The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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We wanted something scrumptious for dinner so we headed over to Dunedin to Bistro Atlantis.  Surprisingly, there was only one other table of customers.  The last few times we were there, they were pretty busy.   This is one of those places where we’re tempted to eat everything on the menu, but after we scarfed down the fresh bread, we landed on the Shrimp Atlantis for an appetizer.

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It’s shrimp and tomatoes and feta in this delicious cream sauce over bread.  I think we sopped up every last bit of the sauce on the plate.  The shrimp were cooked perfectly and the flavors made us both very happy.  Loren went for the salmon and asparagus for his entree.

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It was served over rice with a tasty hollandaise sauce.  The salmon was cooked to perfection.  He also liked the added saltiness of the capers.  I went for the grouper topped with crab cake.

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It was served with red potatoes and spinach and though I really enjoyed all the flavors, I wish there had been a little crunch to the crab cake.  There just wasn’t much of a texture difference between the fish and crab cake.  As usual, there was no way I could pass up dessert.

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This was a delightful Limoncello cake with raspberry sauce.  The cake was moist and had a deep lemon flavor which paired perfectly with the raspberry.  Start to finish, it was an absolutely delicious meal.  Total bill with a drink was $67.

Bistro Atlantis
1140 Main St
Dunedin, FL
727-733-1909

Bistro Atantis on Urbanspoon

 

 

Food5/5
Service5/5
Atmosphere4/5
Value3/5
4.6/5

A friend of ours posted a photo of their dinner from Clear Sky Draught Haus in Dunedin, so we decided to head over there for dinner.  As far as I could tell, there’s no signage on the building and the only way we knew we were in the right place was a very small sign on the curb.  We’ve eaten at other restaurants in this space and the biggest issue with the location is the very small parking lot.

They have a nice outdoor patio that’s pet friendly, but as we walked up to the hostess booth, we could tell the hostess was stressing.  I don’t think she was trying to be rude, but she came off that way.  She didn’t smile until she was ready to deal with us.  After we were seated, Loren said asking us to wait wasn’t a big deal, but the way she put her hand up in a “stop right there” motion was not a welcoming first impression.

The space inside wasn’t very big and they had it open to the outside which was pleasant tonight, but will likely be sweltering come summer.  We looked over the menu and so many of the items sounded amazing.  Calamari was on the appetizer menu so I couldn’t pass that up.

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It seemed like a small portion for the price and unfortunately, it was both chewy and flavorless.  The only redeeming thing on the plate was the lemon ginger dipping sauce.  The batter desperately needed some seasoning, even a little salt would have helped.  For his entree, Loren ordered the mushroom crusted salmon.

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Loren’s a lot less picky than I am about food.  If this had been served to me, I’d have sent it back.  The salmon was fishy.  I’ve eaten a lot of salmon and it just shouldn’t taste that way.  The manager came by and asked how things were and I told him the fish was not fresh.  He ended up taking it off the bill and also gave us a $15 coupon to come back again.  The customer service was good; the food, not so much.   Another manager came by and said something to the effect of the salmon wasn’t his favorite dish on the menu.  Makes you wonder why it’s on the menu, doesn’t it?   I ordered the Tuscan Chicken.

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It was served with cappicola, goat cheese, and a mushroom risotto.  I liked the chicken, but would have preferred that it was a little more tender.  That became very apparent as I was trying to cut it with a butter knife.  I will never understand why any restaurant wouldn’t give you a real knife when serving beef, chicken or pork. The cappicola and goat cheese added an interesting flavor to the dish.   The mushroom risotto was unevenly cooked.  Nice flavor, but would have been better without the crunchy pieces of rice.  We decided to try the banana bread pudding for dessert.

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The menu described it as a banana bread pudding with chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, whipped cream and a cherry.  I didn’t taste any caramel and there wasn’t cherry on top, instead it was a very unevenly heated dense banana bread.  The bottom was hot, the middle was cold, and the rest was lukewarm.   Overall, it was just a very disappointing meal.  Everything looked and sounded good, but the execution just wasn’t up to par.  Total bill with a drink was $37 after the salmon was removed.

