Tubby's Tank House in Thunderbolt is darned near an institution. Its popular sunset happy hour on Thursday sometimes swells to monumental proportions - and its venue for local bands has provided many upstarts with a viable stage.
Of all local eateries, Tubby's comes closest to presenting a true, comprehensive seafood menu. A variety of daily fresh catch is available, and staples like locally caught shrimp come fried, steamed and in special dishes.
If there is but one reason to visit Tubby's it would be the shrimp. I learned last year that the restaurant company to which Tubby's belongs has its own source for shrimp. Those shrimp are fresh in season, and during season are quick frozen to provide a consistent flavor, size and quality all year round.
Obviously, I ordered shrimp - the simple shrimp basket served with a choice of potatoes (I chose French fries). The shrimp were perfectly prepared: Crisp on the outside with a flavored, crunchy breading and sweet and tender on the inside. The shrimp had a nice snap when bitten and the portion of six pieces was a good size for this casual lunch served in a plastic basket.
What may perplex some diners is the price tag -- $12.95. In the scheme of things, given fresh shrimp prices, this is a very fair price. Still, with a beverage and a tip - it's a $20 lunch and that's daunting.
Several members of my group ordered a bargain priced lunch special, but our server came back to tell us that all the lunch specials were sold out. Since we arrived at 11:30, it's a fair bet that there weren't many lunch specials prepared.
The service for my large group was very good, with the only bobble being at the end when I asked for my check in order to get to an appointment. I had sought out the server so that we may handle the transaction quickly and quietly.
Instead, she instructed me to, "Sit down. I'm working on it." Alrighty then.
Draft beer service was down, which disappointed my guests - and the bottle list is very pedestrian. Adding a good craft beer by the bottle might be a great idea.
Count on consistency, high quality and a busy dining room - and definitely try the shrimp.
2909 River Dr., Thunderbolt/354-5903
So long ya big wiener
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