Fresh shrimp is the bait at Tampa’s Shrimp & Co.

Crawfish, shrimp and smoked sausage dunk in a spicy Louisiana Steam Pot

Crawfish, shrimp and smoked sausage dunk in a spicy Louisiana Steam Pot

Its sign says “Welcome to the Beach’’ but there’s not a wave to be seen.

Turkish-born Levent Cilek, Shrimp & Co. owner, does see water when he goes to the docks for some 250 pounds of shellfish to cook.

Cilek tossed pizzas and cooked Italian before opening his Seventh Avenue location, a time-weathered, storefront. Tattered menus, strings of white lights, a frozen drink machine, plastic tablecloths, and a thatched valence contribute to the island look.

“I feel the love here,’’ Levent says about his landlocked beach bar, situated diagonally across from the Columbia Restaurant in Tampa’s Ybor City. Customers park in Levent’s lot to eat there but he trusts they will be reeled in to his place the next time (when they notice the lines later in the evening.)

Shrimp’s menu has a dozen or so appetizers, more than two dozen entrees, plus sandwiches and burgers.

“I love New Orleans. I went to Marti Gras all the time and I can’t eat anything without hot sauce,’’ says Levent. His habanero hot sauce blend makes a noticeable addition to Cajun choices such as popcorn crawfish, oyster bayou, and oyster and shrimp po’ boys.

Start with a cup of homemade soup like clam chowder, shrimp bisque, spicy crab enchilada with angel hair pasta, or seafood gumbo, served on weekends. You-peel-‘em pink shrimp: seven, large, shellfish (all but one being headless) are boiled in an Old Bay seasoning.

Main dishes include fried crawfish, mahi mahi, chicken strips and clams. Other entrees include grilled, blackened, Caribbean mojo, or garlic butter-topped grouper, tilapia, catfish, scallops or salmon, along with Tornado (a fillet stuffed with shrimp scampi), soft shell crabs, pasta and ceviche.

Nothing is scrimpy about Shrimp & Co.’s  you-peel-‘em shrimp

Nothing is scrimpy about Shrimp & Co.’s you-peel-‘em shrimp

I recommend the Shrimp and Co. gulf shrimp, which brims with French fries, slaw and hush puppies. Louisiana Steam Pot: a dozen you-peel-‘em crawfish, eight Gulf shrimp, with Andouille sausage, red potatoes and corn-on-the-cob, has nice heat from its mojo boil and hot sauce. It’s a bit heavy-handed with the garlic butter. Mogofono elevates mashed plantains with bacon and shrimp.  Lightly fried, Caribbean Lobster po’ boy, made from the tail of the crustacean, works.

Cheesecake, strawberry short cake, Key lime pie and Gasparilla Madness — which pairs chocolate empanadas with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream — are the four sweets.

Service is OK, sometimes our waiter was distracted; other times efficient.

Shrimp & Co. Restaurant
2202 E. 7th Avenue
Tampa, FL;
813-374-0192.  No website
Hours: Mon. to Th., 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fri. and Sat., 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Serves beer and wine

+++++

Armani's Dining Room

Georgia foodies here for the GOP will look up Armani’s.

Georgia is on the A list: Some three dozen hotels were assigned its delegations last week for Tampa’s August GOP convention. Our Georgia neighbors are headed to the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay. Guests can eat at Oystercatcher’s or find out what Armani’s new Executive chef, Byron Gabel, has created. Not to miss: the 30 plus antipasto that includes Italian cheeses, cured meats, Balsamic glazed meatballs, fresh hearts of palm, Italian cheeses and cured meats. More on this story.

+++++

Cooks hope to shine: Alton Brown, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis are coaching the cooks who want to be the next Food Network star. Take a look at the finalists and pick  your front runner. You can vote a whopping 10 times per day. Check it out.

+++++

Eeeeew… Reading this story may make your blood boil and your stomach turn over.  ABC news explains why the Docks Bar and Grill on U.S. Highway 41 in Apollo Beach WAS closed because inspectors found SUCH filthy conditions. Read more in Dirty Dining

+++++

Make friends on the road: I’ve always worried about my friend Kathy who is on the road 80 percent of the month. Now she can use a new site to meet other lone female travelers to dine with:  “Invite For a Bite”

CNN says this virtual meeting place is the idea of  Cressida Howard, of Gloucestershire, England. More on the Invite for a Bite concept.

Similar Posts:

Share

Leave a Reply

 

 

 

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>