|Photo from Joe's web site|
The Beach Bake photo depicted a mouth watering, piled-high tub of seafood delights that included lobsters, shrimp, and clams accompanied by potatoes and cobs of corn.
My buds of taste simply demanded that I have me a tub of that goodness from the sea, so yesterday afternoon my bride and I headed over to the Joe's at 2730 Gulf To Bay Boulevard near Clearwater.
I had wild fantasies of getting to Joe's around five-ish and beating the dinner crowds. Silly me! The place was packed to the rafters. We checked in and were advised of a ten to fifteen minutes wait for the first available seating. We decided to wait at the bar, and before we could finish our two beers we were notified our table was ready.
Pretty much everything you may have read in the Urbanspoon reviews is correct. The joint was jumping, it was crowded, the music was somewhat on the loud side, there were families with kids, there was dancing and singing by the waitstaff, and there were balloons.
Lighten up people! This is not a fancy-dancy dining venue. It is a joyful, beach bar kind of setting where a bit of noise and good times are the norm - and, the kids were well behaved on our visit.
Compared to a Long John Silver, it probably is a little pricey, but it's not a Long John or Captain D - thank goodness. The last time my bride and I went out for a seafood dinner with lobster in Tampa it cost $300.
Joe's was a real treat.
Service was prompt and efficient thanks to Angela, and we had a good time with some cold beer and good food.
Speaking of Angela, she said it was a necessity to wear a bib when tackling the Beach Bake.
Not since I was a toddler have I felt the need of a bib. The front of my shirt works just fine, but Angela insisted. I didn't have to like it though.
While we were waiting for our food to arrive the balloon lady stopped by and suggested our evening would not be complete without a balloon.
I was already suffering the indignity of a bib, so I declined the balloon but I did volunteer my bride for one. And, a thing of beauty it was to behold.
All right then, enough of this frivolity. Let's get to the grub.
My Belle of Ballast Point, ever the seafood conservative, chose the Orange Tarragon Mahi that she simply swooned over - perfectly prepared fish, not raw and not dried out with a tangy citrusy butter sauce. The rather plebeian sides were steamed broccoli and crispy potatoes, but as I alluded to before, this isn't haute cuisine. It was good and it was filling. It also didn't cost $25 to $30.
After seeing the teevee commercial I was a little concerned that there might be way too much food in the Corona Beach Bake for just one person. Angela assured me that I would be fine. The two lobsters are not as big as they appear in pictures. The bake also had about a dozen steamed clams, four or five shrimp, plus the taters, corn, and a link of sausage.
Ain't it amazin' Gracie, that what is advertised and what you actually get always seem to be two different things? My tub didn't look quite the same as the tub in the web site picture where the seafood was overflowing. Oh, well!
The Corona Beach Bake was good, though. All of the seafood was prepared just right. Nothing was over-cooked or dry. The flavor of the Corona butter sauce was good albeit understated. I did not leave hungry.
Joe's is not my most favorite seafood place, but the food was good, and the prices were reasonable - $92.38, and that included two dinners, four beers, and a dessert. We added 20% for Angela. I could envision a return visit to Joe's.
And, yes I did forget about dessert, a pineapple upside down cake with a dribble of caramel sauce that the Belle brought home with her for a sweet treat - in addition to me, of course.