Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Fourth Street Shrimp Store
1006 4th Street
St. Petersburg, FL

It’s finally here. After months of talking about it, and meaning to do it, Ben and I finally post our first blog about a genuine Tampa Bay dining experience! (Please, please, don't act so excited! You're making me blush.)

As a disclaimer, most of these reviews will be places in Pinellas County, and most of those somewhere around St. Petersburg, where we frequently are anyhow on the weekend. Also, this is just our opinions, and we by no means are experts.

I also want to point out to anyone who may get offended by the name of the blog that we are in fact one Jewish young man, and a somewhat chubby (but still yet attractive) female, so we aren't mocking anyone but ourselves.
So, this week’s adventure was the Fourth Street Shrimp Store!

A little fun history on the place: Originally it was a mechanic’s shop in the 1920’s, and then later a Laundromat, and finally it was turned into the Shrimp store.

If you stand in the parking lot, you can see where the original building was, and where they built the add on in 1997, which includes a patio that over looks Fourth Street (which is where we ate). Ben didn't like eating right in front of 4th Street, but I think it was nice outside. He probably just didn't like the teenage 'hodlums' that were across the street.

The first thing we had was Smoked Fish Spread($5.49). To say the least, it was interesting.

I’m not a fan of canned tuna or minced any-type-o-meat salad, but I was surprised when I tried a spoonful of this and liked it. It wasn't too fishy, and it tasted pretty good on crackers.

Ben however, is a fan of minced-fish-meat type stuff and didn’t like it too well because it was flavored too mildly for him. I suspect he didn’t hate it too much though, because he ate about half of it any how.

We also ordered a side of the Florida Crab Croquettes($2.99). They weren’t any amazing culinary delight, but they were …well, crab cakes.

Ben seemed to really think they were something special, and he said they were better than most any crab cake he has ever had.

I thought they were plenty big, but wasn't too taken with them. They tasted alright, and they were something nice to munch on to pass the time.

For dinner, although I happened to be at a ‘shrimp store’ I was torn between salmon or the scallops (And the Fried Scallop Dinner $10.99 won out) so Ben was left to sample the stores name sake.

First of all, the portions on both of our plates were huge, and neither of us could possible finish our meals.

I think the best quote of the night had to go to Ben when he said, “My shrimp are so lightly breaded, it’s like they’re getting naked in my mouth!”

(or maybe it wasn’t so much what he said, but the bizarre look of glee on his face when he said it that cracked me up the most. Apparently, he has some sort of fetish for naked crustaceans in his mouth).

At first I was a little put off by the breading myself. It had no flavor, and it did indeed fall right off of the scallop right when I bit into it. Ah, the joys of naked sea life dancing on your tongue!

The beauty of this however was that I was actually able to taste the scallop, and it didn’t even taste like it was fried! I couldn’t detect any oil what so ever, and that was pretty remarkable. I don't know if that was on purpose, or they just have an unusual system for frying their food, but once I got past being prude about naked scallops I too had a look of glee on my face.

The rice wasn’t anything fancy, the new potatoes I ordered where really tasty and I was totally glad I got those instead of the run of the mill fries that Ben got on his platter.

But a night isn’t complete until Ben finds something to gripe about, so I plan to make it a weekly tradition of posting some of Ben’s more humorous gripes. Here we go!

Ben’s Gripe of the week: My gripe for the night was the abuse of paprika.

Coleslaw is not hard to get right and they had it right to begin with, but they had to throw paprika on it like nothing could leave the kitchen without a liberal sprinkling of that zesty orange stuff!

So, despite being somewhat full, he and I decided to be “thorough” in our investigation of the place, and we ordered desert. Ben was overjoyed when he saw that they had White Chocolate Bread Pudding($6.49) and I ordered the Key Lime Pie ($4.99). Not because I like it mind you, but because it was the only other desert on the menu, and I take being thorough seriously, even to my taste buds' detriment.

So for key lime pie, it was key-limeyish, and for some people that is apparently a good thing. Nothing too fancy, it tasted like it was supposed to, but for 5 bucks I was hoping it tasted like some sort of miracle was being performed in my mouth.

I personally don’t get the whole concept of bread pudding, which mixes two seemingly very different substances and textures into one harmonious desert(perhaps that's a desert miracle in and of itself!). One is gelatinous and almost liquid, the other solid, like, oh…let’s say bread. Somehow, they get them to coalesce in some sort of desert like mess that some people enjoy.

Ben, is one of those people.

He opted to eat his with out the buttery whiskey sauce that came with it, but I personally found that the whiskey sauce made it much more enjoyable (but that could be because it was covering up the bread pudding taste). Ben assured me though as far as bread pudding goes, it was pretty top shelf stuff (if people stored Bread pudding on shelves).

Once again, the portions were huge, and we both couldn’t finish it (but for the respective prices, I was hoping to get almost a whole pie or something!)

Ben’s Gripe, Part Deux (when one gripe just won’t do!): Dessert should not cost as much as a meal(some of the seafood platters where $6.99). If you're going to charge such a high price, call it a sweet entree !

So, to the totals! Did we make our goal of under twenty dollars? Let’s see!

Ben’s Bill
Soda- 1.99
Smoked Fish Spread- 5.49
Fried Shrimp Dinner- 8.99
Bread Pudding- 6.49

TOTAL 24.56

Cindy’s Bill
Soda- 1.99
Crab Croquettes- 2.99
Fried Scallop Dinner- 10.99
Key Lime Pie - 4.99

TOTAL 22.43

Sorry, you loossssseee!!! Wonk, wonk, wonk....

I suppose if we skipped on those mongoloid deserts or skimped on the soda, we would have made it under twenty, but what meal is any fun with out a soda?

So, instead of fancy little 'stars' or thumbs up, we will be doing something oh, so original: forks. I'm probably going to make a neat graffic later, but for right now, I'm just going to tell you how many we gave it. 2 1/2 out of 5.


Enviro Pirate said...

Wow. Glad I read this. Now I know if I ever find myself starving with only $20 in my pocket in downtown St. Pete, the Shrimp Store is not the place to go.

Cynthia said...

yea...there ARE a lot of affordable places down town...I just need a new digital camera so I can take pics of the places, and then I will be back in action! I LOVED this idea for this blog, and I want to continue it...