The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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So Slow

We were driving back from The Fringe in Orlando and stopped at Harry’s Seafood in Lakeland for dinner.  We were seated very quickly in the back of the restaurant and then the waiting began.  Once our server finally showed up, he was an extremely polite and friendly guy, but unfortunately that doesn’t make up for the continuous waiting and incorrect things that happened with our meal.  Our waiter brought out some bread.



It was warm and crusty and the herbed butter was tasty.  Good thing we had it because the wait was pretty long for our entrees.  Loren ordered the redfish with a side of collards.




He enjoyed them both.  The fish was cooked well and not overly spicy.  I ordered the crawfish etoufee.



When the waiter took my order, he asked if I wanted green onions on it or not.  I said no, but when it arrived it was covered in them.  I sent it back and from what was returned back to me, I can only surmise that someone just took it back to the kitchen & picked them all off of the same dish.  It was a bit spicier than I remembered from the last time I had it here.  I ended up taking half of it home with me.  We decided to try the chocolate bread pudding for dessert.



This was an unusual dish.  It was brownie-yet-bread like and went very well with the sauce and ice cream.  We both enjoyed it.  It wasn’t overly chocolatey, but interesting.  Here’s where the waiting started again.  We actually watched another table get seated and then walk out when no one ever came to take their order.  Loren’s drink order was wrong and the amount of time we spent just sitting there waiting was ridiculous.  I don’t know if they were short staffed or what, but they definitely needed better coverage in the back area where we were seated.  Total bill with a drink was $44.

Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grill
101 N Kentucky Ave
Lakeland, FL
(863) 686-2228

Harry's Seafood, Bar & Grille on Urbanspoon


Mixed Results

The Sea Dog Brewing Co opened up recently in Clearwater.  Though we’re not drinkers, their menu looked interesting enough to draw us in.  The restaurant is big and open and a bit on the loud side.  We started off with the calamari and some clam chowder.





Both were very good.  The calamari had a nice crunch, but was also tender.  I didn’t like the kalamata and caper aioli that came with it though.  I’m not a fan of olives, but Loren liked it.  The clam chowder was very creamy and had nice chunks of clam in it without any grit.  Nothing worse than getting clam chowder with gritty clams.  Loren thought it was a little too thick, but I thought it was perfect.  For his entree, he got the pot roast dinner.



He said the pot roast was very tender and tasty.  He liked the potatoes, but wasn’t quite as thrilled with the broccoli rabe.  I saw whole belly clams on their appetizer menu and ordered that as my entree with a side of mac & cheese.





Unfortunately, I wouldn’t order either of these items again.  The clams were very crunchy with very small bellies.  The quality just wasn’t there.   The mac & cheese is made with a beer cheese sauce that was very overwhelming.  Not a flavor that I liked at all.   Our waiter ended up taking it off the bill since he realized that I just didn’t like it.  He recommended that I try the lobster mac & cheese next time as it’s made with a different cream sauce.  We finished off the meal with the apple crisp.



When it came out, it was nothing like we had expected.  It was more like a slice of apple pie than what I had imagined a crisp to be.  The apples were very tart, but they actually blended well with the soft crust, ice cream and caramel.  I expect that we’ll try the food here again.  There were a lot of other things on the menu that peaked my interest.  Total bill with a drink was $55.

Sea Dog Brewing Co
26200 US Hwy 19 N
Clearwater, FL

Sea Dog Brewing Co on Urbanspoon


Still Salty

We usually spend our Sunday mornings at the movies and then head out for a late lunch.  Today it was Star Trek and Thirsty Marlin.  We started off with some calamari.



We order calamari almost every place we go, and this was surprisingly good.  It had a crunchy and flavorful batter and was pretty tender.  It came with marinara sauce, but I got a side of ranch which made it even better.  For his lunch, Loren ordered the blackened mahi sandwich.



He said the fish was cooked well and had good flavors.  I went for a steak philly and onion rings.



Though the first few bites were good, I found the saltiness became overwhelming after a while.  It just continued to build until I couldn’t take anymore.  I didn’t like the onion rings at all.  They lacked the appropriate crunch and were also overly salted.  I did enjoy the cole slaw though.  Total bill with a drink was $37.

Thirsty Marlin
1023 Florida Ave
Palm Harbor, FL

Thirsty Marlin Grill & Bar on Urbanspoon


With so many Thai restaurants in the area, we decided to circle back to Ban Thai for dinner tonight.  They were crowded as usual, but had a few tables open so we didn’t have to wait.  I’m still on my “must have dumplings” kick, so that’s where we started.



I think this is the first time we’ve ordered them here.  They were tasty little bundles of pork and veggies, but very dense.   Loren went for the ginger chicken.



He said it was very good.  I find the flavors here to be on the dark side.  I don’t know if that makes any sense or not, but there’s just something about their sauces that don’t thrill my senses.  Loren likes it though.  For me, it’s all about the lobster roll.



This one sushi roll is a meal in itself.  It’s huge, incredibly sloppy to eat, and oh so good.  Besides the actual rolls, there are also chunks of lobster piled up on the side.  It’s my favorite roll here.  We also shared a Rainbow Roll.



This was very fresh and tasty.  It’s a huge contrast to the sauce drenched lobster roll, but perfectly delightful in its own right.  With sushi, simplicity can be quite awesome.  Total bill with a drink was $45.

Ban Thai Restaurant
2519 McMullen Booth Road
Clearwater, FL

Ban Thai on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: Clearwater, Sushi, Thai
  • Charred

    I received a coupon in the mail for $8 off two entrees at Outback, so we headed out there for dinner tonight.  They were also doing a 4-course special, so we both opted for that.  The kitchen was backed up, so it took a while to get our bread and soup and salad.





    We both chose the clam chowder which was quite a bit spicier than I had anticipated.  It was creamy and had good flavors though.  What we didn’t know, until the bill came out, was that there was an upcharge for the clam chowder.  I’m always a little miffed for things to show up on the bill that we weren’t told about ahead of time.  Our waitress said she didn’t know there was an upcharge.

    There are a limited number of choices on the 4-course entree menu, but that wasn’t an issue for Loren.  He got the 6 oz sirloin with a baked potato.



    Though the presentation left a bit to be desired, he said the steak was cooked a perfect medium.  He enjoyed it.  Normally, I order the Alice Springs Chicken, but it wasn’t one of the options, so I tried their new Honey Mustard Chicken.



    That was a mistake.  There’s a distinct difference between lightly charred and burnt.  This fell into the burnt category.  I tried to eat around the crispy parts.  The main reason I didn’t send it back is that Loren would have been finished with his meal before something new could come out of the kitchen for me.  We’d already been waiting a long time so it wasn’t worth the effort.  The waitress asked if I wanted to bring the leftovers home and I told her no, couldn’t she see how burnt it was?  The manager came over and was very apologetic and took it off the bill.  Let’s face it, something that looks like this never should have made it out of the kitchen.  For our last course, we got one of each desserts offered, the cheesecake and carrot cake.




    For me, the cheesecake was the best part of the meal.  It was creamy and the raspberry sauce was good.  Loren liked the carrot cake.  Since we no longer had two entrees on the menu, I didn’t use my coupon and the final bill ended up being $21 with a drink.

    Outback Steakhouse
    31988 US Hwy 19 N
    Palm Harbor, FL

    Outback Steakhouse on Urbanspoon