Sunday, June 8, 2014

Guy Harvey RumFish Grill, St. Pete Beach, FL

RumFish's website clearly states that "the restaurant’s main attraction is a 33,500 gallon aquarium that encompasses an entire wall of the dining room", and I must agree with that.  The aquarium was built by Wayde King and Brett Raymer of Animal Planet’s hit series 'Tanked' and I won't lie - it is fairly impressive.  RumFish boasts a tranquil setting where tourons may escape the heat, bask in the chill glow of said gorgeous aquarium (along with a plethora of Guy Harvey prints) and dine on all the usual suspects in the coolness of this dimly-lit venue...with a requisite entry and exit through the gift shop.

To be fair, the restaurant has only been open for a few weeks and they are clearly still in the process of finding their way.  Service staff seems to care (or at least they've been instructed to seem to care) since we must've been asked at least half a dozen times over the course of our meal by a steady stream of random personnel if everything was okay (in fact, we only saw our own server twice - once at the beginning of the meal and once at the end). was "okay".

While my better half heartily slurped his Spiced Blue Crab Bisque with sherry, thyme and cream, I recoiled upon first taste at what I perceived to be Old Bay Seasoning overload. This is probably a case of personal preference since UD obviously did not agree, leaving nary a droplet remaining after he had his way with it.

We reached a common consensus as far as my cornmeal-crusted fried oysters were concerned, however.  In addition to having a slightly funky, not-as-fresh-as-they-could-be flavor, they were presented at room temperature and their limp crusts were shiny with residual oil.  Maybe the fryer temp needs to be ratcheted up.  Three out of six were left untouched and, despite the constant and generic displays of concern by the ubiquitous wait staff, no one asked why.

UD really enjoyed his Spiced Mahi Fish Tacos with ancho aioli, salsa and jicama slaw.  Their sidecar of cinnamon spiced sweet potato waffle fries were decadent, candy-like and addictive.  Nothing to bitch about here.

My Grilled Tandoori Chicken Salad (with napa cabbage, mango, pineapple, red onion and honey curry dressing) had potential but ultimately failed to thrill.  I liked the overall flavor profile of sweet/spicy/heat, but the chicken was bone dry and there wasn't enough of the salad carrier to balance the weightiness of the protein.

I think improvement is likely here as RumFish gets its "sea legs" over time, but there will always be better places on the beach for great seafood. That said, I smell the makings of a tourist destination and will probably not return.

Rumfish 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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