September 2, 2010

Chillin' at The Whale's Rib

This place brings back memories! When I was 22 (a long, long time ago) I helped open this raw bar and it was quite the youthful experience! The owners at the time, Ben, Dale and Jennifer, were great and the fun never stopped. For the next little while I learned how to shuck oysters like a pro, steam seafood to perfection, make "Whale Juice", purple coleslaw and lobster bisque. After that experience you'd think I'd be a better cook! Oh well! Anyway, it was a crazy, wild time in my life so this place holds some fond memories for me.
Nostalgia has drawn me back here to this beachside comfort food over the years but I admit to having been less than thrilled with their food the last two times I stopped in. Not that the tourists would notice because the food is still good, it just wasn't what it once was. This trip however I was more than thrilled to see that they've had a revival of sorts. Everything from the Whale Fries to the Key West sandwich to the steamers was just like it use to be - GREAT!  
It has tripled in size since I worked there and has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on the Food Network but it still has an intimate charm with its interior of rustic barn wood and nautical references. The usual array of local bar photos and license plates from travelers adorn the walls.  Rumor has it that Dale (one of the original owners) is still there and perhaps is the reason its back on track.
The Whale's Rib menu still has most of the same great simple fresh recipes and many of the same clientele still frequent.  So it's not surprising that I ran into my 87 year old cousin Molly and her son Roger just coming out as we were going in.  It is mighty popular with the natives!
The hardest part about being there is deciding which of my favorites to order on this visit; Ipswich clams, the Key West or The Whale sandwich, lobster bisque or rock shrimp.  Usually I just start with one of their awesome Bloody Mary's until I can make up my mind.  I have to admit it's much better being on this side of the bar.  So the next time you're on the southeast coast of Florida and in the mood for comfort food do it Florida style have comfort seafood at The Whale's Rib.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great little local hang. The best kind.