We’re always up for a new restaurant, so we checked out Ugies Smokin’ Good Seafood for dinner tonight.  It’s in the Fountains Shopping Center where Bawarchi & Vallarta’s are.  I want to preface this review with a few comments first.  One, this restaurant just opened this week.  Two, we didn’t order any entrees, just side dishes.  And three, this isn’t the type of restaurant we really like to go to anyway, so perhaps that skewed our experience from the get go.

Though I’m pretty sure this isn’t a chain restaurant, it felt like one.  It’s an order at the counter and they’ll bring the food to you type of place.  Sort of reminded me of the Louis Pappas restaurants.  I found the entree menu to be rather small.  The two smoked items were mullet or salmon, neither which appealed to me and then they had shrimp or crawfish steam pots, tacos, fish sandwich, chicken sandwich & a burger.  Instead, we settled on some sides and appetizers to share.

We started with the shrimp queso dip.

The queso dip had a very familiar taste to it, sort of like that recipe on the back of the Cheez-wiz bottle.  There were pieces of shrimp in it, but it just tasted very generic and bland.  In fact, those are the words we used to describe everything else we ate as well.  We tried the Boston Clam Chowder, the jambalaya, mac & cheese, and the shrimp & grits.

The chowder and corn muffin that came with it were ok.  Let’s put it this way, we’ve been to restaurants where we fight over the last spoonful of chowder and sometimes even lick the bowl, this wasn’t one of those kinds of chowder.  This was very bland and definitely did not taste homemade.   We didn’t even finish it.

Out of all the things we got, Loren liked the jambalaya more than the rest.  It had chicken, sausage and shrimp in it, but not the flavors that would wow you.  I thought it was a bit watered down and it wasn’t spicy at all.

The shrimp & grits suffered the same fate as everything else.  It just had no taste.  The texture on the grits was fine, but, let’s face it, grits are bland unless you add some seasoning, garlic, cheese, and herbs to them.  The mac & cheese was also very dry.  The one thing this place has going for them are the prices.  Virtually everything is under $10.  These five items plus a drink was $21.  They were certainly overstaffed while we were there.  I counted at least 10 people just standing around.  Two different people checked on our table, which as a word of advice, I’d assign specific tables to specific people or they’ll end up like Tiajuana Flats where you’re constantly being interrupted.

Ugies Smokin’ Good Seafood
34726 US Hwy 19 N
Palm Harbor, FL

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