Saturday, January 5, 2013

Palm Pavilion Beachside Grill and Bar, Clearwater Beach, FL

Our word for the day is "uninspiring", kiddos.  Palm Pavilion has somehow managed to stick around as a Clearwater Beach icon since 1926, but I'm guessing that's more attributable to its bar, primo location (smack-dab in the sugar-white sand overlooking the Gulf of Mexico) and tourist orientation than to any sort of ongoing commitment to quality.  I guess I'm overdue for a bitchfest, so buckle up.

With my niece and her bff in town who were forced eager to spend the afternoon with us (and what teenager doesn't live to while away a Saturday afternoon in Florida hanging with Baby Boomers?), UD and I were challenged to find something remotely cool to do with them.  A beach lunch seemed perfect considering the gorgeous weather, so we made a beeline for CWB. beautiful, happy and optimistic.  They had no idea their lunch was going to pretty much suck.  Maybe Magic 8 Balls should be dispensed with each menu.

The gurlz were troopers, though...despite the fact that the food failed to excite even the relatively accepting palates that come with youth.  The smoked fish spread was the blandest and most unspecial I've ever eaten.  Heavy on the mayo with a total lack of smoked flavor in the stingy flakes of fish product, I could've been eating Subway Tuna Salad and not known the difference.  Really...SO much better to be had at Frenchy's, Keegan's, Walt'z and even Crappy Bill's (which I hate).  An absolutely tasteless rendition adorned with three pieces of flatbread and a few wilted cuke slices that had clearly seen better days.

UD tried the Shrimp and Crab Chowder which garnered an "average" rating.  I didn't like it at all (again, Frenchy's, Keegan's and Guppy's all offer soups that whoop ass on this strange, chunky and veggie laden concoction which tasted a bit too much of "Krab" to me). just wasn't good.

My first choice was grouper cheeks, but they were not available.  I asked about stone crab claws because I wanted our Georgia visitors to try a taste, but was told by our server that stone crab season just ended.  It's January 5th...REALLY? I thought about the fried clams, but our waitress admitted they were frozen. can one go wrong with a grouper sandwich, right?  The portion was huge and nicely fried, but tasted like it had spent a little too much time in the freezer. I've also been served crisper and more exciting coleslaw at KFC. There are many opportunities for local seafood restos to procure fresh product on the Pinellas beaches, but this venue is clearly more of a bar than a restaurant.  While I totally enjoy a well-prepared grouper sandwich for what it is and in no way expect it to be foodgasm fodder...I do expect it to be fresh.

The hubster's Coconut Shrimp were obviously prefab, as were the black beans and rice that came with.  No one is working too hard in the kitchen to make anything more special than a beer-absorption sponge.  He also requested fruit along with his side order of cottage cheese (and don't even ask me what was up with him ordering cottage cheese, but I think his AARP status is now "official"), and a few grapes were presented nestled atop his little condiment dish of Breakstone.  WTF?

Is this really "The Best Burger on the Beach" as advertised on the menu?  Can you spell "hyperbole"?  Cassidy was obviously unimpressed and dubbed the fries "the highlight of the meal".  Either the kitchen or the universe is clearly out of kilter when a teenager won't eat a hamburger.

My precious Halle attempted to step out of the "burger box" and ordered Fiery Shrimp Flatbread with seasoned shrimp, onion, green peppers, tomatoes, cheddar-jack and Palm's "famous" chipotle sauce. Taco Bell must've provided the inspiration for this.  It literally tasted like nothing, which led to some head scratching over the "fiery" description.

What is served here is no better than fast food.  Come for drinks and come for the view...but don't come expecting anything more from the cuisine than stomach filler.

Palm Pavilion Beachside Grill & Bar 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.

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