We stopped for a late lunch at Cheddar’s today. They were pretty crowded and we were seated way in the back of the restaurant, now known as the “ignored zone”. I’m convinced our waitress’s tables must have been scattered throughout the restaurant because she certainly wasn’t anywhere near our table for most of the time we were there. We decided to start off with some onion rings.
It was a heaping pile of onion rings for $4. Way more than we could eat. They had a nice crunch and the onions were cooked perfectly. The only downside was that the more you ate, the saltier they got. For his entree, Loren got the World Class Chicken sandwich.
He’s a big bacon fan, but he ended up taking this bacon off the sandwich. It was a brown sugar cured bacon which meant it didn’t taste like bacon at all. It was slightly sweet, but mostly had no flavor at all. I ordered the half salad/half Monte Cristo combo.
The Monte Cristo is like eating a ham & cheese doughnut, especially when you dip it in the raspberry preserves that come with it. Very sweet and tasty too. Total bill with a drink was $22.
Cheddar’s Casual Cafe
2655 Roosevelt Blvd
Clearwater, FL 33760
The first thing we noticed when we walked into Roosterfish Grill was the noise level. This is another one of those restaurants where it was difficult to have a conversation across the table. The second thing we noticed were the rolls of paper towels hanging above all of the tables suspended by coat hangers. The design flaw of this became very apparent every time the waiter came to our table and had to awkwardly bend down around it to talk to us.
We started off with a cup of clam chowder and a cup of crab chowder.
Both chowders were on the thin side and needed salt. We just both like thick, rich, creamy chowders and these had more of a soup consistency. Next up calamari.
The calamari itself was good. It had the right crunch and the pieces were tender. The marinara sauce that came with it tasted like canned tomato paste that hadn’t been cooked for very long. For his entree, Loren ordered the mango mahi.
He said the fish was ok. It was tender and the mango salsa on top was tasty. The broccoli was a mix of new green pieces and old brown ones that looked like they had been sitting in the kitchen all day. I decided to try one of the specials, the fried oysters.
The waiter told us this was the first night they were on the menu and from my first bite, I hope it was the last. They were completely inedible. There was so much salt in the breading that you couldn’t even taste the oysters. Just absolutely awful. The manager took it off our bill and offered us a free dessert. We got the black forest cake.
I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth, but the cake tasted like it had been recently frozen and improperly thawed because the cake was wet. Not moist, but wet. It actually had a good flavor to it, but the texture was wrong. Total bill with a drink was $35 and since there were issues with every plate of food, we won’t be going back again.
776 Missouri Ave
I’ve been searching for a restaurant to satisfy my Ipswich clam cravings. Having grown up in New England, it’s one of those tastes of my childhood that I miss and can’t find anywhere. That is until tonight when we ate at Rosie’s Clam Shack in Pinellas Park. But first, we had to try the clam chowder.
This was a thick, rich chowder with lots of potatoes and clams. It had a very mild flavor and needed a little salt, but otherwise, pretty tasty. Loren decided to try the stuffed grouper.
For his two sides, he chose the parsley potatoes and the pasta salad. He really liked this dish. He said the grouper was cooked perfectly and the stuffing had a nice flavor to it. The pasta salad had a little spicy kick to it that he liked as well. Loren said he wished he had taken a photo of the happy look on my face when I ate the first fried clam.
These were perfectly cooked. Crunchy, with tender bellies, just like I remembered them. I really liked the parsley potatoes too. Since everything else was tasting so good, we decided to try the apple blossom dessert.
I think if I had turned around this would have been gone before I was able to look back. The apple filling and tender crust were just yummy. It was a very simple dessert, but sometimes, those can be the best. My only complaint about the restaurant is that it took quite a while for the food to come out of the kitchen. We will definitely be back. Total bill with a drink was $52.
Rosie’s Clam Shack
6657 49th St
Pinellas Park, FL
Johnny Grit’s recently opened up where Nana’s was in Tarpon Springs. We were amazed at how different the interior looked. It went from kitschy to classy. It was like watching an episode of Restaurant Impossible. Remove the clutter, remove the carpet, repaint and all of a sudden the whole restaurant seems brighter. Loren went for the shrimp and grits with andouille sausage.
Johnny definitely knows his grits. I kept stealing bites off of Loren’s plate. The grits were creamy and cheesy and perfectly cooked and seasoned. Loren said he could have eaten just a bowl of grits with the sauce on top. The andouille was spicy and flavorful. The only thing he didn’t like was that the shrimp still had the tails on so that made them a little difficult to eat. I’d definitely order this dish again. I went for the Southern Chicken Hash which came with two sides.
The hash was delicious. The chicken was tender and the gravy was flavorful and rich. It also had potatoes, onions, and mushrooms. So good. I ate every last bite of this dish. The sweet potato fries were good. Loren actually liked the mac & cheese more than I did. I like a more mild, creamy cheddar and this one was a bit too sharp for me. The menu said that the chef is Italian and his mother made him put cannoli on the menu, so how could I pass that up?
It was a pretty tasty cannoli. Mom knows best. The restaurant is only open for breakfast and lunch, but we’ll definitely be back. I wish I had a bowl of those grits right now. Mmmm.. Total bill with a drink was $29.
857 E. Klosterman Rd
Tarpon Springs, FL
The Nosh Cafe recently opened where the Central Park Deli was in Oldsmar. They have a good sized sandwich menu and Loren went for a half Amore roast beef sandwich and chili combo.
He said it was ok. The sandwich had roast beef, garlic mayo, tomato and red onion & topped with melted Provolone on Cuban bread. Nothing out of the ordinary about it. I ordered the Cuban sandwich with a side of potato salad.
This is one of my new favorite sandwiches. It was so good. The meats on it had such a wonderful flavor. The Cuban bread was perfectly pressed and everything about it just worked. From the first bite to the last, I had happy taste buds. Even Loren said it was tasty. I liked the potato salad as well. We’ll definitely be back. Total bill with two drinks was $21.
4058 Tampa Rd, Ste 4