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Restaurants & Bars 4

Shrimp & Co. in Ybor

sweet_polly | Dec 4, 201006:33 PM

Tried this place earlier this evening with low expectations and was delightfully surprised. It's an extremely casual spot featuring cuisine that's sort of a Puerto Rico-meets-Louisiana-meets Florida-Gulf-Coast fusion. We had a very nice starter (which, at $12.99 was the most expensive on the menu) comprised of of fried grouper nuggets (which were perfect...and I'm pretty sure the fish had never seen the inside of freezer); small cubes of very lightly breaded fried cheese; awesome little empanadas stuffed with tiny, spicy shrimp; and spicy plantain aranitas. There was sort of a sweet and sour cocktail sauce served on the side, which we ratcheted up a few notches with the hot sauce on the table.

I had a huge $11.99 basket of fresh, very lightly hand-breaded oysters which came with crispy hush puppies, a really interesting "Shrimp Slaw" (which was a creamy and spicy coleslaw interspersed with tiny shrimp) and awesome buttery and herbaceous/garlicky red-skinned potatoes.

The spousal unit had a similar basket (priced at $10.99) with fried shrimp...and they were lovely. Very large, and the breading was so light that it was almost non-existent. I hate it when fresh seafood is covered up in a thick crust of breading, so this was a real treat.

We finished with an above-average, very nicely presented, made in-house slab of key lime pie.

The only alcoholic drinks available were about a dozen bottled beers ($3.50 for imports/$2.50 for domestics) and few Gallo-esque house wine selections (available for $4.50 a glass). I thought the choices were fine for such casual dining, however...and I believe the restaurant is a BYOB, so you can bring better stuff if you'd like.

Not feeling terribly excited about this epicurean adventure at the onset, I took along a restaurant.com cert and I almost felt bad for using it when the check came. After all that food, two beers and 3 glasses of wine (plus automatically included 18% gratuity before discount) the final bill came to just under $50. Oh...and we got really good service, too.

I will be back there in a heartbeat for more fresh, simply prepared seafood in a casual setting...and I won't mind paying full price. What a great little hole in the wall for Ybor!

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