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RESTAURANT OF THE WEEK
J.B.'S FISH CAMP
If you're heading to Canaveral National Seashore National Park, take a right on Pompano Street just before you arrive at the park. That will put you at this great, down home restaurant. Or if you're just in the area and not heading to the park, you still should plan to stop and enjoy some good, fresh Florida seafood here!
This is our kind of place. You're seated in wooden benches and your server immediately tears off a big sheet of butcher paper to serve as your table cloth! There's a roll of paper towels right on the table. Nothing fancy just rustic Florida dining at its best!
We checked out the interesting menu carefully and there were a ton of great options including all kinds of fish, oyster, and clam selections and, one of our all time favorites, live blue crabs. Normally we would have gone directly to a dozen or so boiled crabs but since we now live in Florida and have a great seafood market just down the street that carries them every day, we passed on them this time. Others were enjoying them and they looked great. Nice and big and a nice mix of "boys" and "girls." I was torn between steamed clams and their own, homemade clam chowder. I chose the chowder since I've been burned on small, rubbery clams all too often in this part of Florida. I'm sure the clams would have been fine and they were cheap at just $6.25 a dozen, or something like that.
The chowder came in a good sized plastic bowl and was quite good. It was "different" than many I've had around the country and around the world but definitely good! It wasn't really thick but the creamy broth was good and loaded with new potatoes, carrots, celery, and of course -- clams! It had a hint of a spice that was hard to figure out but I think it was tarragon. Whatever it was, it was good.
My wife decided not to go with an appetizer and we finally got around to placing our orders. I went with a fried seafood platter consisting of fish, oysters and clam strips. I had a choice of fries or Cajun rice for the side and I went with the rice. My wife ordered something called the Shipwreck Special. It was described on the menu as a casserole of shrimp, scallops and crab meat served over veggies and topped with a wine and cheese sauce.
My platter of fried seafood was excellent. The fish was a fresh piece of grouper, probably about a 4 1/2 ounce serving. It was paired with a ton of oysters. In fact it had more oysters than you would normally get if you just ordered fried oysters. They were succulent, fresh and delicious. The clam strips were clam strips but a cut above. The batter was better and the clams were bigger and not tiny little streaks that you get at many other places. My wife's Shipwreck Special was terrific! It was served in a tin pie shell. On the bottom, tons of fresh veggies including yellow squash, carrots and cauliflower. That was topped by a ton of shrimp, fresh blue crab meat, and scallops in a rich sauce. And all of that was topped by a rich, creamy, cheese sauce and tossed under the broiler for just a second to give it some color.
We can't wait to return here! And I'll try the clams this time! Oyster lovers will find this interesting -- and I, too, love 'em raw on the half shell. At J.B.'s when you order raw oysters, you shuck 'em yourself. They bring you a little rubber mat so you don't stab yourself. I've done it a thousand times and it hurts! And they provide you with an oyster shucking knife, too. I've never seen a restaurant do it this way. But for green horns, I'm sure they would shuck 'em for you -- wouldn't you think?
Folks, give this place a shot. If you enjoy truly rustic, down home Florida cracker dining with absolutely fresh seafood, you'll love J.B.'s.
They have a nice web site here. But if you use a Firefox Browser you may have trouble getting the menu to pop up.