The initial story of Stinky's Fish Camp in Tallahassee really stunk. After opening a location off Mahan Dr. near the I-10 intersection in mid-Nov 2009, it burned to the ground 18 days later from an electrical fire. I was really excited to try the place out after hearing a lot of great chatter from people who enjoyed the Santa Rosa Beach location. But with the fire happening on December 2nd, and the holidays just around the corner, I had no delusions that I would get to try it anytime soon.
Posted by Tally Foodie Thursday, July 8, 2010
But lo and behold...Stinky's fought back against their fiery fate and re-opened in a temporary location, also on Mahan, across from Costco and Walmart, which, to me, is a much more convenient location. So, I met a friend there for dinner one night recently to check it out. I have to give anybody who takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin' huge props. And with Tallahassee's restaurant scene suffering from frequent closures - the fact that Stinky's has perservered speaks volumes.
Now, because it's a temporary location - I won't be too harsh on the interior, but there isn't much pizazz to speak of. There's a fairly large bar area with a few high-tops and bar stools and a separate dining area with tables and chairs of regular height and a few booths. The tables are covered in brown craft paper, which made me think either things were about to get messy, or they didn't want to invest in nicer tablecloths for the "in-between." All in all it makes you feel as though you're in a high school cafeteria/small town dive. But again, I'm letting them slide because I'm assuming they are spending all the money they have on the rebuild/refurb of their original location.
But I have to be honest, seeing an interior like this, usually has me running in the other direction. The only things keeping me firmly planted in my chair, were the rave reviews I had heard, and some liquid courage from a Pinot Grigio. We perused the menu, and after asking me if it was a "cop out" my friend ordered the Fried Shrimp Basket. I confessed to her that I was actually thinking about doing the same thing - because really, who can screw up fried shrimp? But, in an effort to give you guys more variety in my review, I ordered the Shrimp and Fettuccine Pasta with a Louisiana Hot Cream Sauce. They claimed to use only the freshest ingredients and local seafood, so we clinked our glasses and hoped for the best.
Honestly, we were pleasantly surprised. Everything we had heard about Stinky's was true. The food really does deliver! My pasta was spectacular. The shrimp were perfectly cooked and the sauce was a delectable blend of what tasted like a creamy vodka sauce with a slight spicy kick. It was smooth and rich and buttery and oh so savory. And although it was a pasta dish, attention was still paid to the presentation - with the shrimp tails fanned out at the edges of the bowl and a garnish of green onions and parmesan cheese on top. My friend's fried shrimp basket - while a fairly common offering - was also quite tasty. The breading on the shrimp was light and airy with a nice kick of spices included. And the tartar sauce provided a complimentary tang with a special recipe that we couldn't quite put our fingers on. The tartar is a bit more yellow than usual, so I wondered if they put some sort of dijon into the mix. But I can't be sure. The cole slaw was also very nice - creamy and sweet and also looked like it benefitted from some sort of honey mustard because we could see the mustard seeds. It just goes to show that sometimes you can't judge a book by it's (temporary) cover.
I can't wait for the permanent Stinky's Tallahassee location to re-open! I can only imagine what the place would be like in all of it's Fish Camp, quirky, seaside-esque glory. Hopefully an upgraded interior/exterior will give the place the boost it needs to head straight to the heights of the Tallahassee restaurant list!
Tally Foodie Rating:
Atmosphere - C (but again, it is temporary)
Taste - A
Presentation - B+
Service - A
Price - $$
Stinky's Fish Camp
3550 Mahan Drive
Tallahassee FL 32308