Old Florida Fish Camp and Seafood Shack just opened, but it’s really just Crazy Fish in disguise. The seafood spot has been re-invented, but will the new name, new interior and new menu spell success for this sometimes-troubled restaurant?
The interior has been brightened up with a white paint job and a beautiful new bar. Brown leather chairs in a cozy waiting nook definitely look more upscale than the previous cluttered look. Colorful paintings line the walls. The deck has polished wooden tables along the railing to take advantage of the great views, and new, bright red umbrellas shield diners from the sun. The owner stopped by our table to see how everything was going with our dinner. I asked him if he was the owner of Crazy Fish as well, and he confirmed that he was. He expressed that he had tried to respond to some previous customers’ comments when re-styling the restaurant. One change he mentioned was the way customers used to place their order up front, off a chalkboard menu, but now customers are seated and order from a menu with their waiter.
Our waiter was very solicitous. He made sure we knew about happy hour right away so that we could take advantage of it before it ended. The beer list has not been updated, and could use a boost from some of our local breweries–only a few beers, including Bud, Yuengling and Sweetwater on tap. Bottles of Mexican beer and domestics were also on the list, but not enough variety here. My man settled for a Sweetwater, and I am embarrassed to report that I ordered a froo-froo drink because of the happy hour deal. It was a pink sunset:a vodka, lemon and strawberry concoction that was easy to drink, but left me feeling pleasantly relaxed as I perused the menu. Something about ordering from a chalkboard makes you think that the fish you’re ordering might have been flopping around on a boat deck this morning. Something about a plastic menu makes you think that the fish you’re ordering probably came from Alaska last month. Personally, I liked the old way of ordering, but you can’t please everyone.
It seemed like there wasn’t much to choose from in the way of fish, especially considering this is a “fish camp.” I’m wondering now if our waiter forgot to tell us the fish specials in his rush to get our drinks. My husband and I both ordered shrimp instead. Around here, you can usually be assured that the shrimp will be fresh. He went with the fried, and I got the blackened. My shrimp were grilled to perfection and flavorful, covered with blackening spices. There were a decent number of them (about a dozen? I ate them so quickly, I forgot to count) for the 16 dollar price which also included a salad and two sides. I didn’t care for the breading on the fried shrimp that I snagged from my husband’s plate: too bready.
The vegetable of the day was a mysterious concoction of squash, carrots and cabbage, all boiled together. Strange. Another mystery: we both ordered it, but our servings looked different. Mine was all squash and carrots, with almost no cabbage, and his was all cabbage and carrots with a slice or two of squash placed on top. I would advise the chef to keep trying; this was not his best creation. The salads and fries were good, but pretty standard.
The deck is a great place to watch a sunset over the intracoastal. While we were there, a pod of dolphins swam by. The restaurant offers dolphin watching boat tours and air boat tours as well as kayak rentals.
As far as the re-style, I’m not sure that the owner’s work is done. There is still room for improvement here. Overall, a great location next to the intracoastal makes this a good place to enjoy a sunset with a basket of shrimp and a (domestic) beer in your hand.