I am new to this board and I thought I'd start with a review of a fairly recent addition to Clearwater's restaurant scene.
The restaurant is Clancys of New Orleans
2525 Gulf to Bay Blvd, Clearwater
Two things about Clancys will put you off; the unlikely name and concept (Irish restaurant switches to Creole cuisine?) and the storage unit-like building. But youll get over both as soon as you taste the food. I am only familiar with their lunch buffet (11 am - 2 pm, $8.95. Not sure if it's available Sundays.) I dont normally expect much from buffet dishes, and I thought Id have to come back for dinner to judge the place properly. I still definitely intend to go for dinner, but the lunch buffet was so impressive, I recommend it over any similarly priced lunch anywhere in the Bay.
We started with seafood gumbo. The gumbo was as thick and rich as good coffee, and packed with firm crawfish. It was spicy, but not hot - this was the case with most dishes. The buffet dishes rotate, and other times I've enjoyed their tomato bisque, chunky and comforting, and chicken & sausage gumbo, for which the chef is deservedly known and praised.
One of the finest items is the crab bread, an incredible treat worth at least $9 all by itself. Stuffed and topped with chunks of crab in melted cheese, this was not really bread; it was a crab meal served atop a roll. A friend of mine says that the crawfish pie is even better, but I've always managed to miss it at lunch.
Their jambalaya was as good as any Ive ever had, but the dirty rice was better; earthy and flavorful. Other items include excellent blackened mahi-mahi in creamy sauce, pork steak with mushrooms, and the very surprising crawfish pasta, which rivaled seafood Alfredo in most Italian restaurants. All the chicken dishes were good as well: chicken Rockefeller, chicken a la King, and campstyle chicken. The meat was tender in all of these.
Hows this for a buffet dish: venison chili. I had heard that Clancys served wild game for dinner, but for lunch? Impressive in concept AND taste. If they don't have it, help yourself to the red beans.
For dessert, I had predictably excellent fruit cobbler. They do either peach or blackberry. You may decide to go for the bread pudding in Jack Daniels sauce, equally delicious.
The restaurant is pleasantly decorated, staying away mercifully from kitschy New Orleans trinkets. A trumpet here, a gator head there; the bare, yellow walls were decorated with chef James Grahams numerous awards.