The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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We decided to give Bascetti’s in Dunedin another try for dinner tonight.  The restaurant was empty when we got there and after our experience tonight, I can understand why.  We started off with some calamari which was the best part of the meal.



The calamari was very tender with a nice crunchy coating on it.  The dish also came with artichokes, that I found to be too sour for my tastes.  The dipping sauce was a bit on the spicy side too.   Our dinners came with bread, soup or salad and we got one of each.





The noodles in my soup were mush and it desperately needed salt.  The bread was really good and the dipping sauce was tasty, but as I’ve mentioned on previous visits, I just think it would be better if it was warmed.  For his entree, Loren chose the stuffed pork chop.



They gave him a very large steak knife and I don’t think he would have been able to make a dent in this pork chop without it.  It was really tough.  It came with a red pepper mashed potato which we had to ask about since we couldn’t identify what it was.  I ordered the bolognese pappardelle.



I ordered this dish once before and had mixed feelings about, but thought I’d give it another try.  The first time I had it, it had a very thin white sauce to it.  The waitress said they had reformulated the recipe, but I could still get it with the white sauce.  After a bite or two, I kept tasting something very sour in the dish, which I assumed was olives.  It just had an odd taste to it, but Loren actually thought it was ok.  When the waitress came to clear our half eaten dishes, I asked her if there were olives in my dish and she said no, but I explained that there was a sour taste to it.  We also said how tough Loren’s pork chop was.  She took both dishes back to the kitchen & said she tried them.  She agreed that something was very wrong with both dishes & took them off the bill.  She kind of scolded us for not saying something earlier in the meal.   We ended up getting a slice of cheesecake to try to salvage something from the meal.



It was very creamy and had a nice raspberry filling.  Loren thought the raspberry was a little too tart, but otherwise it was ok. We appreciated the way our waitress handled things, but still question how food could come out of the kitchen like that.  Total bill without the entrees ended up being $18 and it’s doubtful we’ll be back.

1568 Main Street
Dunedin, FL

Bascetti's on Urbanspoon


Too Slow

I’ve been wanting to try the new PF Chang’s at Countryside Mall, but the wait has been outrageous since they opened.  We happened to be over there early today and were able to get a table in the bar area.  We started off with the salt and pepper calamari.


Definitely not worth the wait and we waited a long time for the appetizer to come out of the kitchen.  They don’t put the salt & pepper on it when it comes out of the fryer, instead giving you a container to sprinkle it on.  It loses its appeal because it doesn’t stick to the calamari properly.  As for the calamari, it was chewy.  The dipping sauce that came with it tasted like it came right out of a jar.  It was not good.  For his entree, Loren chose the sesame chicken.



He liked the flavor of it, but the veggies didn’t taste fresh at all.  The chicken was tender and the sauce was sort of sweet and spicy.  I tried the honey chicken.



Again, the flavor was ok, but the chicken wasn’t tender enough for me.  Overall, it tasted like overpriced chain restaurant food.  Nothing we ate had any sort of freshness to it.  It was all just very generic.  The wait was ridiculous for both the appetizer and the entrees.  It’s just not an efficiently run restaurant at this point.  When we got up to leave, a woman came barreling at us to grab the table since the wait for the dining room was so long.   Total bill with a drink was $41.

P.F. Chang’s China Bistro
27001 US Highway 19N #115
Clearwater, FL

P.F. Chang's China Bistro on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: Chinese, Clearwater
  • Johnny Bread

    Johnny’s Italian Restaurant on a Friday night is a very crowded place.  We had to wait about 20 minutes for a table.  Salads and bread started off the meal while we waited for our calamari.





    The Johnny bread is one of the best things about this restaurant.  The oil & garlic dipping sauce will have you warding off vampires for a week.  The bread is just perfect and we ended up getting a second loaf.  It’s hard to resist.   Next up, calamari.



    It was very tender and had a nice crunch.  The dipping sauce that came with it was rather spicy with lots of red pepper flakes.  I was feeling the heat for a while.  Loren ordered the Tuscan Steak with Portabella Sauce.



    The interesting thing was that he actually tried to order something else, but the waitress talked him out of it.  I can’t remember what the other item was, but she said it didn’t have a lot of flavor and that he’d enjoy this one more.  And he did.  I went for the chicken marsala with a side of fettucine alfredo.



    The chicken was tender and the marsala sauce had a really nice flavor to it.  When they get their alfredo sauce right, it’s really good here.  Tonight was one of those nights.  I could have eaten an entire bowl of just that.  I felt the need for chocolate tonight so we ordered the chocolate cake.



    This was an incredibly rich and chocolately cake.  It had thick ganache layers and just melted in your mouth.  Perfect ending to a very good meal.  Total bill with a drink was $45.75.

    Johnny’s Italian Restaurant
    2907 SR 590 #1
    Clearwater, FL

    Johnny's Italian on Urbanspoon


    Mixed Results

    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
    Clearwater, FL

    Sea Dog Brewing Co on Urbanspoon


    Still Salty

    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.

    Thirsty Marlin
    1023 Florida Ave
    Palm Harbor, FL

    Thirsty Marlin Grill & Bar on Urbanspoon