On our way home from the track today, Jeff and I stopped in Ocala for dinner. Jeff popped up Urban Spoon and picked out a well-ranked place in the appropriate price range, and off we went. I used to live very near Ocala when I was younger (in the early 80′s!), imagine my surprise to see that Ocala now has an “old town” district with a bunch of nice restaurants! After a little circling and some odd right-turn-from-the-left-lane action from Jeff, we found a place to park and we walked across the street to this place called Harry’s Seafood.
Just as we were crossing the street, at least 3 parties of 4-6 people walked in the door right ahead of us! But, it was 5:30, so they weren’t packed yet, and we didn’t have to wait for our table for two. A quick look at the menu revealed that Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grill has the tagline of “A New Orleans Style Restaurant”. Cool!
We figured out why the crowd was rolling in at 5:30, too. They have a 4-6pm “early bird” menu (they call it something else, but that’s what it is) with some very reasonable prices on it!
So, we ordered some typical cajun fare with not a lot of great expectations, this being Ocala and all. Our waiter was quick with our drinks and did a good job of keeping them topped up and taking care of us in general. While we were waiting for our entrees, we got bread. Now, I’m not a huge bread fan. I often don’t even bother tasting it, but if it’s good and/or has something good to dip it in, I’ll enjoy it. This bread was AWESOME! Very fresh, just a little crispy on the outside, and oh-so-tasty with a spread of their delicious herbed butter. We had to get a second loaf, it was so good!
Our entrees arrived VERY quickly. Jeff’s comment was “did I order yet?” But, there it was. His steaming plate of Crawfish Etouffe, which looked and smelled great! He commented on it being a bit spicy… of course he dumped some of the Harry’s-branded hot sauce that was on the table on there, anyway. I ordered the Jambalaya, which had ample portions of shrimp, smoked sausage and chicken and was pretty darned tasty, if I do say so myself! Not “hot”, but definitely spicy. We both ordered off of the “early” menu, which is smaller portions than what’s on the regular menu, and neither of us could imagine needing more food than we got. I even boxed up about 1/3 of mine to take home. (could have eaten it… just wanted to enjoy it later)
I guess Jeff picked up from Urban Spoon that this place is supposed to have an incredible mud pie, and he couldn’t live without trying it. It’s like a coffee-flavored ice cream cake with a crisp layer of chocolate on top and who knows what else. I was kinda turned off by the coffee (not a fan) and wasn’t going to try it. But, it was HUGE, and Jeff didn’t get too far past half-way with it. Being ice cream, he couldn’t take it home… so, I tried a bite. To my pleasant surprise, the coffee flavor was very mild and with the giant mound of whipped cream on the side… well, let’s just say there wasn’t a lot left on the plate!
We got out of there for about $35 with extremely happy tastebuds and full bellies. Too bad it’s so far away, I’d go back here often!
Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grill
24 SE 1st Ave