If you're looking for a slightly higher-end classic seafood experience with some unexpectedly original twists on old-school favorites and an obvious dedication to freshness and service, Snapper's Sea Grill is your spot. This lovely beach resto is no tourist trap. Some of the freshest, most thoughtful (without being "overworked"), beautifully plated and delish seafood dishes I've ever tasted were placed before UD and me at Snapper's...and no one was skimping on the portions. Entrees are huge (most priced under $25) and served with a large salad, flatbread, starch and veggies. You will NOT leave here hungry or dissatisfied. Our gracious server, Melanie, knew the menu like the back of her hand and checked on us often enough to make us feel loved without being overly intrusive...a fine line to walk, I must say. She's a real pro.
I adore brussels sprouts, but my cruciferous veggie hating spousal unit would love nothing more than to dump them in the street and repeatedly drive over them until they were green smudges in the road. Still, I insisted that we order the appetizer special of Baby Brussels Sprouts, deep fried until carmelized and crispy, tossed with Ponzu Sauce and topped with Crispy Onion Straws. Guess who went in for multiple forkfuls? Completely devoid of any generally associated "skunkiness", these toothsome morsels of Vitamin C laden goodness were better than any I've ever tasted. Anywhere. And they made me feel soveryhealthy as I washed them down with Chardonnay (beer and wine only at Snapper's, btw...but good enough for us).
I love fried clams, but only when they're fresh (none of those 1970's Denny's frozen, breaded rubber bands for moi). Melanie assured us that every seafood item on menu except for the salmon was fresh and local, and that the clams were hand breaded and flash-fried to order. Plump and feather-lightly battered, these are hands-down the best fried clams on the Pinellas Suncoast. Served with horseradish cocktail sauce and lemon wedges, I could've easily made a meal of this mammoth $7.95 starter.
Because house salads generally fail to thrill and we already feeling the effects of tightening waistbands after the appetizers, we asked Melanie not to bother to bring them. Since she had inside knowledge, she brought them anyway ("your mother is not here...you do not have to clean your plates"). While the salad was fairly simple, I was impressed by the crispness of the fresh mixed greens, the unexpected crunch of the tortilla strips and the surprisingly delish house dressing....a creamy, garlicky concoction kicked up with (if I remember correctly) smoked chipotle. Exceptional as far as "house salads" go.
Flatbread with a roasted red pepper hummus also appeared for our nibbling pleasure, but sadly was barely touched. Entrees were on their way and we know our limitations.
We're truly blessed with an abundance of local seafood here on the Gulf Coast of Florida and I have certainly hoovered down my fair share. Snapper's Wreck Snapper crowned with Jumbo Shrimp and served over Asparagus and Lobster Risotto with Saffron Cream and Pink Peppercorns rocked my world. Not only was it beautifully presented, the snapper and shrimp tasted sweet and ocean-fresh, the lobster risotto was creamy, mind-blowing perfection and I could've cheerfully slurped the saffron cream sauce through a straw.
UD mightily tackled the massive Grandé Caribbean Lobster served with sauteéd vegetables and a potato puff pastry. Being the "real man" that he is, he obviously eschewed the veggies and devoted most of his energy to ripping the crustacean flesh to pieces. The potato puff pastry was divine...this layering of mashed and sliced redskin potatoes was encased in even more carby goodness and baked until golden brown.
I was ready to pass on dessert because there were only three choices and all the usual "done-to-death" selections were there...creme brulee, chocolate lava cake (WHY, people??) and key lime pie. So happy I let my better half talk me into sharing a monstrous slab of the Key Lime Pie. A superior rendition to most, it boasted a chocolate cookie crust and raspberry coulis along with the mandatory whipped cream. Beautiful!
Snapper's serves up some of the finest mid-priced fresh seafood on the Pinellas beaches for my money. Service is excellent, the restaurant is beautiful, and all of this plus two glasses of wine apiece and a glass of port for the spousal unit set us back $125 before gratuity. One of my new faves.
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.