Went to Miami to run the “12 Hours of Miami” race at Homestead International Raceway this weekend.  On the way there from Tampa, we had brunch at a Cracker Barrel.  It was good, but it’s Cracker Barrel… you either like Cracker Barrel or you don’t, but I ain’t blogging about it!  We also ate at the same Cracker Barrel again on the way home Sunday, it was good then, too.  Saturday, we had an early breakfast at Denny’s (conveniently next door to our hotel, which was curiously not a “La Quinta”, which I was sure was Spanish for “next to Denny’s”), and it was pretty good… it’s about the only thing that Denny’s does well.  Somebody made a Wendy’s run for chicken sandwiches during the race… any food is awesome after 2 hours behind the wheel of a race car, and that was no exception.  And late, late after the race Saturday night, we ate dinner at Denny’s… which was marginal at best, but what else are you gonna do when you’re hungry at 11pm?

Ah, but there was one meal that stood out!  Friday night, we had time to kill, it was early, and we were hungry.  We made our way to a seafood joint down the street from the hotel after searching for some Puerto Rican place that apparently burned down and was nowhere to be found.  The place was a tad fancier than we were dressed for, but it’s Florida, and we figured we probably wouldn’t be the only t-shirt wearing racers to stroll in there this evening.  (and we weren’t)

The menu was loaded with awesome-sounding seafood dishes.  Lots of fresh fish, some steaks, just all-around good stuff.  But, it was all a little pricey.  Not much under about $16-18.  But, then the waitress reminded us of their $9.99 specials.  While a nice bronzed Mahi sounded really good… for about half the price, steak and shrimp sounded better.  Two of us went with that.  Everyone else got seafood dishes.

Of course, the two of us who did the $9.99 steak special also bit on the conch chowder without realizing that it was a $7 bowl of soup!  So, we ended up spending $17 on dinner, anyway.  But, let’s back up a little.  First, there was bread…

It was really good bread!  A light crunchy crust on the outside, soft, warm and delicious on the inside.  As you probably know from reading this blog, if *I* bother to comment on the bread, it’s GOOD bread.  Then our conch chowder showed up in these neat little pewter pots that kept it piping hot.  We both agreed that we could have just eaten the soup and some bread and been good for the night.  It was a good-sized bowl of soup and very hearty.

The entrees came without too much of a wait.  Seeing the $9.99 special next to the other entrees made it clear what the difference was.  Our steak and shrimp came with fries rather than a choice of two fresh sides, and didn’t have that “gourmet” look about it.  I should have passed the camera around the table to get photos of the other dishes, as they all looked very good.  The specials weren’t bad, but to be fair, they’re not what I would judge this restaurant on.

The shrimp were well-cooked, good crunchy batter and with a decent sauce.  The fries were fries.  Absolutely nothing special about those fries.  The steak was surprisingly good, even though they overshot “medium” and went right into “medium well”.  The beef was tender and juicy, can’t complain for the price.

I just looked this place up on Urban Spoon to find some weak reviews and a low “like” percentage.  All I can say is, if you go here, plan on spending $20-25 per entree.  You can get cheap here, but you get what you pay for.  Spend the money and you won’t be disappointed!

11 SE 1st Ave
Homestead, FL

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