The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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Ooops!


Believe it or not, I think we actually ordered the right amount of sushi from Mike’s Sushi this time.  Either that or we were both really hungry. The “Ooops” came when I tried to pick up a piece of the Rainbow roll only to discover the roll hadn’t been sliced.  We both started laughing and when the sushi chefs saw it, they started making jokes about how it’s a new way to eat sushi, just pick it up like a candy bar and bite off the end.  I think the whole restaurant got a good chuckle out of it.

As for the sushi, everything was really fresh and tasty.

The shrimp in the Mexican Roll was fried perfectly and the fish in all of the other rolls was very good.  Besides the Rainbow & Mexican rolls, we got a scallop roll, a Pink Dragon which is a California roll topped with salmon, a Crazy Roll which is spicy tuna with avocado, crunch & smelt roe, and a “make your own” with tuna, salmon, avocado and cucumber.

I know I say the same thing every time we come here, but it’s just worth noting that we really enjoy those sushi restaurants that don’t drench everything in sauces.  It’s those pure, clean flavors that tickle the taste buds and at least with this visit, tickled the funny bone a bit too.  Total bill with a drink & a salad was $57.

Mike’s Sushi
33855 Us-19 N
Palm Harbor, FL
(727) 410-3234

Mike's Sushi on Urbanspoon

Food5/5
Service4/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
4.1/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Palm Harbor, Sushi
  • On a Whim


    Outback Steakhouse seems to always have a wait, but as we were driving by this afternoon on our way to another restaurant for lunch, the parking lot looked fairly empty so we made a quick U-turn and pulled in.  We were just ahead of the Sunday lunch crowd and able to get a table right away.

    The bread & salad make me happy here.  There’s just a touch of spice in their ranch dressing which I like especially mixed with the cool of the cucumbers.

    Loren went for one of their specials, a mixed grill with a 6 oz sirloin.

    The steak was cooked very nicely and the shrimp & scallops were also pretty good.  It came with a mango salsa that he seemed to enjoy as well.  I went for my tried & true favorite here, the Alice Springs chicken.

    I’m sure I’ve said it before, but it’s the honey mustard that really makes this dish for me.  The chicken was tender and the baked potato was good.  Even though I get this dish without the bacon, it’s still about a zillion calories of goodness.  No room for dessert today, so the total bill with a drink was $38.

    Outback Steakhouse
    31988 US Hwy 19 N
    Palm Harbor, FL
    727-789-6283

    Outback Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

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

    We took a road trip up to Cedar Key today to try the championship clam chowder at Tony’s Seafood Restaurant.  The restaurant was packed, but luckily some tables had just cleared and we were able to get a table without much of a wait.  There’s actually a front and back dining room and every table had some bowls of chowder on them.

    We ordered both a cup and a bowl and I can understand why they’ve won world championships with this recipe.

    It was a very creamy chowder filled with chunks of clam, potato, and a little bit of heat.  It’s one of those dishes that has a good mouth feel to it. I did think it was priced a bit high, but the quality was there, so it was worth it.

    Loren got a blackened grouper sandwich with fries.

    He enjoyed it.  He said the fish was tender and the crispy blackened coating gave it just the right amount of crunch.  I ordered the fried seafood combo with shrimp, scallops and grouper.  It also came with salad and cole slaw.

    It was too much food for me.  Just the shrimp and scallops would have been enough.  The breading was light and tasty. The seafood was definitely fresh.  Service was a bit lacking at times though.  Our waitress would disappear for quite a while and we’d begun to think she had forgotten about us when it was time to get the check.  Total bill was $43.  If you’re in the area, definitely stop by for some chowder.

    Tony’s Seafood Restaurant
    597 2nd Street
    Cedar Key, FL
    352-543-0022

    Tony's Seafood on Urbanspoon

    Food4/5
    Service2/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value3/5
    3.1/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Cedar Key, Seafood
  • I’m the first to admit that I’m not a fan of dining in restaurants where there are a lot of young children around, but having a little kid at the hibachi table at Arigato makes the dining experience a little more entertaining.  The chefs play up to the kids and really seem to get into the show more when there’s a wide eyed child watching their every move.

