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RESTAURANT OF THE WEEK
A PERSONAL REVIEW OF RESTAURANTS AROUND THE WORLD

CRYSTAL RIVER SEAFOOD
ORANGE PARK, FLORIDA

We had heard good things about this place and gave it a try late on a Sunday afternoon.  We've been sampling several Jacksonville area restaurants in search of the best fried seafood platter.

We passed over appetizers although the list appeared to be a good one and placed our main order.  I ordered a seafood platter for one.  My wife ordered "Sam's Big Fish" or something like that.  When my wife questioned our waitress on whether to order a "fish sandwich" or "Sam's Big Fish," the waitress explained that the regular fish was Pollock while Sam's was from a deep, cold  water fish.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Pollock also a cold, deep water fish?  Hello!

I ordered cole slaw and grits for my sides.  In this part of the U.S., the cole slaw always comes first, almost like an appetizer.  Our waitress also brought some cheese and crackers for us.  The cheese appeared to be infused with some sort of fish, perhaps salmon.  It was salty in a good way and hit the spot.

My seafood platter arrived with all the usual suspects normally found on a Jacksonville area plate -- fish filets, oysters, clam strips, shrimp, scallops and a deviled crab.  The food was all good and pretty much on par with seafood platters we've had elsewhere in Northern Florida.  My wife's "Sam's Big Fish" was fried perfectly and pretty good.

This was a nice meal and again, on par with what you'd expect at most seafood chains in this part of Florida.

This outlet (and there are more than one) of Crystal River Seafood is located at 4453 Blanding Blvd.   Their phone number is (904) 771-8922.

Their web site is here.