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Monday, February 21, 2011 @ 07:02 AM

088As I mentioned recently, our trip to Orlando last October was truly a whirlwind for many reasons, but most of all because of the variety of eateries we visited.  In addition to a our visit to the world of Disney, we had planned to head down overnight to Ft. Lauderdale to visit our friend Aaron who now lives there.  And leave it to us to have a meal option picked out for while we were there too! Smile

Well, being in Florida and especially Ft. Lauderdale, you know you are in an area where truly fresh seafood is available; and although I know you can get fresh seafood all around the country, I don’t think we now live in one of those places.  Let’s just say that living in Indiana doesn’t scream “yummy seafood” all year round.  That being said, Adam and I usually like to take advantage of the fresh factor when we travel to a place that we know will have it.

Now I am not a seafood die-hard by any means.  I like certain things, but I am often wary to venture too far out of my comfort zone when it comes to fishy things.  However, when we saw this next spot on Food Network’s “Diner’s, Drive-ins, and Dives,” it looked like a seafood spot I couldn’t pass up…


Lucky for us, Aaron is well aware of our addiction to visit these pop cultery sorts of places, so he was perfectly willing to tag along and direct our way to The Whale’s Rib in Deerfield Beach.  Rather nice of him, considering we were all “struggling” quite a bit that mid-morning as a consequence of some late night “catching up” the day and night before.  Nonetheless, we set out from Ft. Lauderdale to Deerfield Beach in our recovering state, and although my stomach was a little on the queasy side, that fried dolphin sandwich we had seen featured in the video still sounded REALLY tasty.




Located near the beach on a cute side street in Deerfield Beach, The Whale’s Rib has been serving up seafood favorites to it’s locals for years.  Known for their no nonsense attitude from its service to décor, the demeanor of this place feels very relaxed when you walk in.  Kitschy and beach accessories line the walls of this rather narrow restaurant.  To be honest, it really has the feeling of a boat galley, which seems appropriate given that it is a beachy seafood joint.




We managed to miss the crowds, since we were dining a bit before the lunch hour on a weekday, which I was glad about seeing as I can only imagine how hard it is to get a table at this famous spot when it gets hopping around lunch.  Our waitress quickly took our drink orders and funnily enough they are served in mini pitchers, which definitely adds a fun feel.  We quickly perused the menus, however Adam and I both knew we would be ordering the fried dolphin sandwich we had seen from TV (he also started with a cup of their turtle soup…one of his favorites).  Aaron opted to get the conch fritters, which also sounded tasty.  The food was quick…just like the the patience of our waitress…, but that just seemed to be the general attitude of the place…like I said, no nonsense, definitely a local joint.

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Doesn’t that sandwich look amazing?  Well…, that’s about where the “amazing” stops.  It was quite a mouthful, which I think you’ll notice from the picture above.  Filled with a large fried “dolphin” filet, melted cheese, and their red cabbage slaw, it is quite daunting when it arrives.  Unfortunately, beyond it’s size, it’s not very exciting.  Maybe it was how crappy I was feeling, but I think I was imagining more of a bold flavor from that combination, and that is what I REALLY wanted it to be, especially considering how I was feeling.  Instead, it fell very flat.  The fish portion was just not seasoned very well, if at all, so it really just tasted fried…overall no real flavor.  The cheese and slaw were a nice accompaniment, yet with not much flavor themselves, this sandwich was just overall very blah.  What was more disappointing was for how mouth watering it looked, it didn’t deliver…not living up to the taste I was “looking” at.

We also tried one of Aaron’s conch fritters and I have had WAY better.  In fact, I’m even going as far to say I haven’t had much worse. Sad smile I guess in the end, the sad part is that for as cute and fun an establishment this was to visit, the food just flopped, and that’s the whole reason for the visit.  I really thought The Whale’s Rib was going to be one of those stand out places from our travels, but unfortunately it just didn’t wow us at all!

SIGNATURE DISH: Although they don’t have one certain dish that they claim to be known for (mostly seafood in general) their dolphin sandwich seems to the be at the top of the list.  With such a unique moniker it’s no wonder it has gained notoriety.  With a original blend of seafood and toppings it has truly become a crowd favorite.

TASTE: That dolphin sandwich is what we had our eye on and unfortunately that is what made our visit so disappointing.  It just didn’t even come close to expectations and was very low on the taste factor.  Also, in this case, I was extremely hungry and looking for a great dish to satisfy, but instead was left with something I just felt was ok and barely wanted to eat half of.  Not to say it was inedible, it just really didn’t taste like anything.

AMBIANCE: This is the only stand out positive of this place for me, and all that got it from getting no piggies.  I thought it was a really fun atmosphere and some place that would likely be great to grab a beer at on a Friday or Saturday night.  I love how they were unafraid to go with a theme that clearly works for them and it truly felt like a place you would eat at on a beach visit.

PRICE: While their prices weren’t terrible, they are a little pricier than your average sandwich since they are serving seafood.  This was hardly one of our most expensive meals, but I think I was more disappointed by the price because I didn’t feel like it was worth it given that we didn’t like the taste.  Also, I understand that seafood is typically more expensive…but when you’re 100 feet from the ocean…should be more affordable than a place in Chicago.

SERVICE: Although our waitress was a little “salty” and “short,” I guess it was in the best possible way.  The Rib is clearly a local joint and it would seem that locals likely come in, know what they want, and order.  She wasn’t rude, just quick and not overly chatty…if you know what I mean.  Just saying she just could have been a little more friendly.

Overall, the Whale’s Rib was a BIG let down.  Granted…it is very memorable…just for the wrong reason…bad food.  So unfortunately, I don’t’ think I’m being harsh when I say that The Whale’s Rib was not worth the hype; and I give them 1 ‘Little Piggy.’


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