I was home for the holidays and I talked my parents into a trip to Chuck's, based on the things I'd read on this board. They've lived in the area for quite a while, but had never been there.
The experience was extremely disappointing, but because this was my first visit, I'll qualify my comments up front. It could have been an off-night (I would have no way of knowing unless I went multiple times) or perhaps the staff wasn't the usual because it was in between the holidays.
In any case, there were problems across the board. I'll try not to conflate problems with service and problems with food (as it is sometimes unfair to tie them too closely together) but each were sub-standard. Let me explain:
Overall, they were rather slow, which usually doesn't bother me, but it drives my father absolutely batty. They were slow and inconsistent, which is forgivable if the food is good (note the foreshadowing). But, when the entrees were finally served, the error that overshadowed the entire evening occurred.
For dinner, my father ordered three appetizers, one up front, and two to be served with the other entrees. When the waiter delivered the entrees, he put down only one plate, and told my father that the steamers he ordered were out. This was unbelievable: he had waited nearly 50 minutes after he ordered to find out--as we were served!--that they didn't have his food. We expressed disappointment at the waiter as we pointed out that it seemed slightly wrong that my father would be told that he had no dinner just as everyone else was served. My father ordered something else, waited fifteen awkward minutes as we ate our dinners, then it came.
We complained to the manager, who asked us directly what exactly we wanted him to do about it. We haggled a bit, but all he did was agree to pay for the replacement appetizer. The whole thing left a sour taste in our mouths. Speaking of which...
To appear moderately fair, I'll try to treat this separately. There were four of us, and we had a decent selection of food. When we sat down, we asked for the specials, figuring that something especially fresh might be heading our way. Sadly, they only had one special that night, and it was already sold out (at 7:00? Seemed a bit early, but alas). So we glanced through the menu, which really didn't seem that varied. But I was still optimistic as we ordered.
The only really outstanding dish was the conch chowder that my father enjoyed immensely. I had a taste of it... it was great. The conch fritters were doughy, moist, and flavorful. I liked them, but my father said those at Conchy Joes down in Jensen Beach were far superior.
Everything else was middling to below average. The obligatory pre-dinner salads were unimaginative, but we didn't care--we wanted seafood! Sadly, we were left wanting. The grilled blue fish that my wife ordered was easily the best dish, but I think this is a credit to the fish more than the preparation. The stuffed grouper that my mother and I shared was not very good at all, mostly dry and bland.
Sadly, the service was poor and the food was below average. I was sorely disappointed after all the positive words (mostly from flavrmeister, a usually reliable source) I read here. Again, I qualify everything I said by hoping that it was an off-night, but my mother asked around work, and Chuck's does not enjoy a decent reputation among her peers. Obviously, rather than go back, I'd give Chuck's Seafood a pass.
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