Sunday, September 4, 2011

Willie's Restaurant (The Place for Seafood), Valrico, FL

Okay...who's ready for a snarkfest?

All I wanted after a day of mopping, windexing and doing copious loads of laundry was a decent, simple meal that I didn't have to cook myself (and didn't have to drive too far for) and a cold beer. Thankfully, I did get the latter (although it was a good 10 minutes after we sat down before it appeared)...which was the only thing that prevented my hormonal evil twin from torching this place. Visions of fried oysters had somehow managed to lodge themselves in my brain over the course of the Day of Domestic Overload, so I prevailed upon UD to chauffeur me to the other side of the metropolis that is Valrico to find some. Willie's appeared to be ticket on paper (and online), but soon had me longing for the mediocrity of Crappy Bill's.

I felt optimistic when we pulled in, somewhat charmed by the rustic, tin-roofed building situated among giant palms and live oaks. The interior was cute and resplendant with kitschy decor, cheesy seashore "art" and Christmas lights. This redneck girl was really starting to feel relaxed and comfortable here.

Then, the unthinkable happened...the food started coming out. My expectations were relatively low when I orderd the $3.95 Lobster Bisque and justifiably so. This thick, flavorless, pasty concoction could've been just about anything...if it hadn't been orange, I wouldn't have had the first clue as to what in the hell it was posing as.

Willie's "famous" onion rings were the highlight of the evening...good, but not great (I'm a little dubious about how they could've possibly risen to "fame"). The onions were cooked through and the breading was light and crisp, albeit with a bit of an oily aftertaste. Our sweet waitress recommended a half-order, which indeed was generous enough for the two of us.

My oyster basket was sorely disappointing. The oysters were enrobed in some of the same light, crispy batter as the rings and probably would've been okay if they hadn't been presented to me cold. The redskin potatoes practically bored me to tears and immediately gave me a nighmarish flashback to the ones that were proudly served by the Shells chain in the late 80s. The coleslaw came out late but was...just gross. Limp, wet, too finely minced and somehow managing to walk an unappealingly vague and watery line between not creamy and not acidic. Hush puppies were like rocks. At this point, I was bittery wishing we'd driven the few extra miles to Ybor for the oyster basket at Shrimp & Co.

Underdog fared no better with his basket of greasy, tasteless gator bites and pale, limp fries.

I wasn't expecting a Mise en Place experience for $50, but Long John Silver's could've easily dished up something more satisfying than this hot mess of a meal. Just. Say. No.

Willie's The Place For Seafood on Urbanspoon


  1. I too was sorry for visiting Willie's. I agree with her, just say no.

  2. I've loved Fat Willie's cole slaw and hush puppies for many years. Always found the fish to be fresh, and delicious. Too bad 'Polly' felt the need to be so snarky - at least she warned her readers that she would be. I just don't agree with her at all.

  3. I agree the place is a dump and full of unfriendly staff!! service is awful anymore