This stylish little offshoot of its "Mecca-for-Q-Tips" grandpappy, Bob Heilman's Beachcomber (which was much beloved by one of my favorite former fathers-in-law, God rest his soul), is an urban oasis in the culinary desert that is Clearwater Beach. Unlike Frenchy's, Crabby's, Palm Pavillion, et al...you will not see many logo T-shirt-encased beer bellies, ball caps and flip-flops at this venue. Highly civilized, the crowd at Bobby's looks more like a Romney family reunion than a beachside tourist destination. That said, they welcomed this redneck gurl without even the slightest disparaging glance. I must clean up better than I thought.
We were seated outdoors in a gorgeous garden setting and got wonderful service from Don, who charmingly and seamlessly navigated us through the menu.
Hot, crispy bread accompanied by herbaceous and cheesy olive oil arrived in short order. Bread pics have been done to death and I have lots to talk about, so we'll move right along to the apps.
Colossal Chilled Gulf Shrimp were huge and totally delivered with a sweetness that was reminiscent of lobster...even at their extravagant price point of $4.50 each. The zippy, horseradish-heavy cocktail dipping sauce was the perfect foil for the fresh and firm crustaceans (did I taste vodka in there???).
God's Own French Onion Soup is being dispensed at Bobby's, so you really don't want to pass it up if you visit. Savory, intense veal stock laced with lavender, sherry and brandy provides a luxurious bath for the caramelized onions and melted cheese topper. The best.
The California Pear, Pecan and Pepper Montrachet salad looked amazing on paper but fizzled just a tad on the plate. As pretty as the offering was, a bland dressing coupled with the fact that the pecans were not toasted kept this lovely salad from reaching its full potential. Since UD and I were sharing, Don considerately offered to divide onto two plates for us (there was plenty for two).
The palm-sized Bronzed Scallops rocked our respective taste buds with their freshness and perfectly seared preparation. Their bed of cool mango salsa added sweetness and color to this light starter.
Already feeling the tightening waistbands of our depravity, we decided to split an entree, Dogboy NEEDS his monthly veal chop, so Bobby's was an amazing, perfectly rare, foregone conclusion. No one was being stingy with the fried onion straws, either...which always garners my approval.
We also opted for an a la carte wedge of Bobby's Signature Bistro Potato for six bucks, which was a little slab of heaven. Thin Idaho potato slices had been baked until tender in an artery-clogging (and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible) casserole layered with sweet onion, cheeses and cream. 18 layers of heart-stopping goodness, to be exact (per our server)...and worth every year it took off my life.
While it DID seem overly indulgent to snarf on, the environment was making me feel a tad elitist and entitled so I agreed to split a slice of Coconut Cream Pie with Dogboy. Its cool, creamy and coconutty decadence really took the sting out of the fact that it bumped me up a jeans size.
Bobby's is a beautiful restaurant and quite elegant for the Pinellas beaches. The extensive wine list folds out like a road map (remember those?) and contains selections to suit every taste. Most diners look like they arrived there via the "down" button on their condo elevator as opposed I-75 South. Just sayin' so you can present yourself accordingly when you go....and go you should.