The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.


Search Site



Archive for the ‘Seafood’ Category

We didn’t head out to eat until about 7pm, so we wanted to go somewhere close.  We hadn’t been to the Tuscano Grille in quite a while so we headed over there for dinner.

We were able to get a table without a wait which is always nice on a Friday night.  They had live music on the patio tonight as well.

I’m always happy when they bring warm bread to the table.

Loren didn’t think it had much flavor, but I really enjoyed it.  It was warm, had a nice texture, and was tasty, especially dipped in the oil.

We ordered the Balsamic Glazed Calamari.

The balsamic aroma was really strong. I’m not sure what the white sauce on it was, sort of a mayo, I guess.  The calamari had a nice flavor, but you really did need to dip it in the marinara sauce to cut the balsamic a bit.  The presentation was a bit sloppy and this is where the service began to decline as well.

We rarely saw our waitress.  The busboy stopped by our table more often than our waitress did.  The dirty dishes from the bread and calamari sat on our table for a very long time.   When our soup and salad came out, they were still on the table and the person who brought the food didn’t bother to clear any dishes away.  Finally one of the busboys took the calamari dishes and I had to ask him to refill our drinks.  It wasn’t until they finally came to take our soup and salad dishes that I was able to get rid of the dish of oil for the bread and I only managed that by putting it on the plate with the soup bowl.  Call me crazy, but I just don’t think dirty dishes should be left on the table as you start to eat your next course.

Speaking of the salad and soup…

Loren chose the house salad with his meal and I got the mushroom soup.  The soup wasn’t pretty to look at, but it had a nice deep, rich mushroom flavor.

Loren ordered the swordfish and it came with mashed potatoes.

It was a very sparse looking plate.  He thoroughly enjoyed the swordfish though.  It was thick and meaty, well grilled and had an awesome flavor. 

I ordered the veal scallopini which came with mashed potatoes and I substituted broccoli for the spinach it came with.

I had a very similar meal at Restaurant Hapa earlier this month and theirs was definitely better than this one.  The broccoli wasn’t cooked enough for me and the potatoes were a bit thick.  The veal was tender, but the knife they gave me wasn’t sharp.  I’m still on the fence about the marsala sauce.  There was something about it that just didn’t appeal to me.  The flavor was too strong and Loren thinks it was because of the mushrooms.  It’s not that it was a bad flavor, just very overwhelming.

We were stuffed at this point, but when I see a chocolate dessert on the menu, I feel an obligation to take it home.  We ordered a chocolate mousse cake to go.

The menu said it came with a vanilla bean sauce, but guess you don’t get it if you don’t eat it in the restaurant.  Just stuff it in a box too small for it.   It was really tasty, though it could have done without the chocolate sponge cake bottom.  It sort of ruined the overall texture of the dessert.

Total bill was $53.  We definitely got plenty of food, in fact most of mine came home as leftovers, but we just weren’t impressed by the service or the overall presentation of the dishes. 

Even when we had finished our meal, one of the busboys came and cleared the dishes and boxed up my leftovers.  We sat there talking for a while before our waitress ever came to see us again.

Tuscano Grille
2544 McMullen Booth Road
Clearwater, FL

Tuscano Grille on Urbanspoon


We got a $10 coupon for Bonefish Grill in the mail today, so we headed out there for dinner.  Talk about immediate results from a mailing campaign. 

Luckily, we went out for dinner a little later tonight because when we got to the restaurant there were a bunch of teenagers just finishing up and leaving for prom.  We timed it just right and were able to get a table without a wait.  I gotta say, those kids were really decked out in their suits and gowns.

We were both pretty hungry after a long day for Loren at the autocross track and me at the Great American Pie Festival in Celebration.  We started out with the Singapore Calamari.

I gotta say, this was some of the best calamari I’ve had in a while.  It was really fresh and had a nice crunchy coating on it.   It was mixed with peppers and served with a sweet and spicy Asian dipping sauce.  The dipping sauce was too spicy for me, but Loren liked it.  

I have to add a note in here about the service and attention to detail.  Two plates were placed on our table stacked on top of each other for the appetizer.  When the appetizer was brought to the table, the waiter went to pass out the plates and noticed one had something on it and immediately went back to get us another one.  I know this seems like common sense, but too often something like that isn’t even noticed by the staff at other restaurants and we would have had to have said something about it. 

I got a cup of their corn chowder with lump crab.

There were some big chunks of crab in the soup which was really nice.  I’m a big fan of corn chowder and this is a wonderful version of it.

Loren got a salad with his entree and they brought out some bread and olive oil to dip it in.

The bread was nice and crusty on the outside, but soft and warm on the inside, just the way it should be. 

For our entrees, we both ordered off of the specials menu.  Loren got the Deluxe Mixed Grill, which was a sirloin steak, scallops and shrimp.

He said the shrimp were overcooked, but everything else was done just right.  They gave him some scalloped potatoes even though he had chosen a salad as his side dish and they served a chick pea garnish on both of our plates. 

I got Lily’s Atlantic Salmon with jasmine rice.

The salmon was served with spinach, artichokes and goat cheese.  It was really good.  By this point, I was pretty full, so most of it came home as leftovers, except for the chick peas, those just didn’t do it for me.

With our $10 off coupon, the total bill came to$36.  Not bad for the amount of really good food that we got.  We don’t eat at Bonefish very often, but I’m not sure why.  Every time we’ve been, we’ve gotten great service and really tasty, interesting food. 