Clear Sky Draught Haus
680 Main St
Dunedin, FL
727-286-6266

Clear Sky Draught Haus on Urbanspoon

Food2/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value2/5
2.5/5
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  • Filed under: American, Dunedin
  • We’ve seen so many new restaurants come and go lately that I’m pleasantly surprised when one makes it past their one year anniversary.  The first time we visited Southern Fresh in Safety Harbor, I didn’t think they’d survive with such a limited menu.  Don’t get me wrong, the food is amazing; but with so few choices, I had my doubts as to how often customers would return to eat there.  I’m happy to say that they had a packed house tonight and the quality of the food has remained constant.

    Loren started off with the BLT soup.

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    This is one of those dishes that you have to taste to believe.  It has all the flavors of a BLT in a warm, peppery broth.  The fresh crunch of the lettuce is such an interesting texture for a soup.   Because the restaurant was full, there was a bit of a wait for our entrees.  We were seated inside and I could see into the kitchen where the fried chicken magic was happening.  Every piece was hand breaded and cooked in cast iron skillets.  I also spent some time just looking at the decor.  I liked the old fashioned glass domes on the ceiling fans.

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    Our entrees arrived fresh and hot out of the kitchen.  Loren ordered their special tonight which was a blackened red fish with saffron rice and roasted veggies.

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    He said it was delicious.  The fish was perfectly cooked and seasoned.  The roasted veggies were tasty, but some were unevenly cooked so harder than others.   I went for their famous fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy and the roasted veggies.

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    My only complaint is that I wish it was served on a larger plate.  It was a bit crowded and hard to not knock things off onto the table.   I ordered the dark meat which meant two thighs and a leg.  The chicken was crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside.  There’s nothing I like more than real mashed potatoes and these were the real deal.  Banana pudding is the only dessert on their menu, but tonight they also had a strawberry shortcake on their specials menu so we had to have some.

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    Though I’m not a big fan of sponge cake, the rest of this dessert was delicious.  Fresh strawberries, not overly sweet and a perfect portion for two.  The service here is also very good.  They all help each other and clear plates and fill glasses.   Overall, a great dinner for $44.

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

    Southern Fresh on Urbanspoon

    Food4/5
    Service4/5
    Atmosphere4/5
    Value3/5
    3.9/5

    We were sitting at home watching an episode of Chopped where the chefs had to make burgers for every round.  By the end of the show, we were trying to figure out where to go for burgers for dinner.  We ended up at TGI Friday’s in Westchase.

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    Loren got the bacon cheeseburger, and I just got a regular cheeseburger.  They were both cooked well and I really enjoyed the seasoned fries.  The best part of going to TGI Friday’s though is the vanilla bean cheesecake.

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    This has to be one of the all time favorite desserts.  The cheesecake part is good, but the vanilla mousse on top is awesome.  So yummy.  Total bill with a drink was $29.

    TGI Friday’s
    11705 W. Hillborough Ave
    Tampa, FL
    813-891-6496

    T.G.I. Friday's on Urbanspoon

     

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

    Hard to Eat


    We fought the crowd for brunch at Johnny Grits this morning.  There was a line out the door.  Unfortunately, our experience today wasn’t as good as it’s been in the past.  Loren ordered the chicken sandwich with bacon and a side of fries.

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    The chicken was very thick which made it hard to eat as a sandwich.  It really needed to be flattened more to fit on the bun.  His bacon was overcooked and his fries weren’t crispy enough.  I ordered the breakfast bowl special.

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    It had potatoes, bacon, sausage, two eggs, a biscuit and sausage gravy.  My bacon suffered the same fate as Loren’s, being way overcooked.  The sausage was also overcooked.  My over-easy eggs had already broken by the time it got to the table.   The biscuit & gravy was probably the best thing on the plate.  Total bill with a drink was $19.

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

    Johnny Grits on Urbanspoon

    Food2/5
    Service4/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value3/5
    2.9/5