The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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Archive for the ‘Clearwater’ Category

We decided to try the Mellow Mushroom for dinner tonight.  Friday night and the place was packed.  We had about a 30 minute wait before we got a table.  This is one of those restaurants where the acoustics are horrible.  Bare floors, open ceiling and you can barely hear yourself think, never mind trying to actually have a conversation without yelling across the table.  We definitely didn’t need it, but we started off with the spinach artichoke dip.

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The dip itself was tasty, but I’m just not a fan of crunchy toast points.  I find them hard to eat.  I actually wasn’t sure that 6 pieces of bread were going to be enough, but it ended up being a good ratio of dip to scoop.  For our pizza, we went for a medium Holy Shiitake.

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I really enjoyed this pizza.  It had shiitake, button, and portobello mushrooms, onions and a blend of cheeses plus a garlic and olive oil base.  It was had such a wonderful blend of flavors. The crust was perfectly cooked, not too crunchy, not too soft.  I would absolutely order it again, though probably to go.  Total bill with a drink was $20.

Mellow Mushroom
2630 Gulf to Bay Blvd
Clearwater, FL
727-723-2000

Mellow Mushroom on Urbanspoon

Food4/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere1/5
Value2/5
3.0/5
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  • Filed under: Clearwater, Pizza
  • We went to dinner with friends tonight at Cuvee 103 in Safety Harbor.  It’s a wine bar and restaurant on the corner of Enterprise and McMullen Booth.  It had a pleasant interior, though I’ll never understand why restaurants feel the need to have a TV over the bar.  It really detracts from the atmosphere.  Our waitress brought over bread with a basil and an olive tampenade.

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    I prefer warm bread, so this didn’t do much for me, but everyone else seemed to like the olive & basil spreads.  We started off with two of the appetizers, the fried goat cheese and the duck confit spring rolls.

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    Both were good, but the general consensus was that the fried goat cheese was the better of the two.  They were crispy on the outside with a creamy pesto and goat cheese mix in the middle and served with a tasty red sauce.  The spring rolls weren’t rolled tight enough so the filling was rather loose.  It had a good flavor and the dipping sauce was a sweet plum ginger.  For our entrees, we all got something different.

    The braised short ribs:

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    The duck confit:

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    The stuffed pork loin:

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    The veal involtini:

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    Three out out of the four were good.  The braised short ribs were definitely the best of the bunch.  They were very tender in flavorful sauce.  The duck was well cooked and Loren really enjoyed the stuffed pork loin.  It had a sausage stuffing and he licked his plate clean.  My dish, however, was less than stellar.  The veal was tough and the filling of spinach, mushrooms, and fontina did nothing to help the cause.  It just didn’t have any flavor.  And speaking of no flavor, the grilled polenta was pretty much inedible.  I think I managed to eat half of one.  It had absolutely no seasoning in it and was gritty and bland.  The white wine sauce was the best thing on the plate, but nothing was going to overcome the shortcomings of the dish.  For dessert, our friends got the creme brulee and we tried the chocolate cheesecake.

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    The creme brulee had a beautiful, crispy sugar crust.  The cheesecake was very light and fluffy with almost a mousse like texture.  Both dessert dishes were empty in minutes.  The restaurant has live music that started toward the end of our meal thankfully.  The music was nice, but a little too loud for the space.  It would have been difficult to hold a casual conversation throughout.  Our waitress made us laugh, though, not on purpose most of the time.  She didn’t seem to fit the ambiance of the restaurant and appeared somewhat frazzled at times.  She was pleasant and kept our drinks filled, but really did seem like a duck out of water.  Total bill with two glasses of wine was $136 after a $25 Restaurant.com coupon.

    Cuvee 103
    2454 McMullen Booth Rd
    Clearwater, FL
    727-726-0350

    Cuvee 103 on Urbanspoon

    Food3/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value3/5
    3.0/5

    A friend and I were heading to a movie and stopped at First Watch for breakfast.  Luckily, we got there before the big Sunday crowd showed up.  We both ordered skillets.

