The Lobster Pot: 5157 Ocean Blvd, Sarasota, FL

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After spending a gorgeous afternoon kayaking at Siesta Key, Gabriel and I were hungry and thirsty and decided to use a coupon we had for The Lobster Pot. When we arrived, we were seated right away near the window and a waitress came over with menus. We asked for big glasses of cold water with lemon and some bread and sat back to look over the menus.

A waiter immediately brought over a basket of yummy looking cornbread and we continued to wait for our water. And waited. And waited. Finally, about 10 minutes later our waitress brought our waters over and we slurped them down like we’d been in the desert for a month. Phew. Hopefully this would not be indicative of the wait time for our meals.

We noticed that many of the items on the menu were listed as ‘market price’ and I did not hesitate to ask the waitress to run down the numbers for us. I’m glad I did, as some of the items were well into the $34 and up range and definitely curbed what I’d planned to order. We decided to start with the steamers appetizer. (market priced at $13.99) We also decided to share 2 entrees. I ordered the parmesan ranch salad topped with lobster and Gabriel ordered the Shore dinner (fried clam strips, broiled scallops/shrimp and fish- which are usually prepared with seasoned bread crumbs but we asked to go without them) and sides of garden veggies and mashed potatoes. Our food arrived quickly and we decided that the water delay was just a fluke. The cornbread was fresh, warm and tasty and we asked the basket to be cleared since we’d already emptied it.

The steamers arrived in a large pot- actually way too large for the relatively small number of clams inside. They were served with the traditional water bath and melted butter. We dug in right away and I was kind of disappointed. These were only ‘okay’. For the amount of money they cost, I would have expected them to taste much fresher than they did- and at least to be given a quantity that justified it. That said, since I didn’t really love them, I guess I didn’t really want more than were served anyway. Uh oh, so far this meal was not going very well.

Luckily, once the entrees arrived things turned around. My salad was large and beautiful, topped with a generous amount of shelled lobster and parmesan cheese. The parmesan ranch dressing on the side was excellent and turned out to be a great dip for the shrimp that came with Gabriel’s meal. The clam strips on Gabriel’s plate were crunchy, not greasy and turned out to be some of the best clam strips I’ve ever had. The broiled seafood was only so-so, as they lacked flavor. They were served in a very buttery sauce- that we’d asked them to go very light on and without seasoned bread crumbs by our request. I guess the flavor usually lives in those bread crumbs so maybe it was our fault for foregoing them- but even so, if it were really cooked right, I think the flavor should have remained. I think it was the fact that they were drowning in butter that took away from the freshness. The sides were also only so-so. As someone who usually finds mashed potatoes pretty hard to resist, these didn’t even really tempt me after the first bite. They were creamy and smooth- and I prefer chunks. The flavor was somewhat off-putting and I couldn’t identify the reason. The vegetables were fine, but nothing to write home about.

Judging from the plates on the next table over, the amount of crab legs for the price also seemed really small. I think overall, this restaurant is fine- but not great. It’s overpriced for what it is, and it’s in total tourist-trap land. I highly doubt we’ll be back…Although if I have a craving for clam strips I suppose there is a possibility.

My suggestion in general is don’t eat on Ocean Blvd. All of the restaurants are only decent, they are all over-priced and over-crowded. Yes, they are convenient if you are spending the day at the beach, but there are SO many better options if you are willing to drive 10 minutes away. Check out the great options on Gulf Gate or head downtown or to Hillview.

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