The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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Archive for the ‘Southern’ Category

Hearty Brunch


We got over to Johnny Grits around 11:00am this morning and had about a 15 minute wait.  By the time we left the wait was up to 35 minutes.  This place is packed on the weekends for breakfast.  Loren’s not much of a breakfast person, so he went for the smoked turkey club with a side salad.

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It was a big sandwich and he actually ended up taking half of it home with him.  Perfectly toasted bread, smoked turkey and crunchy bacon.  He was a happy guy.  I decided to try the fried chicken benedict.

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I opted to change the jalepeno cheddar sauce they normally serve with it to hollandaise instead.   Two perfectly tender fried chicken breasts over fresh biscuits with poached eggs and fried potatoes.  It was delicious and very filling.  There’s no coming to Johnny Grits without ordering a side of grits.  We choose the andouille, onion and cheese and added some mushrooms.

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Other than adding a little salt, the grits are yummy here.  Smooth and creamy and a perfect size for two.  Total bill with a drink was $25.

Johnny Grits
857 E. Klosterman Rd
Tarpon Springs, FL
727-942-4748

Johnny Grits Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food5/5
Service4/5
Atmosphere4/5
Value4/5
4.4/5

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Johnny Grits
857 E. Klosterman Rd
Tarpon Springs, FL
727-942-4748

Johnny Grits on Urbanspoon

Food4/5
Service4/5
Atmosphere4/5
Value4/5
4.0/5

We don’t get out to Johnny Grits as often as we like because they were only a breakfast and lunch restaurant, but we were happy to see that they now serve dinner Wednesday through Saturday.  No surprise that they were busy this Sunday morning, but luckily we didn’t have to wait too long for a table.  The table next to us had the most amazing looking fried chicken benedict, but I’d been craving shrimp and grits so I had to just put that benedict on my list for next time.

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Perfectly cooked shrimp on a bed of creamy grits and one of my favorite sauces.  It’s not spicy, but it has a wonderful blend of flavors in it.  The only thing I’m not keen on is the bacon.  Loren likes it, but I feel like it adds an odd texture to the dish.  Loren tried the grouper sandwich with a side of mac & cheese.

 

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He said the grouper was cooked nicely, but the ratio or bread to fish was a little off.  It was a big bun.  It was also served in this metal pail that made it difficult to try to cut the sandwich.  A plate would have worked just fine.  I admit, I couldn’t keep my fork out of the mac & cheese either.  Total bill with a drink was $27.

Johnny Grits
857 E. Klosterman Rd
Tarpon Springs, FL
727-942-4748

Johnny Grits on Urbanspoon

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

It was a cool night and I wanted some comfort food so we headed out to Southern Fresh in downtown Safety Harbor.  It seems quite a few other people had the same idea tonight.  Since it wasn’t warm enough to sit outside, we had to wait about 20 minutes for a table.  It’s a bit loud inside when it’s this full, but it’s so worth it.

Loren chose the salmon salad for dinner and I got what I always get, the fried chicken.

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They don’t have a large menu, in fact, I think it’s exactly the same as the first time we came here.  They’ve chosen to do a small number of menu items, but they do them right, every time.  The salmon was perfectly cooked and seasoned.  The salad has mixed greens, capers, grilled asparagus, tomatoes and a tasty balsamic vinaigrette.   The fried chicken is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.  It’s cooked to order so it’s hot and fresh.  Real mashed potatoes and gravy plus roasted veggies round out the deliciousness.  And then, who could pass up dessert?

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There’s not a bit left on the plate when we’re done.  It’s an angel food cake with sweetened strawberries and whipped cream.  Fresh and light, but oh so tasty.  Total bill with a drink was $36.  There’s a reason this place is busy.  The food, service and quality are consistent and great every time.

Southern Fresh
122 3rd Ave N
Safety Harbor, FL
727-216-6341

Southern Fresh on Urbanspoon

Food5/5
Service5/5
Atmosphere4/5
Value5/5
4.9/5

We went to an early movie this morning & then headed over to Johnny Grits for lunch.  It was a bit less crowded today than it usually is when we try to go on Sundays.  We tried to start off with some fried green tomatoes, but while we were waiting, the waitress came back to our table & said they were out.  She did, however, bring out a complimentary skillet of their black & bleu grits.

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Though it was a really nice gesture, neither of us like bleu cheese.  I wasn’t even going to take it, but Loren saw bacon on the grits and wanted to try it.  He pretty much ate around the bleu cheese, scooping up the bacon & grits (which were delish), but the pungent smell of the cheese was killing me.  As soon as the waitress came back to the table, I asked her to take it away just so I didn’t have to smell it anymore.

Loren tried to order the grouper sandwich, but the waitress told him it wasn’t good and to order something else.  She said their supply of grouper just wasn’t up to snuff that week and several people had returned the dish back to the kitchen.  We appreciated the honesty.  Instead, he went for the Rooster sandwich.

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It was grilled chicken with bacon and roasted red peppers.  He said it tasted good, but the lower bun was really soggy.  He also ordered fries which didn’t come out with the sandwich.  When they finally brought them out, they brought out sweet potato fries, so he had to send those back as well.  Eventually, he got his regular fries, which were right out of the fryer hot.   I’ve been on a grits kick lately, so couldn’t pass up the shrimp & grits.

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The thing that really takes this dish to the next level is the white wine creole cream sauce.  I’ve had their grits on their own and they’re good, but this sauce is what makes this dish something I’d order again & again.  The shrimp were perfectly cooked & the grits was creamy and delish.  I’m not a big fan of bacon in the dish, but Loren managed to scoop up most of it.  Though we certainly had some issues this time around, my taste buds went home happy.  Total bill with a drink was $21.

Johnny Grits
857 E. Klosterman Rd
Tarpon Springs, FL
727-942-4748

Johnny Grits on Urbanspoon

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