Bonefish Grill
2519 McMullen Booth Rd
Clearwater, FL

Bonefish Grill on Urbanspoon


Lunch with the boss at Joe’s Crab Shack in Clearwater today.  They like to play music at Joe’s.  Seems they have a loop that runs for about an hour.  Mostly old stuff from the 70’s and 80’s, or remixes of same.  Fairly listenable when they don’t have it turned  up too loud.  But, about every hour, they play “Car Wash”.  Yeah, you know the one.  Car wash, yeah!  That, in itself isn’t so bad, but the wait staff gets out and dances and shouts to it… every hour. (gets old in a hurry if you happen to be there more than an hour… which we have, on occasion)  Joe’s is probably a fun place in the evenings… personally, I think they try to be TOO fun at lunch time.  Glad I don’t work at Joe’s!

Anyway, the food at Joe’s is decent.  Typical chain restaurant fare, but pretty good seafood for a chain.  Nothing to write home about, but we eat lunch there fairly often.  Must not be too bad if we keep going back, right?

Had their blackened Mahi sandwich today with some fries.  It was not overly blackened, was nicely cooked, and quite tasty.  Huge chunk of fish, too… I cut about 2″ off of it to eat after I was done with the sandwich!  In the past, I’ve had their surf & turf burger (fried shrimp on a burger, really good!) and several other things that I can’t think of right now.

Looked like they had reworked their menu again since the last time we were there.  A lot of pricier menu items, but the sandwich page was still reasonable.  $7-8 for a good-sized sandwich.  Pretty sure they charge extra for the fries, though.  So, not the cheapest food, but good.  They have a large covered patio for comfortable outdoor seating, too… that’s the main reason we go there aside from being a central location for us.

Joe’s Crab Shack
2730 Gulf to Bay Blvd.
Clearwater, FL
(727) 799-8530

Joe's Crab Shack on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: Clearwater, Seafood
  • We got up early this morning to go see “Alice in Wonderland” in IMAX 3D.  The movie was pretty good, but the Disney cartoon is still my favorite.

    After the movie we headed to downtown Safety Harbor for lunch, but forgot that the seafood festival was going on.  Parking looked like a nightmare, so instead we headed over to Fish Tail Willy’s near Countryside mall. 

    We ordered some calamari for an appetizer, but our waitress showed up with our entrees instead.  She forgot to put in our appetizer order, but offered to put in the order at no charge, so we went ahead and got it.

    We should have just gone without.  The calamari was tough.  The coating was nice and crunchy, but the calamari itself was chewy and overcooked.  It came with three dipping sauces,  Tomato Honey, Mango Jalapeno, and Spicey Aioli.  I liked the tomato honey one best.

    Loren ordered the Salmon Cake Sandwich and a salad. 

    It’s salmon folded with capers, zucchini and squash with a dill lime mayo.  It was crispy and had an unusual taste to it.  He enjoyed it. 

    I ordered a grouper sandwich and fries.

    The fries were really good and had a nice crunch to them.  The sandwich, however, wasn’t that great.  Even though I order fried grouper, I still expect it to not be greasy.  The bottom bun was soggy.  I also don’t like it when they place a very strong onion on top of the lettuce and tomato.  Even though I would have liked to put the lettuce and tomato on my sandwich, all I would have tasted was onion.

    We’ve eaten here before and it’s been good, but overall today, it was a very dissatisfying lunch for me.  For $25, I’m sure I could have had a better experience elsewhere.

    Fish Tail Willy’s
    2543 Countryside Blvd
    Clearwater, FL

    Fish Tail Willy's on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: Clearwater, Seafood
  • Long Day

    I knew I was going to have a long day at work today so I didn’t even bother taking anything out to cook for dinner.  Instead, we headed over to Sea Sea Riders in Dunedin.

    Even though they had heaters on the porch, we opted for inside seating since it was a bit chilly tonight.  We’ve eaten here a few times and it looked like they changed their menu quite a bit.

    Our entrees came with a choice of salad or cole slaw and we got one of each.

    It’s a good thing our waitress warned me that their cole slaw is normally served with peanuts on top.  I’m not a fan of peanuts and would have been rather dismayed had they been there.  The cole slaw was ok.  Loren said the peppercorn ranch salad dressing was pretty good.

    I ordered the clam chowder.

    My first reaction was that it smelled more like a chicken soup.  It didn’t have the really creamy texture that I expect in a chowder and it also had some sort of spice in it that I couldn’t quite identify and didn’t particularly care for.  The clams also had some grit to them.   Definitely not the best chowder I’ve had and I probably wouldn’t order it again. 

    Loren order the Mahi Mahi.

    It had a nice presentation.  It had a spicy coating on it and was served over some sort of cold beans and a cilantro sauce.  He seemed to really enjoy it, his plate was clean when he was finished.

    I ordered the same thing I usually order, the blue crab crusted grouper.

    I have never finished this dish.  It’s two large pieces of grouper served over linguini with spinach, plum tomatoes and a lobster tarragon sauce.  I don’t even need the grouper, I’d be happy with just the pasta in that sauce any day.  The grouper is flaky with a nice crunchy outer crust.  I don’t think I would be able to tell you that it was blue crab in the crust if it wasn’t listed on the menu that way.  The sauce is very light, but has a nice flavor to it. 

    Two entrees, chowder and a drink ran us $52.  It does seem a little high to me, but the food is really good and I usually have leftovers for the next day.

    Sea Sea Riders
    221 Main St
    Dunedin, FL

    Sea Sea Riders on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: Dunedin, Seafood