I’m going to come out and say it. For living so close to the Gulf we do lack quality places to sit outside, enjoy a beer as the sun sets and get some good, fresh seafood. It’s something that has bugged me for a while, so I was glad to hear of a new place that opened in Hernando beach about a month ago called Hernando Beach Tropical Grille. They promise a great Florida experience where you can sit outside either under the tiki hut or under the sun and have your beer and seafood without breaking the bank.
I chose my Wifes birthday as the time to experiment with the new place (which in hindsight could have been a problem) and left there 2 hours later glad that I did.
As we pulled up to the restaurant it was exactly as was described to me. It’s a tiki hut with a deck out back overlooking the water. It’s “no frills” and that’s just fine with me. I love those types of places because, if they are busy, you know the food is the reason behind it.
The menu is on a whiteboard that they bring table side to you. They have bottled beer and wine. So far so good. The vibe is great. It’s laid back, casual.
Before I even get into the food, let me say the staff are exceptional. They were over to our table INSTANTLY and they came back at least 12 times in the time we were there. It was one of the better customer service experiences I can remember in a long time.
We ordered the whole belly Ipswich clams for an appetizer on the advice of a guy at the next table. Then we had the fish tacos and lobster roll to split.
I love clams, I love them steamed, fried, with pasta. I just love them. These are among the best that I have had fried. If you haven’t had whole belly clams (and I hadn’t) then you are missing out. Don’t be put off by the look of them, they are meaty and DELICIOUS. Served with the homemade sauce they set the tone for the rest of the meal. I would go back for these alone.
The fish tacos were the same, delicious and full of flavor. These are another must try item although (very minor criticism) they could have just a little more cheese etc to fill them out a little. But don’t be fooled, these are good tacos and another item I will be thinking about this week as my stomach rumbles away.
Then the lobster roll….. The clue is in the name. It is a roll with lobster in it. Nothing else. No filler. Just delicious chunks of fresh lobster and a little mayo. It’s perfect, there is nothing to detract from the flavor of the lobster, no attempts to mask it. If you like lobster then this is the place to go get a lobster roll.
All things told, I can’t remember going to another place that had me so excited about going back there again so soon. No, it’s not fine dining, and they are still ironing out a few minor kinks. But the service and food really leave an impressions. It’s exactly what the beach area needs and I am sure they will be a great success. I certainly hope so….