My brother-in-law was in town last night so we decided to go out for dinner. Since he was staying in north Pinellas, I suggested we try Rusty Bellies Waterfront Restaurant in Tarpon Springs.
Now I remember the place being reviewed a few weeks ago in the SP Times and getting a favorable nod. While I knew there would be lots of tourists around since the restaurant is located at the west end of the sponge docks, we got there early enough to miss the rush.
Walked in and were seated immediately. Decided to sit inside but could have sat outside on the deck if so desired. Waitress stopped by within two minutes to get our drink orders.
We started off with an order of fried calamari. This is one of my favorites if it is on the menu but am always apprehensive at someplace I have not been to before. My fears were misplaced. It was excellent! Light coating and fried perfectly. The squid was still very tender. My BIL agreed with me on this one.
For the entrees, I went with a fried shrimp dinner and ordered cole slaw and corn casserole as my two sides. My BIL ordered a combo plate with fried shrimp, scallops, and mullet. It came with fries and a choice of one side which he got steamed veggies. Both meals were definitely top-notch. The shrimp and scallops tasted like they were just caught. And the fried mullet was excellent also.
I know it has been asked on here before where you could get fried mullet. It is hard to find anymore. At least now I know where I can send someone for it.
Oh, and by the way, the waitress brought out a complimentary order of hush puppies that had just a slight amount of sweet balanced with the rest of the flavors and were quite good.
I will tell you one thing, if I did not live in St. Pete, I would visit this establishment more often. I strongly recommend it. And they take reservations which might be a good idea. The line was out the door not twenty minutes after we arrived at 530.
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