Crabby Bill's Restaurant 
 St. Pete Beach, Florida        Date of Visit  09/18/10        http://www.crabbybills.com/

In getting ready for our trip (i.e. where to eat) two different places appeared to pop up over and over again, Crabby Billís being one of them. The fact that it was only a couple of driveways from our hotel made this an easy choice. Right on the beachfront this enormous red building holds seating for what seems like thousands but still keeps that odd quirky beer shack with good food feel. Being a Midwesterner I am often struck by the callousness of others in the bigger cities but I am seldom taken aback by the level of friendliness in any particular place.



 


 
 


Today's Fresh Catch Behind the Crackers
 

St. Pete Beach must have something in the water or air in that nearly everyone we encountered just seemed genuinely nice and interested. This was not entirely true at Billís as the service was rushed and rather mechanical, particularly as we were the first oneís there this day. Rushed or pushy might be acceptable when you are in the weeds, but not with your first and so far only table.

The view is gorgeous and by the window next to a pail of crackers is the list of fresh seafood currently at market prices. How can you not get seafood when it came out of the water today, unless of course you abhor seafood. We tried the spicy crab and corn bisque, fried shrimp, fried oysters, fried crab cakes, and I broke the mold with a broiled platter.

The soup was thick and had just a hint of bite to it, focused mostly on the sweetness of the corn and the crab. I had expected more heat ďspicyĒ being the key word in the name and although I am not a huge fan of sweet soups I rather enjoyed this cup. The shrimp were crusty and well fried, as were the oysters whose molten interior had picked up a thin crisp crust.

 
 
Pretty Good Soup
 

Not Often We Get Fresh Shrimp, Tasty
 

Fried Oysters for the More Adventurous
 
 
 

The crab cakes were not bad and did have a good bit of crabby flavor, just no chunks of crab, making them a little less decadent. The broiled fish was delicious but the shrimp and scallops could have used a sear of some stripe to add some flavor and texture. The sides were not well executed with a garlic mash that made me wonder if the cook sneezed when adding the garlic as there was so much you could smell it in Transylvania. The coleslaw was fine but nowhere near as refined or deep as some others we had tried.  I donít know if it is the same for people who walk in from the beach but if you enter and leave from the parking lot you are greeted twice (once with a full stomach) by an incredible stench emanating from the dumpsters full of garbage roasting in the Florida sun. You gotta put it somewhere but Wow, this seriously reeks, maybe give them a rinse and a scrub once a year or something. Crabby Billís is an interesting place in a beautiful space and although it was one of my least favorite over the weekend, it was still pretty darn good overall.
 


Check Out the View
 

 
 
Shredded Crab Cakes
 

See?
 

Good, Fresh, Broiled Seafood Platter
 
 
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