When we were at Sabai Thai last night we noticed that a new Greek restaurant just opened up next door called Taverna Skara. It’s a light and airy looking restaurant and they weren’t busy at all when we got there. They brought pita and olives to the table while we looked at the menus.
Loren said the olives were really good and I enjoyed the pita, though I would have liked something to dip it in. We decided to try the fried calamari for an appetizer.
This was a mixed bag of tender and chewy pieces of calamari. It seemed as though the pieces that kept their coating were fairly tender, but other pieces ended up being overcooked. The dish definitely needed salt and I didn’t like the way it was served in the cone. It made it very hard to get pieces out and dripped oil and crumbs all over the table.
For his entrée, Loren got the pork souvlaki platter.
It had pork, rice, pita, Greek salad and tzatziki sauce. He enjoyed it and ended up with way more pita and rice than he could eat. The tzatziki sauce had an interesting flavor to it. I can’t quite put my finger on what was different about it, but there was something. I tried the pastitsio.
This was a very good version of the dish. The flavors were all there, the pasta was tender and the béchamel sauce was creamy and had good flavor. My only criticism was that they melted some cheese on top that formed a hard crust. I just didn’t care for that. I also would have liked if it had been served with a small Greek salad. Most of the other entrees on the menu were served with a side or salad, so it seemed odd that the items on the Traditional Greek Entree list were not.
Service was very attentive, almost too attentive, but I’m guessing it’s because they’re new and there weren’t too many customers in the restaurant. Overall, the food was good and we’ll probably be back again to try some other dishes. Total bill with a drink was $43.
2454 McMullen Booth Rd
Our first visit to Sabai Thai was all about sushi, so we decided to try their Thai offerings today. I really liked the dumplings last time, so we had to get another order of those.
They’re very dense, but full of flavor. I could eat a plate full of them and be quite contented. The food comes out really fast here. I’m not sure if it’s because there weren’t very many customers or the kitchen is just on super speed. Loren got the ginger chicken.
He said it was very good, but didn’t have any heat to it even though he ordered it medium spicy. He said the reason he normally orders this dish is because it comes with lots of fresh veggies. I went for the Pad Lad Na.
The flavors were very mellow, but that’s pretty much what I expect from this dish. I would have liked the broccoli to have been cooked a little more, but overall, it was tasty. There was definitely a lot more sauce in this version than what I’ve gotten at other places. It was almost like eating a noodle soup. We both ended up with leftovers. Total bill with a drink was $28.
Sabai Thai Cuisine
2454 McMullen Booth Road
I’m on vacation all week and we’ve been craving cheeseburgers, so headed over to Athens in downtown Safety Harbor.
A mushroom cheeseburger with fries for me and a bacon cheeseburger with a side of chicken noodle soup for Loren.
He really liked the soup and we both devoured the burgers. They’re just fresh, simple, inexpensive, and tasty. Total bill with a drink was $16.
226 Main St
Safety Harbor, FL
A new seafood restaurant recently opened up in Safety Harbor. The Nantucket Bucket is located on 2nd Street S, just off of Main Street. Their indoor seating was full when we got there, so we sat out on the back patio. As we walked back there we noticed the kitchen was in what looked like a trailer to the left of the building. There were plenty of long tables on the patio and we were seated on one end while another couple was at the other end. This wasn’t really an issue, but as the place filled up, there was a family of four seated between us and it felt a bit crowded to me. I’m just not a fan of community seating, I prefer having my own table.
We started off with some potato bites (tater tots) and lobster based corn chowder.
The key word here is lobster based, meaning there wasn’t actually any lobster pieces in the chowder. In fact, the only thing in the chowder was corn. It tasted like frozen corn to me which has a texture I’m not fond of. The chowder itself was ok; rather peppery, but the amount of corn in it was ridiculous. I can’t imagine anyone being able to consume that much corn in one sitting. It really needed some other vegetables to alleviate the monotony of the dish.
The tater tots were good; but in all fairness, it’s hard to mess up a tater tot. Loren said the cheese sauce was pretty bad. Basically canned cheese sauce with canned jalapenos on top. For his entrée, Loren ordered the house salad with blackened mahi on top.
The salad was huge, but he said the menu indicated it should have had bacon on it and it didn’t. He liked the mahi and said it was cooked well, but he didn’t finish the salad. He also had to wait for the salad dressing since the waiter didn’t ask him which kind he wanted when he took the order. I decided to try the lobster roll and lobster based mac & cheese.
Let me start off by saying I’m originally from a fishing family in New England and we had fresh lobster quite frequently right off the boat. There is very little that needs to be done with lobster in order to make it delicious. A lobster roll, in my opinion, needs just a little bit of mayo, some salt & pepper and you’re done. Maybe a little celery or lettuce for crunch. I don’t know what they did to this lobster roll but it was quite inedible. The only word I can use to describe the taste is briny. It just got more and more unpleasant to eat with every bite and after just a few bites, I gave up completely. Loren tasted a chunk of the lobster and didn’t think it was bad, but then took another bite and tasted exactly what I did. The mac & cheese suffered the same fate. It had that same briny flavor to it. It was also a rather waxy mac & cheese versus a creamy version. Even the coleslaw had way too much vinegar in it.
When our waiter came back to our table and saw my uneaten meal, he asked if I wanted a box. I said no because it wasn’t very good. He cleared our plates and an experienced server would have mentioned something to the manager. That didn’t happen in this case. He brought the check and that was it. Granted, this place has only been opened a few weeks, but there was absolutely nothing about the experience that would make me go back again. Total bill with a drink was $41.
519 2nd Street South
Safety Harbor, FL
We decided to give Bella Kouzina another try, but unfortunately, this visit wasn’t any better than the last. It started with the fried calamari.
We order calamari almost every place that has it on the menu, so I think I’m a pretty good judge of how it should taste. This was just beyond chewy and had no flavor whatsoever. When the waitress stopped by and asked how it was, I told her it was chewy. She looked at me and said, “But, it’s calamari.” I’m guessing she’s just never had calamari cooked the right way before. She took it back to the kitchen and we heard someone say “drop another order of calamari”. Since nothing else was said as to cooking it differently, we ended up sending the second batch back as well & they took it off our check. The waitress said they must have just gotten a bad shipment. Personally, we both thought they just didn’t have the oil at the right temperature, so it was getting overcooked. But, on to the soups.
Loren got the clam chowder and I got the pasta fagioli. His had a decent flavor, but it wasn’t thick and creamy. My first bite tasted like baked beans and each subsequent bite had sort of a metallic taste when it hit my tongue. Loren said he could taste what I was tasting as well. The bread, however, was the highlight of the meal for me.
Loren ordered the salmon Cleopatra which had artichokes, celery and mushrooms in a white wine lemon sauce.
He said it was ok. At first, he didn’t like the sauce on it. I tasted it and thought it just tasted like olive oil with a little bit of lemon in it. His dish also came with pasta. He said it was overcooked and the sauce wasn’t great. I decided to try the pastitsio.
Again, this is a dish I order at most Greek restaurants, so I expect certain flavors. This one didn’t deliver. Instead of being cooked as one large dish and portioned out, it looks like an individual serving was made. The pasta wasn’t drained properly, so there was water in the bottom of the bowl. The meat filling had no flavor and the pasta sauce was tart. It hadn’t cooked anywhere near long enough to develop any decent flavors. This was a pretty disappointing meal for $29.
3101 SR 580
Safety Harbor, FL