The first thing we noticed when we walked into Roosterfish Grill was the noise level. This is another one of those restaurants where it was difficult to have a conversation across the table. The second thing we noticed were the rolls of paper towels hanging above all of the tables suspended by coat hangers. The design flaw of this became very apparent every time the waiter came to our table and had to awkwardly bend down around it to talk to us.
We started off with a cup of clam chowder and a cup of crab chowder.
Both chowders were on the thin side and needed salt. We just both like thick, rich, creamy chowders and these had more of a soup consistency. Next up calamari.
The calamari itself was good. It had the right crunch and the pieces were tender. The marinara sauce that came with it tasted like canned tomato paste that hadn’t been cooked for very long. For his entree, Loren ordered the mango mahi.
He said the fish was ok. It was tender and the mango salsa on top was tasty. The broccoli was a mix of new green pieces and old brown ones that looked like they had been sitting in the kitchen all day. I decided to try one of the specials, the fried oysters.
The waiter told us this was the first night they were on the menu and from my first bite, I hope it was the last. They were completely inedible. There was so much salt in the breading that you couldn’t even taste the oysters. Just absolutely awful. The manager took it off our bill and offered us a free dessert. We got the black forest cake.
I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth, but the cake tasted like it had been recently frozen and improperly thawed because the cake was wet. Not moist, but wet. It actually had a good flavor to it, but the texture was wrong. Total bill with a drink was $35 and since there were issues with every plate of food, we won’t be going back again.
776 Missouri Ave
I’ve been searching for a restaurant to satisfy my Ipswich clam cravings. Having grown up in New England, it’s one of those tastes of my childhood that I miss and can’t find anywhere. That is until tonight when we ate at Rosie’s Clam Shack in Pinellas Park. But first, we had to try the clam chowder.
This was a thick, rich chowder with lots of potatoes and clams. It had a very mild flavor and needed a little salt, but otherwise, pretty tasty. Loren decided to try the stuffed grouper.
For his two sides, he chose the parsley potatoes and the pasta salad. He really liked this dish. He said the grouper was cooked perfectly and the stuffing had a nice flavor to it. The pasta salad had a little spicy kick to it that he liked as well. Loren said he wished he had taken a photo of the happy look on my face when I ate the first fried clam.
These were perfectly cooked. Crunchy, with tender bellies, just like I remembered them. I really liked the parsley potatoes too. Since everything else was tasting so good, we decided to try the apple blossom dessert.
I think if I had turned around this would have been gone before I was able to look back. The apple filling and tender crust were just yummy. It was a very simple dessert, but sometimes, those can be the best. My only complaint about the restaurant is that it took quite a while for the food to come out of the kitchen. We will definitely be back. Total bill with a drink was $52.
Rosie’s Clam Shack
6657 49th St
Pinellas Park, FL
We normally don’t even attempt to go to Bonefish on the weekend because it’s so crowded, but we decided to try early tonight & didn’t have to wait for a table. They had some lobster specials going on tonight, so after devouring the bread, we started off with some lobster rangoons.
We both enjoyed these. Nice and crispy with a lobster cream cheese filling. I always have to get the corn chowder when we go to Bonefish. It’s one of my favorite things on the menu.
It’s very thick and creamy, but just have a wonderful overall flavor. I’m glad I got both the appetizer and the chowder since my lobster roll was somewhat disappointing.
I get that lobster rolls shouldn’t have a lot of mayo on them, but they do need some. This was just very dry and I didn’t like the raw onions in it either. The lobster pieces were really small and felt like the leftovers from other lobster dishes versus having lobster chunks being pulled specifically for this dish. Loren got the 10oz sirloin with the scalloped potatoes.
He said it was pretty good. The steak was cooked medium and was fairly tender. Total bill with a drink was $50.
2519 McMullen Booth Rd
I was bummed when the Boston Cooker closed their location in Oldsmar, but today we decided to drive up to their remaining location in Spring Hill. Unfortunately, the experience wasn’t worth the drive. The restaurant in Spring Hill looks identical to the interior of Daddy’s Grill. The best part of the meal was the rolls fresh from the oven. We started off with some lobster bisque and Loren got a salad.
The bisque was really thick and in need of salt. There weren’t any actual pieces of lobster in there either. Loren got the seafood platter.
It had shrimp, scallops, fish, and oysters in it. He said it was ok with the fish being the best thing on the plate. The only reason I wanted to go here was for the whole belly clams.
