Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Oh So Casual Clam Visit

Busy day of shopping and grumbling tummies led the hubby and me to a quick stop at the Casual Clam restaurant. It was a lovely midafternoon stop and the weather was fine so we sat outside.
There was a lively crowd of regulars gathered at the bar enjoying their beer and friendship. It was a pleasant sight to see. We were swiftly served our beer and ordered a bowl each of clam chowder and spicy gumbo. The waitress was quick to point out that the gumbo is very spicy and "could I handle it?" Oh, yes, that is the whole reason for our visit. My gumbo fixation.Casual Clam on Urbanspoon
Had to fight for a taste of the creamy bowl of clam chowder. The Mister was shoveling it in so fast. My taste was a little bit floury in my opinion, but it did not stop him from enjoying his bowl.
My initial taste of my beloved spicy seafood gumbo assaulted me with a heavy dose of salt. Then the heat began to creep and I got the flavor that I love so much. It was a nice bowl of heat and sweet shrimp and crab.
Instead of moving on to an entree, we decided to share a dozen of oysters on the half shell, after all, we still had more errands to run. The oysters were icy cold, briny, and plump. The experience was not pleasant however because they were so poorly shucked. There were large shards of shell hidden as shrapnel under the oyster. It was fraught with danger. Hubby was spitting out bits of shell with each oyster. We had to eat a few extra crackers to coat our throats in case we ingested yet another piece of shell. I wish that the oyster shucker had taken more care in our dozen and not created such a hazardous eating experience. They aren't kidding with the eat at your own risk warning printed on the back of the menu.
Casual Clam on Urbanspoon We have previously enjoyed full dinners, from chowder to dessert at the Casual Clam. We have taken our out-of-town guests to the establishment to have a good seafood supper at a very economical price. I won't let this unfortunate oyster issue color my opinion of the Casual Clam. I will be back when I can't resist the lure of the spicy seafood gumbo and a plate full of crispy plump fried clams with onion rings.

2 comments:

  1. It is a sad thing indeed that a properly shucked oyster on the half shell is a rarity in the Tampa area. We have seen them mangled beyond recognition, to being shucked hours ago and pawned off as fresh with that glaze on top. Quite off-putting is the shucker who washes the oyster off in a bucket of gray icky water and plops them back on the shell.

    I have also learned to ask if the oysters are those tasteless pasteurized hummers.

    My bride accuses me of being an oyster snob. By golly, I am and then some - and proud of it! That's what comes from growing up around Apalachicola I guess.

    The closest place to Tampa that I've found for good oyster shuckin' is Outz II up around St. Marks. They have got an oyster shuckin' woman who can shuck oysters better'n any man can.

    Hope you are doing well,

    Jon

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  2. Thank you for the recommendation! I'd be a snob if we could actually taste a good oyster! Island Seafood (Central Avenue) had some stunners from Cedar Key last year, but alas, they have closed. Tiny oysters but so briny fresh, it brought tears to my eye.

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