It had been a while since I had dinner at the Crab Shack on Gandy Blvd. in St. Petersburg, but I had fond memories of going there with rowdy friends and ordering steaming platters of fresh crabs. Times change. Charles and I arrived at 7pm and were seated shortly afterward. That may have been the high point. I asked our brusque server if there were any specials and she said," only Grouper Cheeks." Okay, I ordered the Surf and Turf, steak and snow crab and Charles ordered the mysterious Grouper Cheeks. Our salads came out reasonably quickly and this should have been when I made the decision to go elsewhere. The salads were bowls of yellow ice-burg lettuce with slices of white onion on top and one slice of tomato, each. Since I requested dressing, my salad had a dollop of white 'blue cheese' dressing on it. Unappetizing indeed! When every fast-food chain serves a more upscale salad then you it is time to rethink the offering.
I ate the tomato slice. A little while later, our entrees were brought out on small white plastic oval dishes. How sad. Grouper cheeks turned out to be fried fish nuggets, bland and tasting only of cheap shortening. There were quite a few of them, too bad they weren't good. The one I tried didn't have the same texture of any other grouper I had had before. I'm pretty sure these used to be served in middle school lunchrooms. Surf and turf was one section of snow crab and a skinny steak underneath, my baked potato still completely wrapped up in aluminum foil, with packets of 'spread' (I guess that is supposed to be butter, excuse me, margarine) and sour cream. Again, fast food baked potatoes surpass this.
By now I was not believing this was a real place! One segment of snow crab is a half-pound? I must have 2 or 3 pounds when we have them at home then. I cracked into a crab leg and it broke in half, crabmeat still inside each half of the shell which is the classic sign of frozen crabs. Not having been supplied with the steel picker thing that usually helps, I gave up on that piece. Charles helped me attempt to get some crab and finally said, "Well now we know what not to order." Thank God for his sense of humor.
The steak was okay. If it was served to me next to an order of eggs at 3 in the morning I would be pleased. In this context, I was just glad to have something edible. After unwrapping the baked potato; (the foil wasn't even cut) I used the melted butter (hopefully it was butter but I must be dreaming. This place cheaped out on every possible thing) that came with the crab on the baked potato instead of the 'spread'.
Stepping outside was a relief and I apologized to Charles for the bad choice. Do yourself a favor and don't bother with the Crab Shack.