The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.

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Archive for the ‘Cuisine’ Category

Harr’s Surfside Cafe recently opened in the space vacated by MecaFresh.  It’s owned by Harr’s Surf & Turf next door.  They don’t have a very large menu, but I couldn’t resist the lobster roll & chowder combo.

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Though I did think the lobster roll was a bit on the small side, it was all fresh perfectly cooked lobster meat with just a hint of celery and mayo.  This is the perfect lobster roll in my opinion.  Nothing to get in the way of the lobster.  The chowder also had some nice flavors going on.  Loren ordered one of the specials, the spicy pastrami.

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I made him get the mac & cheese as his side dish.  Though it had a very cheddary flavor, it wasn’t quite creamy enough for my tastes.  He said the pastrami wasn’t very spicy, but overall the sandwich was good.  Total bill with a drink was $23.

Harr’s Surfside Cafe
3235 Tampa Road
Palm Harbor, FL
727-754-4992

Harr's Surfside Cafe on Urbanspoon

Food4/5
Service4/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.7/5

Quite a few restaurants are closed on Memorial Day so we ended up at the new Five Guys in Boot Ranch for lunch.

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The restaurant is big and bright, plenty of windows letting in lots of light.  The burgers & fries are what we’ve come to expect from Five Guys and I actually think these were a little less greasy than the ones we got recently at the Westchase location.  A little cheeseburger with grilled onions & mushrooms for me and a little bacon cheeseburger for Loren.  Plus you can’t leave here without some awesome fries.  Total bill was $15.

Five Guys Burgers & Fries
300 East Lake Road
Palm Harbor, FL
727-784-8965

Five Guys Burgers & Fries on Urbanspoon

Food4/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.4/5

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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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

Food4/5
Service2/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.1/5

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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
727-466-4916

Sea Dog Brewing Co on Urbanspoon

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

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.

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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.

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

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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
727-784-3469

Thirsty Marlin Grill & Bar on Urbanspoon

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