Sunday, May 16, 2010

400 Beach Seafood and Taphouse, St. Petersburg, FL

Remember that old song entitled "High Hopes"?  That was me when I perused the 400 Beach Seafood and Taphouse restaurant's menu online.  I had already tried her sister restaurant (Parkshore Grill) on a couple of occasions and thought it was above average...and the menu for 400 Beach had my mouth watering the minute I clicked it open.

Unfortunately, while it wasn't an unpleasant dining experience, it wasn't memorable, either.  Most of the dishes my party tried were fairly mediocre and looked better on paper than they did on the plate.  The restaurant itself, however, is lovely...and we were able to get nice, shady table on the sidewalk overlooking Vinoy Park and Tampa Bay.

Despite my adamant proclamations and intent, I was derailed from my goal to remain on a low-carb diet until Memorial Day, at which time I'm going to have to shoehorn my food-loving arse into a swimsuit over the course of a beach weekend (in front of people I know, no less).  My resolve started circling the drain right about the time the basket of warm cheddar biscuits was delivered to the table.  It didn't help that I had Satan at my side (thank you, Jay).  
While the biscuits were tasty, they were nothing the Red Lobster can't top...and I felt like they should've been. 

UD and I decided to share an appetizer of Beachside Steamed Clams with Chorizo, Lemon, Herbs and Aioli Crouton.  This was my favorite item of the evening, although I thought the serving size was pretty stingy for $11.  The clams were tender, fresh and perfectly cooked, however...and the chorizo accented them to perfection.
Jay and Beth started with Black and Bleu Beef Tenderloin Skewers with a Maytag Blue dipping sauce, which I didn't try.  They enjoyed it, although I thought the presentation was a bit lacking.  And is that really an "arugula salad"...or is it just a few leaves? 

Beth and I both selected the Seafood Louis Salad, which was described as "Shrimp, Scallops, Crab, Shaved Iceberg, Chili Lemon Louis Dressing, Boiled Egg, Avocado and Tomato".  We agreed that it was a little light for a $14 salad, and that the Louis Dressing could've used a bit more "zip".  And maybe they should have said "Scallop" (singular) in the description, as we each only had three thin slices of a single specimen of that particular variety of shellfish on our plates.

Jimbo ordered the Baja Fish Tacos (Flour Tortillas, Blackened Mahi-Mahi, Avocado, Tomato, Lettuce, Mango Salsa and Queso Fresco), which he proclaimed tasty albeit not unforgettable.  The fries (aka "Potato Planks") were acceptable, although slightly undercooked and obviously of the frozen variety.

Jay seemed to enjoy his grouper sandwich, although the piece of fish looked a bit small for a $17 sandwich.  Shouldn't it at least cover the bun?

All in all, it was nice time with good friends, there was a decent choice of wines and beers by the glass, and we loved the al fresco ambience.  Our service was pretty good, too.  While we won't be in any hurry to return, it was a pleasant experience overall and a convenient place to catch a bite before Theater in the Park.

400 Beach Seafood & Tap House on Urbanspoon

My blog entries contain the unmitigated, and sometimes unforgiving, dining truths and perceptions I experience as an ordinary restaurant patron. Every meal I post about has been fully paid for by one of the participating members of my personal dining party. I do not engage in the gratis blogger freebie dining events I'm constantly invited to attend and never will. If I ooze font-like love for a restaurant in my blog, it's because they totally earned it…not because they gave me free food or knew I was going to share the experience on the internet.


  1. The first time I went to 400 Beach Seafood and Tap house, my meal was AWESOME. They recently changed some things on their menu and I would HIGHLY recommend getting the lump crab cakes. The grouper sandwich are among some things I wouldn't really try because it's just typical. Any seafood place you go to, you could get a grouper sandwich. PLUS most places only price them si highly because it depends on the market price. So before you can "bash" a sandwich, look at the market price and maybe you wouldn't be so surprised. Judging by the time you went, it was lunch time. Check out their dinner menu. The new chef ALWAYS has a dinner (as well as lunch) special that is out of this world. The Miso Salmon and Seaseme Seared Tuna are amazing because of the quality of the fish. I have had my fine share of sushi and different grades of tuna and this place has by far the A grade in my book.

  2. I can always appreciate an opposing opinion. I do have to say that, having lived (and dined) in Florida for the past 20 years, I do understand the concept of "market price". I have also had grouper sandwiches all over the state, as have my companions. We all agreed that this particular grouper sandwich was a weak example and that the other offerings failed to "wow" as well. Also, just because we ordered off of the lunch menu doesn't mean we shouldn't expect high quaility, creative cuisine at an establishment with 400's price structure.

    Still, it is a really pretty dining spot...good to know that they have a new chef. I might have to give it another go. Thanks for your comments!

  3. My Crab Louis looked completely different than what you were served!!

    Isn't it funny how a "change" in staff can recreate an entirely different presentation. Now...which one was the right version?