What a total disappointment. I had to send the first plate back because the clams were watery and mushy. It was terrible. By the time, the new batch came out, Loren was just about finished with his meal. The second batch wasn’t as watery, but they weren’t great either. Nothing like I remembered having them before. We won’t be heading back up there again. Total bill with a drink was $37.
5375 Springhill Drive
Spring Hill, FL
We went to lunch with a friend of ours today and he hadn’t been to the Surfside Cafe yet, so that was our destination. They had a shrimp burger on their specials menu today and we each got one. He went for the grilled and I went for the fried with sweet potato fries.
My expectation was that it was going to be ground up shrimp with lots of filler, boy, was I wrong! This was made with whole shrimp, no filler and a nice, crispy exterior. The shrimp were perfectly cooked and it had a nice crunch. The tarter sauce served with it had a distinct fresh dill flavor to it. Very yummy! The grilled version was identical except for the breading on the outside. Loren decided to try the blackened grouper sandwich.
He was very impressed with it as well. He commented how he’d been so disappointed in grouper sandwiches in general lately that he’s been ordering mahi more often than not. He said this sandwich put him back on the grouper bandwagon. Fresh, perfectly cooked, and lightly blackened. I got the distinct feeling he’ll be ordering this again. This was our second visit here and everything was delicious. I expect we’ll be back many more times. Total bill for the three sandwiches & two drinks was $34.
Harr’s Surfside Cafe
3235 Tampa Road
Palm Harbor, FL
Harr’s Surfside Cafe recently opened in the space vacated by MecaFresh. It’s owned by Harr’s Surf & Turf next door. They don’t have a very large menu, but I couldn’t resist the lobster roll & chowder combo.
Though I did think the lobster roll was a bit on the small side, it was all fresh perfectly cooked lobster meat with just a hint of celery and mayo. This is the perfect lobster roll in my opinion. Nothing to get in the way of the lobster. The chowder also had some nice flavors going on. Loren ordered one of the specials, the spicy pastrami.
I made him get the mac & cheese as his side dish. Though it had a very cheddary flavor, it wasn’t quite creamy enough for my tastes. He said the pastrami wasn’t very spicy, but overall the sandwich was good. Total bill with a drink was $23.
Harr’s Surfside Cafe
3235 Tampa Road
Palm Harbor, FL
We were driving back from The Fringe in Orlando and stopped at Harry’s Seafood in Lakeland for dinner. We were seated very quickly in the back of the restaurant and then the waiting began. Once our server finally showed up, he was an extremely polite and friendly guy, but unfortunately that doesn’t make up for the continuous waiting and incorrect things that happened with our meal. Our waiter brought out some bread.
It was warm and crusty and the herbed butter was tasty. Good thing we had it because the wait was pretty long for our entrees. Loren ordered the redfish with a side of collards.
He enjoyed them both. The fish was cooked well and not overly spicy. I ordered the crawfish etoufee.
When the waiter took my order, he asked if I wanted green onions on it or not. I said no, but when it arrived it was covered in them. I sent it back and from what was returned back to me, I can only surmise that someone just took it back to the kitchen & picked them all off of the same dish. It was a bit spicier than I remembered from the last time I had it here. I ended up taking half of it home with me. We decided to try the chocolate bread pudding for dessert.
This was an unusual dish. It was brownie-yet-bread like and went very well with the sauce and ice cream. We both enjoyed it. It wasn’t overly chocolatey, but interesting. Here’s where the waiting started again. We actually watched another table get seated and then walk out when no one ever came to take their order. Loren’s drink order was wrong and the amount of time we spent just sitting there waiting was ridiculous. I don’t know if they were short staffed or what, but they definitely needed better coverage in the back area where we were seated. Total bill with a drink was $44.
Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grill
101 N Kentucky Ave
The Sea Dog Brewing Co opened up recently in Clearwater. Though we’re not drinkers, their menu looked interesting enough to draw us in. The restaurant is big and open and a bit on the loud side. We started off with the calamari and some clam chowder.
Both were very good. The calamari had a nice crunch, but was also tender. I didn’t like the kalamata and caper aioli that came with it though. I’m not a fan of olives, but Loren liked it. The clam chowder was very creamy and had nice chunks of clam in it without any grit. Nothing worse than getting clam chowder with gritty clams. Loren thought it was a little too thick, but I thought it was perfect. For his entree, he got the pot roast dinner.
He said the pot roast was very tender and tasty. He liked the potatoes, but wasn’t quite as thrilled with the broccoli rabe. I saw whole belly clams on their appetizer menu and ordered that as my entree with a side of mac & cheese.
