The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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We decided to try out Koz Cafe tonight.  It used to be Cafe 13, but the named changed recently.  Based on our experience, we’ll be surprised if it lasts very long. 

There were people at the bar, but no one else in the dining area.  Perhaps that should have been our first clue.  The waitress brought us some pita bread to start off with.

I thought it was ok, Loren didn’t like the flavor.  It sort of tasted like buttered toast.  We ordered the seared scallop appetizer.

This was really good.  It had spinach, mushrooms, artichokes and scallops in a sherry cream sauce.  We should have just stopped here and left happy. 

For our entrees, I ordered the steak kabobs and Loren got the Moroccan Steak Churrasco.

The  kabobs were overcooked and dry.  The onions and peppers were burnt to a crisp.  I ate the steak fries, they were ok.  I didn’t realize the marinated mushrooms were a cold side dish.  I just didn’t like them. 

Loren’s dish wasn’t much better.  The steak wasn’t very tender and he didn’t care for the mushrooms either. 

And then to add insult to injury, there was something wrong with our drinks.  We had a water and a coke and they both had a bad, funky taste.  The service wasn’t great either.  Dinner was $41 and we both left unsatisfied.  We won’t be dining here again.

Koz Cafe & Lounge
2475 McMullen Booth Rd
Clearwater, FL
(727) 797-5555

Koz Cafe and Lounge on Urbanspoon

Food2/5
Service2/5
Atmosphere2/5
Value2/5
2.0/5

I’d heard some good things about Ozona Blue Oceanside, so since we were in Palm Harbor this afternoon, we decided to go check it out for dinner.  We parked at the marina next door since we didn’t want to hand over our keys to the valet. 

The hostess asked us if we wanted to sit outside or inside and since it was hot and humid, we figured inside with air conditioning was the way to go.  Well, it would have been if there had been an adequate amount of air conditioning flowing inside.  It was not comfortable in there at all.  It was also loud, so I was winding myself up to really not like it here.

But, then came the food.  We started with some she-crab soup.

It was really good.  It had lots of crab meat in it and a nice delicate flavor.  Then came the bread basket.

Sigh… soft, warm bread with a flavorful oil to dip it in.  I couldn’t stop eating it; then our salads arrived.

We both got the avacado ranch dressing which had a good flavor to it.  The salad had fresh greens, tomato, onions and artichokes in it.

They had several specials tonight and Loren ordered the Mahi Mediterrean.

This was a big piece of fish with feta, tomatos, and mushrooms in a light tomato sauce.  He got the rice and beans for his side dish.  He really enjoyed it and even had some leftovers for tomorrow.

I went for one of their other specials, the mixed grill with filet, shrimp and scallops with a side of slaw.

The filet was very tender.  The shrimp and scallops were both cooked well, though I did find the scallops to be a little gritty.  I kept tasting something a little spicy in the rice, but I have no idea what it was. 

Overall, the food was very good, expensive, but good.  Our waiter looked like a young Ben Affleck and he managed to keep drinks filled and plates cleared.  If it hadn’t been for the lack of air conditioning and the noise level, this would have been a wonderful experience.  Total bill was $59.

Ozona Blue Oceanside
125 Orange St
Palm Harbor, FL

Ozona Blue Oceanside on Urbanspoon

Food0/5
Service0/5
Atmosphere0/5
Value0/5
0.0/5

We emptied out the fridge in preparation for our vacation, and Loren was craving a steak so we headed to Longhorn Steakhouse in Palm Harbor.

I’m always happy when fresh, warm bread is brought to the table.

Loren started off with a salad, I just kept munching on bread.

I ordered the Citrus Grilled chicken with a baked potato.  It was one of the items on their specials menu.

The chicken was cooked a little too much on the outside, but the inside was perfect.  It had a slight citrus flavor to it, but it wasn’t overwhelming.  Loren got the bacon scallops with a 7 oz filet.

He was a very happy guy.  The steak and scallops were both cooked just right. Plus, how can you go wrong with anything wrapped in bacon? 

And then came the dessert sampler.

This had a lot of awesome going on.  Strawberry cheesecake, a caramel apple cobbler with ice cream and chocolate cake.  I was in heaven.  The cheesecake was light and fluffy with sweetened strawberries and whipped cream.  We both dove into that one.  Loren finished off the caramel apple cobbler and the chocolate cake was soft, fresh and yummy.

From start to finish, this was a really good experience.  Our waiter was really good.  Kept drinks filled and cleared away dishes quickly.  Total bill was $48 and worth every penny.