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    I got mine with avocado and over easy eggs. The potatoes were perfectly cooked and the fruit on the side was fresh.  It was fresh and perfectly cooked.  That’s one of the things I really like about this restaurant.  Everything from the decor to the food is light and fresh.  It just has an overall different feel from so many of the other chain breakfast restaurants.  Something as simple as leaving a pitcher of water and coffee on the table makes it so much more convenient for both the waitress and us.  Total bill was $9.

    First Watch
    2569 Countryside Blvd
    Clearwater FL
    727-712-8769

    First Watch on Urbanspoon

    Food4/5
    Service4/5
    Atmosphere4/5
    Value3/5
    3.9/5

    We normally don’t even try to go to Bonefish on the weekends because they’re so busy, but surprisingly, we were able to walk in and get a table at 6pm without a wait.  They have a new menu, but we stuck with the specials and tried the Wagyu Beef & Ginger potstickers.

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    These were interesting.  The ginger flavor bursts in your mouth from the first bite.  I found the filling to be a bit too mushy though.  I wouldn’t have had any idea what kind of meat it was if it wasn’t listed on the menu.  It was very soft and the only flavor you really tasted was the ginger.  Don’t get me wrong, they were tasty, but just had a strange mouth-feel to them.  I can’t resist the crab and corn chowder here so I had to order a cup of it.

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    It has some nice bits of crab on top and a smooth, thick, creamy texture.  It’s got a little bit of heat and one of my favorite things on the menu.  Honestly, I need to just stop ordering entrees here and stick with the appetizer menu.

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    I ordered the wild caught sockeye salmon, Lily’s way, with a side of broccoli and Jasmine rice.  I shouldn’t have bothered with Lily’s way, which is goat cheese, artichoke hearts, spinach and a lemon basil sauce.   It really didn’t enhance the salmon in any way and I ended up scraping it off.  I like goat cheese, but it’s too overpowering for salmon.  Honestly, I’m not sure that cheese goes with any type of fish.  The fish was nicely cooked, but the dish was way overpriced for what it was.

    Loren ordered the Ahi Tuna Belleair.

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    It also came with goat cheese, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes and the same lemon basil sauce as mine had.  He ordered it rare and it was way overcooked.  The absolute center was almost close to rare, but that was it.  He ended up taking the goat cheese off as well.  Overall, the food just wasn’t up to par from what we expect here.

    We were seated at a table and instead of coming at us from the front of the table, our waitress would always walk up from behind in between us and it startled me every time.  She was stealthy.  She was very nice and I’m sure she came to that part of the table so she could hear us, but it just made me twitchy.  Total bill with a drink was $64.

    Bonefish Grill 
    2519 McMullen Booth Rd
    Clearwater, FL
    727-726-1315

    Bonefish Grill on Urbanspoon

     

     

     

     

    Food2/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value2/5
    2.5/5

    Over Sauced


    Going in, I think we knew this wasn’t the restaurant for us.  The Brown Boxer Pub & Grille is located where TGI Friday’s used to be over on US 19 near Countryside Mall.  They have a patio open to the restaurant and without someone to greet & seat us, we ended up grabbing a table out there.  That was our first mistake since we discovered part way through the meal that they allow smoking on the patio.  With TV’s throughout the restaurant, both inside & out, it was a rather loud experience as well.  We started off with what the menu described as “to die for” Sicilian meatballs.

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    Three meatballs for $9 seemed a bit high and they were just ok.  Loren liked them better than I did, but even from the photo you can see how oily it was.  For his entree, Loren went for the blackened mahi.

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    He said it was good.  The fish was fresh and the mashed potatoes were tasty even though they lacked the “hint of garlic” they were supposed to have.  I went for the BBQ pulled pork platter.

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    Somewhere under all that BBQ sauce, there was pulled pork.  The amount of tangy BBQ sauce on it made it pretty much inedible.  I would suggest ordering the sauce on the side.  The tater tots were good though.  Overall, there was nothing about this experience that would make us want to go back.  Total bill with a drink was $42.

    The Brown Boxer Pub & Grille
    26111 US 19 N
    Clearwater, FL
    727-799-3000

    The Brown Boxer Pub & Grille on Urbanspoon

    Food2/5
    Service2/5
    Atmosphere1/5
    Value1/5
    1.7/5