we were upwind of some trash bins or what, but it definitely had a funky smell.  I also wish there was both smoking and non-smoking outside seating.  It got hard to breathe out there after a few people lit up.   I thought the water fountain on the patio was cool though.  A friend of mine called it the premium “tap” water fountain.

We both ordered burgers.  Loren got the BBQ Bonanza and I got the Chalet Burger with some onion straws and tater tots.

I like the burgers here.  They’re cooked to order and just taste good.  The onion straws and tots are really tasty too.  We decided to try the Big O dessert which is four deep fried Oreo cookies on top of vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.

Though deep fried Oreos sound interesting, they were really pretty nasty.  It was like eating stale Oreos covered in batter.  Just not good.  Total bill was $27.

Pete & Shorty’s Tavern
2820 Gulf to Bay Blvd
Clearwater, FL
(727) 799-0580

Pete & Shorty's Tavern on Urbanspoon


Ocean Blue

Ocean Blue Sushi just opened up on McMullen Booth in the same space where several other restaurants have come and gone recently.  At first we were surprised to see another sushi place in the same plaza as Keiko (one of our favorites), only to discover that both restaurants are owned by Charlie.  We overhead a conversation where his son said if had any issues, he’d just walk next door and ask his dad. 

The decor and atmosphere are very different between the two restaurants.  Ocean Blue is a big space with a large bar, plus they also have outdoor seating.  It seems to be catering to a younger, late night crowd.  There are a lot of items on the menu and we settled on 5 rolls and some salmon.  Loren also started off with a salad.

All of the sushi was tasty.  We got a Mexican Roll, Ex-Wife Roll, Haha Special Roll, Rainbow Roll, and a Super Crunchy Roll.   Now, I love the super crunchy roll at Keiko and hoped for the same love here, but unfortunately, this one was spicy.  Loren liked the one here more, since it did have some spice to it, but I’ll be heading back to Keiko for my super crunchy fix from now on. 

Loren commented that some of the rolls were rather loose.  They weren’t as tightly wrapped as they should have been and some of the ingredients kept trying to escape.  Overall, though, this is a great addition to our sushi choices close to home.  Total bill was $58.

Ocean Blue Sushi Bar & Japanese Restaurant
2475 McMullen Booth Road
Clearwater, FL

Ocean Blue Sushi on Urbanspoon


Our experience with Indian cuisine is less than a year old and given my aversion to very spicy food, I’m probably not the best judge of authenticity, but I do know what I like. We’ve been to a few places in the area, most recently, Laziz Indian Cuisine tonight and before that, the new place in Oldsmar, 5th Element Indian Cuisine.

I order pretty much the same thing no matter which restaurant we go to.  I like the creamy, tomato based sauces.  Tonight at Laziz, I ordered the butter chicken.

The dish here has a more earthy taste.  I’m not sure how to explain it.  The cilantro (at least I think it’s cilantro) permeates the dish more.  Unfortunately, I find it detracts from the dish more than enhances it.  I prefer the sauce at 5th Element.   The chicken, however, was cooked better here.  At 5th Element the pieces are thinly sliced and I’ve found more inedible pieces of chicken in their dish.

I like the garlic naan bread at Laziz, even though occasionally, some of the pieces are a little burnt.  I found the naan bread at 5th Element to be a little more doughy and softer.  It has good flavor, but I think the texture should be a little firmer.

Loren ordered the chicken saagwala at Laziz tonight.  It had chicken and spinach with some spices.

He really liked it.  He said you could definitely taste the spinach and even though he ordered it medium spicy, he said it wasn’t too spicy to eat.  I don’t have anything to compare it to since this is a new dish for him. 

Portion size is about the same.  As for pricing, Laziz is more expensive.  Tonight’s dinner was $34.  Our last meal at 5th Element was $31, plus we had an appetizer.  Where 5th Element really shines, though, is in the service.  The owners are very friendly and seem happy to see you.  Granted, it’s a brand new restaurant, so they’re trying to impress, but I prefer their smiles to the almost standoffish service at Laziz.  5th Element stikes me more as a family-type restaurant. 

So, which would I choose?  I’m leaning more toward 5th Element, mostly because I feel more comfortable there.  The flavors are similar at both restaurants, but I find I enjoy the experience at 5th Element more.

Laziz Indian Cuisine
2475 N McMullen Booth Rd
Clearwater, FL

Laziz Authentic Indian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: Clearwater, Indian
  • When we just want a quick, inexpensive meal, we have a few restaurants on our short list.  Poblano’s is one of them and that’s where we went tonight.  They weren’t too busy, in fact they had half of the restaurant closed off for the evening.

    Loren said the salsa was better this time.  A bit fresher with more chunks of tomato.  He ordered the burritos tipico with the cheese sauce on the side, so I ended up dipping some chips in it. 

    That’s a whole lot of refried beans on that plate.  He said the burritos were ok, nothing special, but for $9, they satisfied his hunger.   As for me, someday, I will learn to not order shrimp at a non-seafood restaurant.

    In my defense though, the last time I ordered the shrimp chimichanga here, it was pretty good.  This time, the shrimp had a definite frozen taste.  There’s a right way and a wrong way to defrost shrimp.  They failed miserably this time.

    Our server wasn’t great either.  He’d disappear for long periods of time and there was something about him that I just didn’t like.  I can’t put my finger on it, but he just didn’t impress.  Total bill was $24 with a drink.

    Poblanos Mexican Grill
    245 McMullen Booth Road
    Clearwater, FL

    Poblano Mexican Grill and Bar on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: Clearwater, Mexican
  • We had tickets to Young Frankenstein at Ruth Eckerd Hall tonight (great show), so wanted to eat dinner somewhere close.  We tried Johnny’s, but they were mobbed, so we ended up at Grind House.

    Service was a bit lacking tonight, but the food was good.  We started out with the shrimp and lobster bisque.

    This is one of those soups that left a lasting impression since the first time I had.  It’s rich and creamy with a wonderful flavor.  Definitely a must order if you eat here.   Loren decided on a burger with mushrooms and provolone.

    It also came with home made chips.  He said it was cooked just right and tasty.  The chips were crunchy and not like anything you get out of a bag.

    I ordered some bangers and mash.

    The sausages had a nice flavor.  You could definitely taste the fennel.  Homemade  mashed potatoes with an onion mushroom gravy went great with it, though more gravy would have been better.  And for dessert, I got a slice of chocolate cheesecake to go.

    It wasn’t a very big slice, but it was rich with chocolately goodness.  I’d definitely order it again.  Total bill was $28.

    Grind House Bar & Grill
    1500 McMullen Booth Rd
    Clearwater, FL

    Grind House Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon