Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bitchin' Lunch At The Beach

A recent Cooking Channel episode of Emeril's Florida had the chef on the beach at Pass-A-Grille, south of St. Pete Beach. The dining venue - the venerable Hurricane Seafood Restaurant. I didn't watch the entire episode as there seemed to be more talk about the Hurricane's world famous grouper sandwich than cooking and eating.

Seeing Emeril at the Hurricane reminded us that, for no particular reason, it has been a couple of years since we enjoyed dining at this historic restaurant. With that thought in mind, we packed ourselves into Gus the truck and headed to the beach this Sunday for a bitchin' lunch at the beach.

We asked to be seated outdoors on the first floor wooden deck so that we could enjoy some really pleasant February Florida weather - while it lasts.

I started with a One Night Stand - a very delightful draft ale, while my bride opted for a Corona Light with a wedge of lime.

On the menu presented by our server Nick, I saw...wait for it...Washington oysters on the half shell. I am a fool for raw oysters. When I asked Nick if they were freshly shucked to order, he hesitated, then said they were actually flown in frozen and already shucked. No way Jose! That did not sound appetizing, but the Belle said I really should try one before passing judgement.

I asked Nick if I could have just one, and he graciously brought me just one.

This mollusk looked pretty good. At least it wasn't mangled...and, the taste? It was awful! The texture wasn't great either. All I could think was, with so much fantastic Florida seafood, like oysters from Apalachicola, why would anyone serve an abomination such as this?

Thankfully, the rest of our dining adventure went beyond good, to excellent in a beachy sort of way. This is a beach restaurant and bar, after all, not a high end venue with haute cuisine.

My bride chose the Cuban Club sandwich framed with fresh, and locally baked, Cuban bread caressing meats that are freshly sliced each day. Her mouth dropped open in awe at the size of that sandwich, which she declared was a true winner.

She could only manage half of this monster, so she now has lunch for Monday.

I had to have that world famous grouper sandwich. Was it good? This grilled grouper with a tasty tartar sauce transcended good - it was flavorful and perfectly cooked, tender, tasty and juicy - probably one of the best I have had. Many restaurants with grouper on their menu could take lessons from the Hurricane.

The sides of coleslaw were good, too, as were the French fried onion rings. For me, the star of the show was the grouper.

I hope Emeril was able to learn a thing or two.

Our lunch with a couple of beers each along with our food came to a reasonable $56.21. We over tipped Nick a bit since he didn't charge us for that one oyster. Good customer service!

Hurricane Seafood on Urbanspoon

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