The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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We were driving through downtown Safety Harbor looking for a different restaurant when we came across Marker 39 Floribbean Grill.   I think we’ve been in two other restaurants in this same location.  Hopefully, this one will stick around a while.  It’s a small space but we got there early so were able to get a table in the backroom.  We started off with the Nemo roll.

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This little salmon appetizer was gone before we knew it.  Tasty little bites of ginger cured salmon with pickled cucumber.  It was fresh and light.   We could have easily eaten another plate or two of them.  Instead, Loren got a side salad and I had to try the shrimp bisque bowl.

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Loren really liked the salad and the vinaigrette that came on it.  It had greens, cucumber, tomato, roasted corn, and sundried cherries.  The shrimp bisque was very creamy and had a deep, rich flavor to it.  It was garnished with a little bit of blue crab, but I sort of wished that there was a crispy texture element to go along with it.   For his entree, Loren decided on the ahi tuna.

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It was seared and the inside was a nice rare.  I liked the crispy wonton on top and he liked the wasabi sauce, but said it really cleared his sinuses because it was so strong.  It was one of those things to eat in moderation.  I went for the Cuban Crisis.

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This is the way roast pork should taste.  It was very tender and it was marinated and cooked long enough for all the flavors to meld together perfectly.  I also really enjoyed the plantains.  They added a bit of sweetness to the dish.  The rice, however, was overcooked and mushy and there weren’t enough black beans in the dish.  At this point, I was pretty full and Loren had to finish off the last of the pork, but we couldn’t pass up dessert.

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Unfortunately, this didn’t quite live up to the expectation.  It’s a doughnut tossed in cinnamon sugar with a caramel sauce, bacon, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  I think we’re used to desserts built for two and this was a single serving dessert.  Loren liked the bacon, but it just didn’t add anything worthwhile to the dish for me.  I think I would have liked it better if the bacon had been caramelized and was sweeter.  The doughnut was tasty, but compared to everything else we ate tonight, this just didn’t shine.  Total bill with a drink was $74 and worth every penny,  but for as often as we go out to eat, it is a little high for us to come back very often.

Marker 39
155 5th Ave N
Safety Harbor, FL
727-791-1939

Marker 39 on Urbanspoon

Food4/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.4/5

We normally don’t even try to go to Bonefish on the weekends because they’re so busy, but surprisingly, we were able to walk in and get a table at 6pm without a wait.  They have a new menu, but we stuck with the specials and tried the Wagyu Beef & Ginger potstickers.

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These were interesting.  The ginger flavor bursts in your mouth from the first bite.  I found the filling to be a bit too mushy though.  I wouldn’t have had any idea what kind of meat it was if it wasn’t listed on the menu.  It was very soft and the only flavor you really tasted was the ginger.  Don’t get me wrong, they were tasty, but just had a strange mouth-feel to them.  I can’t resist the crab and corn chowder here so I had to order a cup of it.

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It has some nice bits of crab on top and a smooth, thick, creamy texture.  It’s got a little bit of heat and one of my favorite things on the menu.  Honestly, I need to just stop ordering entrees here and stick with the appetizer menu.

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I ordered the wild caught sockeye salmon, Lily’s way, with a side of broccoli and Jasmine rice.  I shouldn’t have bothered with Lily’s way, which is goat cheese, artichoke hearts, spinach and a lemon basil sauce.   It really didn’t enhance the salmon in any way and I ended up scraping it off.  I like goat cheese, but it’s too overpowering for salmon.  Honestly, I’m not sure that cheese goes with any type of fish.  The fish was nicely cooked, but the dish was way overpriced for what it was.

Loren ordered the Ahi Tuna Belleair.

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It also came with goat cheese, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes and the same lemon basil sauce as mine had.  He ordered it rare and it was way overcooked.  The absolute center was almost close to rare, but that was it.  He ended up taking the goat cheese off as well.  Overall, the food just wasn’t up to par from what we expect here.

We were seated at a table and instead of coming at us from the front of the table, our waitress would always walk up from behind in between us and it startled me every time.  She was stealthy.  She was very nice and I’m sure she came to that part of the table so she could hear us, but it just made me twitchy.  Total bill with a drink was $64.

Bonefish Grill 
2519 McMullen Booth Rd
Clearwater, FL
727-726-1315

Bonefish Grill on Urbanspoon

 

 

 

 

Food2/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value2/5
2.5/5

We wanted something scrumptious for dinner so we headed over to Dunedin to Bistro Atlantis.  Surprisingly, there was only one other table of customers.  The last few times we were there, they were pretty busy.   This is one of those places where we’re tempted to eat everything on the menu, but after we scarfed down the fresh bread, we landed on the Shrimp Atlantis for an appetizer.

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It’s shrimp and tomatoes and feta in this delicious cream sauce over bread.  I think we sopped up every last bit of the sauce on the plate.  The shrimp were cooked perfectly and the flavors made us both very happy.  Loren went for the salmon and asparagus for his entree.

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It was served over rice with a tasty hollandaise sauce.  The salmon was cooked to perfection.  He also liked the added saltiness of the capers.  I went for the grouper topped with crab cake.

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It was served with red potatoes and spinach and though I really enjoyed all the flavors, I wish there had been a little crunch to the crab cake.  There just wasn’t much of a texture difference between the fish and crab cake.  As usual, there was no way I could pass up dessert.

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This was a delightful Limoncello cake with raspberry sauce.  The cake was moist and had a deep lemon flavor which paired perfectly with the raspberry.  Start to finish, it was an absolutely delicious meal.  Total bill with a drink was $67.

Bistro Atlantis
1140 Main St
Dunedin, FL
727-733-1909

Bistro Atantis on Urbanspoon

 

 

Food5/5
Service5/5
Atmosphere4/5
Value3/5
4.6/5

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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
727-286-6266

Clear Sky Draught Haus on Urbanspoon

Food2/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value2/5
2.5/5
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  • Filed under: American, Dunedin
  • Greek Lunch


    Had the day off today, so we did some shopping and ended up at Greek City Cafe for lunch.  Loren got a small Greek salad with salmon.

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    He likes the Greek salads here.  They’re filled with lots of chopped veggies.  He said the salmon was a bit underseasoned, but ok.  I got the philly steak panini.

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    This was a tasty panini.  It was a little bit on the salty side which became more and more apparent the more I ate.  Otherwise, the bread was nicely toasted and the fillings were good.  Total bill with a drink was $19.

    Greek City Cafe 
    2518 SR 580, Ste C
    Clearwater, FL
    727-726-9600

    Greek City Cafe on Urbanspoon

    Food3/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value3/5
    3.0/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Clearwater, Greek