The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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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.



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.



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.



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.



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

Clear Sky Draught Haus on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: American, Dunedin
  • We decided to try the new Brick House Tavern and Tap in Clearwater tonight.  The noise level is off the charts from the moment you open the door.  I think we counted at least 30 TV’s from where we were sitting and I’m sure we missed some.  Our waiter came to take our order and after that, we barely saw him again.  We started off with the spiked calamari.



    We had to flag down another server to ask for plates and silverware since our waiter neglected to bring any to the table.  The calamari was really good.  Thick pieces with a nice crunch.  It was tasty.  For his entree, Loren ordered the grilled mahi mahi.



    He said it was cooked well.  The fish was tender and flaky and had a nice seasoning to it.  I ordered the pork meatball sandwich with a side of tots.



    I liked the flavor of the meatballs, but wasn’t too keen on the bbq sauce on them.  It was a bit spicy and just a little too strong that it covered up the delicate flavor of the meatballs.  My drink was empty halfway through the meal, but our waiter was no where to be found.  Eventually, he came by to clear the plates and cleared my empty glass without asking if I’d like something more to drink.  Now,  here’s the odd part.  When he brought the check, he brought two to-go cups filled with water & tea which we didn’t ask for.  It would have been nice to have our drinks filled during our meal, but why would you just bring to-go drinks for no reason??   Overall, the food was good, but the poor service and the fact that it’s a loud sports bar will likely mean we won’t be back anytime soon. Total bill with a drink was $41.

    Brick House Tavern and Tap
    28795 US 19 N
    Clearwater, FL
    (727) 726-6352

    Brickhouse Tap And Tavern on Urbanspoon


    Lemon Wedge?

    We went over to Rosie’s Clam Shack for dinner tonight.  There was only one other table of customers in there and the service was really lacking.  There was no one to greet us when we came in.  Luckily the waitress came out to bring something to the other table and saw us.  The whole experience was a little odd.  The other people there commented on it more than we did, but the waitress just seemed unhappy to be there.   One of the things that really stuck out to me though, was that with every drink or plate that we ordered she specifically asked if we wanted a lemon wedge with it.  I don’t know if they were just trying to save money or didn’t have a lot of lemons in the back, but after the first few times she asked, it just seemed weird.

    We started off with the fried calamari.



    It had a good crunch, but it was a bit on the chewy side.  The tomato sauce served with it had a good flavor.  You could tell it had actually been simmered for a while.  For his entree, Loren got the bacon wrapped scallops with fries & pasta salad.



    He said the scallops were cooked perfectly and the bacon added a nice flavor.  But then again, doesn’t bacon do that to everything it’s added to??  He didn’t really want the huge plate of fries or the pasta salad for that matter, but the choice of sides is limited to fries, pasta salad, cole slaw or parsley potatoes.  I think he would have liked a green vegetable of some sort.  I ordered the Ipswitch clams with cole slaw and parsley potatoes.



    The clams are the reason I come here.  Perfectly crunchy and plenty of them on the plate. We enjoyed the apple blossom dessert the last time we were here, so had to get it again.



    Last time, the waitress added whipped cream to the plate, but not so this time.  This is a tasty little dessert though.  Very simple apple filling in a baked crust.  Total bill with a drink was $54.

    Rosie’s Clam Shack
    6657 49th St
    Pinellas Park, FL

    Rosie's Clam Shack on Urbanspoon


    We were out in Plant City this morning and stopped at Yummy House on our way back home.  I don’t think we can eat here without ordering the salt and pepper calamari.



    It has the perfect crunch, the perfect saltiness, the perfect tenderness.  It’s just awesome.  I also wanted some egg rolls.



    These were very fresh and tasty as well.  The shells were crispy and the filling flavorful.  I think I could just stop with appetizers and be quite satisfied.  For his entree, Loren ordered the Kung Po chicken.



    Note the evil peppers trying to hide among the veggies.  He said it had a wonderful flavor, lots of peanuts, and perfectly cooked chicken and vegetables.  I ordered the sweet & sour shrimp and scallops.



    I wasn’t as happy with my dish.  The shrimp were good, but the scallops had an odd taste to them.  Everything was drenched in the sweet & sour sauce, so there wasn’t any crunch left.  I wouldn’t order it again.  I ended up ordering some beef & broccoli to take home for later.  It was very tasty.  Total bill with a drink was $54.

    Yummy House China Bistro
    2620 E Hillsborough Ave
    Tampa, FL

    Yummy House China Bistro on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: Chinese, Tampa
  • 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.

    Roosterfish Grill
    776 Missouri Ave
    Largo, FL

    Roosterfish Grill on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: Dessert, Seafood