Unfortunately, I wouldn’t order either of these items again. The clams were very crunchy with very small bellies. The quality just wasn’t there. The mac & cheese is made with a beer cheese sauce that was very overwhelming. Not a flavor that I liked at all. Our waiter ended up taking it off the bill since he realized that I just didn’t like it. He recommended that I try the lobster mac & cheese next time as it’s made with a different cream sauce. We finished off the meal with the apple crisp.
When it came out, it was nothing like we had expected. It was more like a slice of apple pie than what I had imagined a crisp to be. The apples were very tart, but they actually blended well with the soft crust, ice cream and caramel. I expect that we’ll try the food here again. There were a lot of other things on the menu that peaked my interest. Total bill with a drink was $55.
Sea Dog Brewing Co
26200 US Hwy 19 N
We usually spend our Sunday mornings at the movies and then head out for a late lunch. Today it was Star Trek and Thirsty Marlin. We started off with some calamari.
We order calamari almost every place we go, and this was surprisingly good. It had a crunchy and flavorful batter and was pretty tender. It came with marinara sauce, but I got a side of ranch which made it even better. For his lunch, Loren ordered the blackened mahi sandwich.
He said the fish was cooked well and had good flavors. I went for a steak philly and onion rings.
Though the first few bites were good, I found the saltiness became overwhelming after a while. It just continued to build until I couldn’t take anymore. I didn’t like the onion rings at all. They lacked the appropriate crunch and were also overly salted. I did enjoy the cole slaw though. Total bill with a drink was $37.
1023 Florida Ave
Palm Harbor, FL
My dining experiences at Rumba Island in Oldsmar have been going downhill for a while and tonight was no exception. They remodeled the interior since the last time we were there and now the entire restaurant is open to the bar area which made it a bit louder inside. Not sure how that’s going feel once the summer heat sets in. We started off with some grouper fritters and corn muffins.
The corn muffins were yummy as usual. That’s about the only consistent thing I’ve found here. The grouper fritters were ok, but a bit on the spicy side for me. Loren ordered a bacon cheeseburger.
He liked it. In fact, he usually has a pretty good experience with the food here. I’m the one that ends up with the wonky entrees. Tonight, I went for something I’ve had before with relative success, the BBQ salmon.
One bite was enough to tell me that the salmon was not fresh. I eat enough salmon to know that it shouldn’t have a fishy taste to it. And just to be certain that I wasn’t being overly critical, I had Loren taste it and he agreed. When the waiter finally came back to our table, I told him the fish wasn’t good. He said salmon is a very fishy tasting fish and I politely disagreed. If that’s what he thinks, then he’s obviously never had fresh salmon. They took it off the bill and the manager came out as well, but I sort of got the impression from him that he didn’t think there was anything wrong with the fish either. Total bill with a drink was $19.
Rumba Island Bar & Grill
3687 Tampa Road
We went to the Matchbox Twenty concert at Universal Studios tonight and took in a late dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co in City Walk. We got there a little after 10pm and there was a good 45 minute wait for a table. The restaurant was pretty loud, but luckily we were seated in a back corner so it wasn’t too bad. The whole place is filled with memorabilia from Forest Gump and our waiter even quizzed us on the movie. Loren went for Lt Dan’s Drunken Shrimp.
It had shrimp and a very mild andouille sausage over mashed potatoes. He really liked it. The shrimp were cooked perfectly and the mashed potatoes were smooth and tasty. He ate every last bite on the plate. I got the stuffed shrimp.
This was also a really tasty dish. The crabmeat stuffing was plentiful and had a good flavor and the shrimp were cooked well. It also came with rice and a piece of garlic bread. Service was quick and efficient and our waiter was really friendly. Total bill with a drink was $41.
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co
6000 Universal Blvd
Loren was craving a steak tonight, so we headed out to the Longhorn in Palm Harbor. The wait was about 40 minutes, but we figured anywhere we went on a Friday at 6pm was going to be busy. The Longhorn currently has a Steakhouse Dinner for Two deal going on. It includes an appetizer or dessert, salads, and two entrees for $25. While we waited on our appetizer, we dug into the bread.
This is the way bread should be. It was warm and slightly chewy and oh so yummy. We just kept eating more & more of it. Luckily, our calamari appetizer arrived before we completely stuffed ourselves on bread.
