I have an obsession with Ipswich fried clams, so when I see them on a menu for a restaurant, we have to go eat there. Madfish Grill in Sarasota is supposedly the only place in town that carries them. They weren’t very busy when we arrived around 6:30pm which was fine with us. We started off with some bread & the lobster fondue.
The fondue was tasty with the toasted Cuban bread, but we didn’t like the strips of crunchy whatever it was that they put on top of it. They tasted ok and we tried to remove most of them, but they sort of melted into the fondue so you couldn’t get a clean scoop without getting some of the now mushy garnish. It was just unnecessary. For his entree, Loren got the grouper Florentine.
The asparagus was perfectly cooked and still crunchy, so he really liked that. The grouper was also perfectly cooked, but after just having the fondue, the cheese sauce was a bit much. It also had mashed potatoes on the bottom of it. He was happy and very full. The whole belly clams were the only thing on my mind.
The clams were delicious. Just like I remember from when I was a kid in New England. The fries were ok, but the cole slaw was too tart for me. I needed a touch of sweetness, so we got the chocolate lava cake.
Pretty standard lava cake with ice cream and whipped cream. Tasty end to a a tasty meal. Total bill with a drink was $68.
4059 Cattlemen Rd
We were on our way to Sarasota and stopped at the Sage Biscuit Cafe for brunch. It was really busy this morning. We had about a 20 minute wait for a table. They have seating both outside and in & since the outside seating was in the shade we were ok sitting out there. Everything on the menu sounded good and we finally settled on breakfast for me & lunch for Loren.
He ordered the salmon BLT with the cucumber salad for his side dish.
He really enjoyed it. The salmon was perfectly cooked and the cucumber salad had chick peas and herbs and other veggies plus a tasty dressing on it. He couldn’t stop eating it. I went for the Sage Biscuit breakfast platter.
There was more than enough food on this plate and everything was well seasoned and tasty and only $9.99. The biscuit was amazing. It had a wonderful savory flavor to it. So many restaurants serve very plain breakfast potatoes, but these had a delicious spice mixture on them. The French toast was thick and filling. I was stuffed by the time we were ready to leave. Definitely a place we’d return to next time we’re in Bradenton. Total bill with a drink was $25.
The Sage Biscuit Cafe
6656 Cortez Rd W
Another Broken Egg Cafe opened recently in Clearwater in the Northwood Plaza on McMullen Booth Rd. It’s a chain breakfast restaurant and there was about a 15 minute wait this morning. We were there with friends and three of us ordered the Lakeshore scramble and Loren just got the city grits & some scrambled eggs.
The grits were really good. They had garlic, onions, gouda, bacon, tomatoes & green onions in them. As for everything else, it was pretty standard breakfast fare. Nothing that made any of us say we just had to come back. We weren’t too impressed with our waitress. She didn’t seem like she wanted to be there at all. The restaurant also has an open ceiling which makes it louder in there than it needs to be. Total bill was $18 for the two of us.
Another Broken Egg Cafe
2554 McMullen Booth Rd
Tin Drum AsianCafe just opened up Friday in Oldsmar. It’s a chain restaurant serving up a variety of Asian dishes from street tacos, to noodle dishes to a few Indian offerings. The atmosphere is supposed to make you feel like you’re in a street cafe. There were some long communal tables, music rocking in the background, and a noise level that made us decide to get our food to go.
They had already run out of several appetizers, so we settled on one of the crab & cheese spring rolls, a teriyaki stirfry for me and a spinach ginger salad for Loren.
The spring roll was basically a crab rangoon in a wonton wrapper. It was crispy and tasty. Loren was a little disappointed in his salad. Although the ingredients were fresh, he expected much more of a ginger flavor since “ginger” was in the title of the dish. There wasn’t any fresh ginger in the salad and the only ginger flavor came from the dressing. He also said the chicken was underseasoned.
The teriyaki chicken had a tasty sauce on it, but the veggies were few & far between. It was supposed to have cabbage, mushrooms, carrots & onions but there just wasn’t much of it in the container. Overall, it felt like a small portion compared to what you get at other restaurants in the area. Don’t get me wrong, it was flavorful and fresh, and the chicken was tender, but there was nothing about the experience that completely wow’d us. They have a different special going on every day this week since it’s their opening week and one our entrees was half price, so total bill with a drink was $18.
Tin Drum Asian Cafe
3689 Tampa Rd
We were happy to discover that Johnny Grits now opens for dinner Wednesday-Saturday until 8pm. We got there around 7pm and they weren’t very busy which made for a nice, quiet dinner experience. We started off with the pasta purses and the andouille sausage, onion and provolone grit skillet.
These little bundles of goodness are stuffed with three cheeses and a pear puree that added a hint of unexpected sweetness to every bite. They were served in a bacon and tomato brown butter sauce. I would have liked more sauce on the dish, but otherwise they were pretty tasty.
The grits had just a little bit of cheese on them. Nice flavors, but the onions weren’t cooked quite enough and it definitely needed more salt. Our entrees came with soup or salad and I couldn’t pass up the mushroom soup.
After tasting the soup, I think Loren will think twice next time about ordering a salad. It was delicious. Creamy with chunks of mushroom and an amazing flavor. Yum! For his entree, Loren tried tonight’s steak special.
The steak was cooked perfectly, but overall the dish was under seasoned. The wine sauce just didn’t have the depth of flavor he was hoping for, but with a little salt & pepper added, he ate every last bit that was on the plate. I went for the southern chicken hash and was a little surprised at what actually came out of the kitchen.
The menu described it as a pan seared chicken breast with diced potatoes, sausage, mushrooms, caramelized onions, in a sherry wine cream sauce. That’s not quite what showed up, though I didn’t complain because what was on the plate was quite good. The mashed potatoes were homemade and quite happy to be dunked in the cream sauce which was delicious. Besides a few missteps on seasoning, the food was quite tasty. Total bill with a drink was $43.
857 E. Klosterman Rd
Tarpon Springs, FL