    We like Arigato more than Kobe when we’re in the mood for hibachi dining.  They started us off with soup and salad.

    Pretty standard for one of these restaurants.  Loren ordered the chicken, steak, and shrimp and I got the steak, shrimp and scallops.  Rice and veggies come with it and I spend so much time eating the rice and veggies that by the time the rest of the meal comes I’m usually quite full.

    Our chef was entertaining, the food was cooked well, and overall the meal was enjoyable.  I think I’d like it better if they limited the tables to 8 people rather than 10 because it did feel a little crowded.  Loren had to send back his iced tea and ended up not drinking the soda he got either because the fountain mix wasn’t quite right.  Overall service was pretty good though.  Total bill was $65.

    Arigato
    26508 US 19 N
    Clearwater, FL
    727-799-0202
    Arigato Japanese Steak House on Urbanspoon

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

    Expectations


    We were going to eat at Bonefish tonight, thinking we could get there before the crowd, but even at 5:30pm, they already had a 30 minute wait.  So, instead we drove into Dunedin to see if Walt’s Seasonal Cuisine was busy.  At it turned out, we were the first customers there for the evening. 

    Let me preface this review by saying the food tonight was absolutely better than we get at most places; however, my expectations when I end up paying $73 for dinner are a lot higher than if I’ve spent $30.  I didn’t feel that the experience tonight was worth the price.  Granted, it’s a lot of little things that added up to that feeling, but because my expectations were so high and we’ve had wonderful experiences here before, I just left somewhat disappointed.

    We sat down, ordered our water and iced tea and were served some bread and oil. 

    I know this is silly, but this was the first thing I thought was off tonight.  The bread was just served in this little bowl.  No napkin or cloth under or around it to help keep the warmth in.  It just came across as tacky to me.  Don’t get me wrong, the bread was warm and tasty, it was just the presentation that turned me off.

    Another couple came in at this point and sat at the bar.  I overheard their conversation with the waitress to discover that Walt had the night off.  Later in the evening, I heard the couple ask the chef if he was calling for help when he had his phone out and he said no, he was just looking up a recipe.   So, maybe the key to dining at Walt’s is knowing that Walt is in the kitchen.

    Loren started out with a house salad and I got the soup which was butternut squash with blue crab.

    Loren liked the ginger dressing on his salad.  He said the nuts on the salad were both sweet and spicy.  My soup had very subtle flavors, in fact, too subtle for my tastes.  It was very thin and the crab was overcooked.  It was a little rubbery. 

    At this point, we heard the waitress telling the other customers what the special was tonight.  Don’t you hate it when you’re not told the specials and you get to overhear them at another table after you’ve ordered?

    For his entree, Loren chose the surf and turf which is steak and scallops and he ordered asparagus as his side.

    The steak is where the chef shined tonight.  It was perfect.  A nice sear on the outside, cooked a perfect medium and was incredibly tender.  Loren loved it.  The scallops were sliced thin and had a mango vinaigrette on them that completely overpowered the flavor of the scallop. 

    I ordered the crab crusted grouper with garlic mashed potatoes.

    It had a sherry butter sauce on it that I couldn’t taste at all.  It was a thick grouper filet that basically had a crab cake on top of it.  Individually, each piece was pretty good, but the crab cake had very strong flavors that overwhelmed the grouper. 

    For dessert, we tried the chocolate cake.

    Let’s face it, first bites are everything and this one just didn’t wow.  The cake was very dense, but not overly moist.  It was good,  but I’ve had better.  And since I’ve been picky all night, I just felt like some homemade whipped cream would have been much better than stuff out of a can. 

    Service tonight was also lacking.  My water glass was completely empty for quite a while and Loren’s iced tea also got down to the bottom.  Plates weren’t cleared as quickly as they should have either.  Again, it’s all about expectations.  If I’m spending $73, I want the entire experience to feel worth the money. 

    Walts Seasonal Cuisine
    1140 Main St
    Dunedin, FL
    727-733-1909

    Walt's Seasonal Cuisine on Urbanspoon

    Food3/5
    Service2/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value2/5
    2.6/5