The calamari was cooked pretty well, but any longer in the fryer and it would have been tough. It had a nice crunch and the smoky tomato ranch dipping sauce was awesome! I need to figure out how to make that at home.
They really had the timing down perfectly tonight. As soon as we finished our appetizer, the salads came right out and our entrees were served just as the waiter was clearing the salad plates. As busy as they were, I was happily surprised to not be sitting around wondering where our food was. Loren went for the Renegade steak & baked potato.
He said the steak wasn’t quite tender enough, but was perfectly cooked and seasoned. The 6 oz size was just the right amount for him too. I went for the salmon with a side of sweet potato bites.
I’ve found my new favorite side dish. These things were amazing. They had a sweet, maple syrupy aroma, but had the texture of a tater tot. It was almost like a butterscotch candy, but not overly sweet. Yummy! The salmon was perfectly cooked and very good. The only thing I didn’t like was the rice. It was way too spicy for me. I don’t know what kind of peppers were mixed into it, but I took one bite and my mouth was not happy.
We don’t go to too many chain restaurants, but we both agreed that this was one of the better dining experiences we’ve had recently. The restaurant was large and crowded, but they’ve figured out how to control the noise level so we could carry on a conversation. The service was attentive, but not intruding. Each course was served and plates were cleared in a timely manner and the food was very good. Total bill with a drink was $30.
35645 US Highway 19
Palm Harbor, FL
Surf Shack was our destination for lunch today. The weather was gorgeous today so having the big door open out to the patio was great. Loren likes the chips & salsa here.
I wasn’t able to stop eating the chips either. They’re sort of like Doritos and somewhat addictive. They had salmon tacos on their specials for today, so Loren decided to try them.
He said they were pretty good. He also liked the Shangai cucumbers that came as a side dish. He said it was amazing how something so simple could be so tasty. Normally, I get tacos here, but I decided to try the mushroom burger instead.
It was one big burger! It was juicy and cooked a perfect medium, but it desperately needed some additional seasoning. A little salt & pepper would have gone a long way to take this from a good burger to a great one. As is, I was more aware of the taste of the bun than I was the taste of the burger itself. Overall though, it was a pretty good lunch for $20.
Surf Shack Coastal Kitchen
12217 West Linebaugh Ave
We went over to Rumba Island in Oldsmar for dinner tonight. They were pretty busy tonight & we ended up with a table in the bar area. Surprisingly, the noise level wasn’t too bad. I think the fact that the bar area is open to the outside makes a big difference. We started off with some conch fritters and my favorite little corn muffins.
The conch fritters were really good. They were tender and just a little spicy, nothing that overwhelmed my taste buds. Overall, they just had a really nice flavor and texture. Loren got the tuna rumba salad for his entree.
He said the tuna was cooked a nice rare and had good seasoning. I went for the kbobs & shrimp which came with a salad.
The shrimp were cooked ok, but the batter had very little seasoning. They were just kind of plain. The kbobs weren’t tender enough for me and some of the chunks were bigger than bite size and really hard to cut with a butter knife. I also got the island rice and mashed sweet potatoes which were both tasty. Total bill with a drink was $43.
Rumba Island Bar & Grill
3687 Tampa Road
It was around 2pm when we got out of the movies and Loren suggested we give Ozona Pig another try. Unfortunately, we walked in and were told they closed at 2pm, so we walked across the street to Molly Goodheads instead.
We split a bowl of clam chowder.
This was so thick and rich and yummy. Definitely one of the better versions in the area. For his lunch, Loren went for a blackened mahi sandwich.
He said the mahi was cooked perfectly and the fries were nice & crunchy. I decided on an avocado burger and onion rings.
The burger was very thick & juicy, though not quite cooked to the medium I asked for. The onion rings were a bit on the salty side and needed to be a bit crunchier. The only thing I really dislike about Molly’s is that they allow smoking on the patio and even though we were inside, as people walked in & out the door, you could still smell the smoke. Total bill with a drink was $26.
400 Orange Street
I attended a luncheon at Oystercatchers with a group of about 20 people. The restaurant is very pretty, overlooking the bay, but the service was lacking and although the food was good, it seemed very overpriced for the quantity of food on each plate.
We started off with some calamari fries & crabcakes, though I forgot to take a photo. Both were very tasty. The calamari wasn’t cut in rings, but rather long, thick pieces. It was tender and the breading was good. The crab cakes had lots of crab in them.
For my entrée, I ordered the sautéed scallops and side salad.