Longhorn Steakhouse
35645 US Highway 19
Palm Harbor, FL
(727) 781-9300

Longhorn Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Food4/5
Service5/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value4/5
4.2/5

We got a $10 coupon for Bonefish Grill in the mail today, so we headed out there for dinner.  Talk about immediate results from a mailing campaign. 

Luckily, we went out for dinner a little later tonight because when we got to the restaurant there were a bunch of teenagers just finishing up and leaving for prom.  We timed it just right and were able to get a table without a wait.  I gotta say, those kids were really decked out in their suits and gowns.

We were both pretty hungry after a long day for Loren at the autocross track and me at the Great American Pie Festival in Celebration.  We started out with the Singapore Calamari.

I gotta say, this was some of the best calamari I’ve had in a while.  It was really fresh and had a nice crunchy coating on it.   It was mixed with peppers and served with a sweet and spicy Asian dipping sauce.  The dipping sauce was too spicy for me, but Loren liked it.  

I have to add a note in here about the service and attention to detail.  Two plates were placed on our table stacked on top of each other for the appetizer.  When the appetizer was brought to the table, the waiter went to pass out the plates and noticed one had something on it and immediately went back to get us another one.  I know this seems like common sense, but too often something like that isn’t even noticed by the staff at other restaurants and we would have had to have said something about it. 

I got a cup of their corn chowder with lump crab.

There were some big chunks of crab in the soup which was really nice.  I’m a big fan of corn chowder and this is a wonderful version of it.

Loren got a salad with his entree and they brought out some bread and olive oil to dip it in.

The bread was nice and crusty on the outside, but soft and warm on the inside, just the way it should be. 

For our entrees, we both ordered off of the specials menu.  Loren got the Deluxe Mixed Grill, which was a sirloin steak, scallops and shrimp.

He said the shrimp were overcooked, but everything else was done just right.  They gave him some scalloped potatoes even though he had chosen a salad as his side dish and they served a chick pea garnish on both of our plates. 

I got Lily’s Atlantic Salmon with jasmine rice.

The salmon was served with spinach, artichokes and goat cheese.  It was really good.  By this point, I was pretty full, so most of it came home as leftovers, except for the chick peas, those just didn’t do it for me.

With our $10 off coupon, the total bill came to$36.  Not bad for the amount of really good food that we got.  We don’t eat at Bonefish very often, but I’m not sure why.  Every time we’ve been, we’ve gotten great service and really tasty, interesting food. 

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

Bonefish Grill on Urbanspoon

Food0/5
Service0/5
Atmosphere0/5
Value0/5
0.0/5

We’ve eaten at so many loud restaurants lately, that it’s so refreshing to actually sit down to a nice quiet dinner.  We headed over to Kado Japanese Steakhouse in Tampa for dinner with our $25 Restaurant.com coupon in hand.

The restaurant was nearly empty.  There was just one table of 4 people when we came in.  Kado is so much less commercialized than the other Japanese steakhouses in town.  It’s like a small family owned restaurant.  As far as we could tell, the waitstaff seemed like generations of the same family.

I have to say though, it did seem a little awkward to be the only two people at one of the Habachi tables.   The chef went through all the motions, but I’m sure it was a bit underwhelming for him too to not have a big tableful of guests to show off to.

They start you off with a light, tasty broth.

It had a nice mellow flavor and was served piping hot.  You can even see the steam.  Next up the salad.

The ginger dressing was really good.  Since we needed to spend $50 for our coupon, we ordered some egg rolls.

They were a lot bigger than I thought they’d be.  Good crunch, tasty filling.  I already knew at this point that I wasn’t going to be able to finish my dinner.

Loren ordered the filet and shrimp and I got the Sumo which is filet, shrimp and scallops.  And of course, lots of goody-goody sauce. 

The veggies, rice, and shrimp were cooked perfectly, the steak and scallops very tender.  It’s so nice to have a meal where everything is just incredibly well executed.  Believe it or not, we still hadn’t hit $50, so we just had to order dessert.

I saw cheesecake on the menu, but when it came out, we were both surprised to realize it was deep fried cheesecake.  Wow!  I’ve never had cheesecake like this before.  It was slightly frozen in the center, but otherwise had a nice, crispy tempura shell all around it, plus drizzled in chocolate sauce.  It was an incredible ending to a very delicious meal. 

After the coupon and with the tip added in, the total dinner was $44.  It was probably one of the best meals we’ve had in a long time for a very reasonable price.  Plus I have leftovers for tomorrow.

Kado Japanese Steakhouse
6821 W. Hillsborough Ave, Ste 9
Tampa, FL

Kado Japanese Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Food0/5
Service0/5
Atmosphere0/5
Value0/5
0.0/5
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