37 Causeway Blvd
Clearwater, FL – 210-1313
The girlfriend and I decided to go to Crabby Bill’s on a muggy summer evening. We had gone together once before, and we decided to come back because she loves crab-legs (on the last outing the Snow Crab legs were delicious, I snuck a taste). Immediately after crossing the Clearwater Memorial Causeway you’re assualted by the typical tourist-shit; surf shops, neon-lights, and families with backpacks and flip-flops dragging little Johnny along. By this time there are no girls in bikini’s, just loud music and motorcycles.
When you enter Crabby Bills, it’s a bit like walking into a beach-side CrAppleby’s. There’s the same goofy, campy shit on the walls, a tired server with listless eyes counting down the time left, and a bar. I’m fine with the bar. Going to Crabby Bill’s on a Thursday proves fruitful as a cup of anything on tap is about $2. The atmosphere is clearly a drag, but the menu looks alright. On my last visit I made the mistake of ordering the Fried Platter, which was fine for what it was but you are pretty much just eating overpriced batter and grease.
The appetizer comes out, we ordered the Seared Mahi-Mahi. The tuna is seared and then rolled in Basel and Parsely. We’re disappointed that it wasn’t rolled in pepper or something a little more suitable for seared tuna. Unfortunately the Mahi-Mahi is a bit on the warm side, it felt like it hung out under the lamp leaving the interior with a skin-temperature level of heat. The saving grace is that the flavor is spot-on. As you can see the side-salad is the average fare.
Our entrees come out, I ordered the Broiled Platter which comes with Scallops, Grouper, Shrimp, Conch Fritter, Southern-style Green Beans, and French Fries:
I first break into the scallops; they’ve been cleaned well and were broiled in butter. Pretty fucking delicious. They’ve been cleaned properly, so no sand to grate between your teeth. I next tear into the Conch Fritter, it tastest akin to a spicy crab cake. If you haven’t had one before, it’s like eating a bite of moist, spicy, corn bread. The shrimp and the grouper are on par with everything else. The fries are fries… fried, greasy, delciious. If you haven’t had Grouper, it’s very similar to cod or whitefish… very neutral not much ‘fish’ flavor. For the unitiated, Southern-style green beans are a combination of “No he just didn’t” and “Why didn’t I think of this?” Essentially, someone decided to dice some onions, cook some bacon and then marry it with green beans. If this won’t get your kid to eat vegetables, you’re raising a lost cause. Leave it at the next church you pass.
The girlfriend’s entrée is as follows:
I didn’t sample her entire plate, but I did have a bit of the crab. She has found that Snow Crab has more base-‘Crab’ flavor than the King Crab and I heartily agree. After trying a bite the first-time-round, I had to have another taste to be convinced this wasn’t some trick (my previous experiences with Crab were in a Crab Rangoon, a poor decision to order All-You-Can-Eat-King-Crab-Legs at the ‘World Buffet’ [behind the Lansing mall in Lansing, MI… next to the Salvation Army. Salvation Army and Buffet go hand-in-hand right?], and that synthetic stuff at a friend’s house). The texture of crab isn’t particularly remarkable, it’s like eating a bite of filet mignon… it’s tender. The part of this that intrigued me was that the crab itself tasted somewhat buttery yet wasn’t dipped in butter. If you’re a crab fan, I would highly suggest Snow Crab Legs.
In closing, this trip may have been “enhanced” by imbibing 3 or 4 Yuenglings. According to Chris (another contributor to the site, just not yet) Yuengling originated from PA, but there is a local brewery for them here in Tampa. It’s like a classier Budweiser. It’s smooth, with an almost milky back-end yet not as rich as a Blue-moon or an Oberon. The prices weren’t great (other than the beer), the décor was a turn off, but the food was delish.
-Matt in Tampa