I guess I was just a little surprised that there were only 3 scallops in the dish. They were tender and sautéed nicely in garlic and butter; but for the price, the serving size seemed rather small. They actually serve a single fried oyster with the dish, and I’d have been happy with a plate of those, though I didn’t see them on the menu. I also ordered the Godiva Chocolate mousse for dessert.
When I think of mousse, I imagine a very light, fluffy chocolaty dish. This was more like a piece of fudge. It was thick and rich and yummy, but not exactly what I was expecting.
As for the service, I think a lot of us were unimpressed. The wait staff for our table seemed very abrupt and unfriendly, even rude at times. When our entrees came out, they placed the wrong plates in front of several people and one lady had to send hers back because her salmon was undercooked. I believe every entree was $20+ each, so for those prices you expect better service. Several people told me they’ve enjoyed the Sunday brunch here, but many of them said they wouldn’t come back for lunch.
2900 Bayport Dr
We have a habit of getting out of the house later than expected for dinner on Friday nights and most places are just mobbed. We drove into Dunedin thinking we’d eat at Casa Tina, but there was a line out the door, so we walked down the street to Cafe Alfresco. The restaurant was busy, but not full, and pretty quiet which we kinda like. We started off with potstickers.
Yum! These were perfectly fried with a tasty, slightly spicy filling. I could just eat a plate of these and be happy. Loren’s dinner came with a salad and I went ahead and ordered one for $1 as well.
The rolls were warm and soft and very tasty. For his entree, Loren got the chicken piccata.
He tried to explain to me the difference between a good piccata and a not so good one. This was a good version, the chicken was perfectly cooked and the sauce was buttery and lemony, but not overly so, and the capers made the perfect accent to the sauce. He was a happy guy. I went for the Friday night fish & chips.
It didn’t have an overly crunchy batter on it, but it was good. The fries were nice and crunchy and the cole slaw had just enough tang and sweet to it. We were really bad tonight & got two desserts.
Loren wanted some carrot cake and I got the raspberry cheesecake. Both were delicious. He said his cake was moist and flavorful and mine was creamy and decadent. We were quite stuffed by the time we rolled ourselves out of there. Total bill with a drink was $49.
344 Main St
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
It’s not often that emailed offers work on me, but when I got the limited time $16.90 offer for a pound of stone crabs from Bonefish Grill, I just couldn’t resist. I haven’t had stone crabs in quite a few years and we figured there probably wouldn’t be a wait on a Tuesday night, so off we went. We started off with bread and calamari.
Bonefish really does make some of the best calamari in the area. It’s tender and comes with an Asian dipping sauce that’s really tasty. It’s both sweet and spicy. The bread was fresh and warm and delicious as well. Loren got a salad and I got some of their crab corn chowder.
Their corn chowder is really thick and creamy with lots of crab in it. It’s almost a meal in itself. Loren got the mahi for his entrée.
He said it was perfectly cooked and tasty. He didn’t care for the carrots side dish though. He said they were too sweet and too hard. I, of course, got the stone crabs with some drawn butter.
I didn’t like the fact that they were served cold, so the waitress took them back to the kitchen to get heated up. Cold crab just doesn’t work for me. Otherwise, though, they were just how I remembered them. It cracks me up (no pun intended) that a pound of crab is only 5 claws, but I was so full from the calamari, chowder, and bread that it was fine. Our server was very attentive and friendly. Total bill with a drink was $55.
2519 McMullen Booth Rd
We drove over to Zephyrhills today and ate lunch at the Chowderhouse. The big draw for me was that their website said they had whole belly clams. We both started out with clam chowder, one New England style and the other Boston style.
The main difference between the two is that one was more creamy than the other. They both tasted ok. I actually liked the creamy one more and Loren liked the other, so that worked out pretty well. For his entrée, he got the blackened grouper sandwich.
He said it was good. It came with fries & cole slaw. I ordered the whole belly clam roll. They were perfectly cooked and had that flavor I craved, but they were a bit on the small side.
There was no way I was going to be able to pick it up and eat it like a sandwich, so I just picked the clams off the bun. The macaroni salad was good too. The waitress brought around the dessert tray and we decided to try the homemade blueberry and coconut cream pies.
These were both somewhat disappointing. The crust wasn’t crispy and flaky at all. It was very dense and doughy. I don’t know if it’s because they had been in the fridge or what, but nowhere near as good as the pies at Yoder’s in Sarasota. That’s pretty much my baseline for pie now. Total bill with a drink was $42.
The Chowder House
36626 SR 54