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RESTAURANT OF THE WEEK
BAR & GRILLE
If you ever find yourself in Ocala in Central Florida with an appetite for New Orleans style dining, you should give this place a shot. Our meal came at lunchtime, late, on a Sunday in mid-August.
The restaurant is located at the main town square and has a decidedly New Orleans feel to it including the music that plays in the background in the restrooms.
We gave the menu a quick glance and proceeded to order some seared, raw Ahi tuna for a starter. This was the only part of the meal that wasn't really good. It took more than 20 minutes for the tuna to arrive. Our waiter explained that there had been a mistake and that our tuna had been sent to the wrong table and that they were making us a new batch.
When the tuna arrived we were surprised by the small portion. It really wasn't enough to share and at $9, a little steep. The tuna was a little on the fishy side. I wouldn't suggest ordering it although we may have just gotten it on a bad day. Fish is hard to handle, especially in this hot Florida late summer heat. I'm not hinting that the fish had gone bad, not at all. It just didn't have that fresh, pristine taste that we've found elsewhere.
For my main course I got blackened Mahi Mahi with fresh veggies and a side salad. The salad was nice but nothing out of the ordinary. The rest was out of the ordinary! The fish was absolutely fresh, a nice 6 ounce portion, and came with absolutely fresh broccoli, yellow squash and shredded carrots. The fish was served with a rich, delicious lemon butter sauce that I evenly applied to the veggies and the fish. Excellent!
My wife ordered a shrimp and scallop combination in a tasso gravy and it was all served over a huge grits cake. Tasso, by the way, is a sausage found in Louisiana. The shrimp and scallops were excellent and the gravy wonderful. Since we were trying to adhere to a low carb diet, my wife only had a nibble of the grits cake and I had to have a taste, too, and it was great. Kind of like old fashioned cornmeal mush.
Overall we were pleased with our lunch here although at nearly $40, it was a little on the pricey side, especially for Ocala!
They have a number of branches scattered throughout Florida. Directions to the Ocala and other branches plus menus, etc., can be found at their web site here.