Quick, what’s your favorite shellfish (assuming you’re not allergic); shrimp, mussels, lobster, prawns, percebes or clams? The word shellfish alone can conjure up vastly different emotions in many people; some vile from a tryst with bad oysters, to ethereal in others who have explored their depths. I love all of the above, but the king in my eyes is the Royal Red shrimp; most people have never heard of them let alone been privy to tear at their sweet succulent “meat” between their teeth.
Most royal reds are harvested in the Gulf of Mexico and come from a 100 square mile area at the Dry Tortugas off of the southeast coast of Florida and a 700 square mile area south of Mobile, Alabama.
Of course it always helps if you’re actually consuming them at the beach…literally on the beach with waves crashing and the prospect of an incredible sunset on the horizon. Welcome to the Shrimp Shack in tiny Seaside, FL, where you can order up a wide selection of shellfish from the raw bar and have it delivered to the stand alone alfresco dining pavilion overlooking the emerald waters of the gulf…do I really need to say more?
After placing your order at the front of the house, in a narrow hall lined with the fresh catch on ice, you can retire to a screen porch attached to the main house, to a common area out front, or to the oceanfront pavilion…really, who the hell would stay on the porch?
Their menu also includes some non seafood items for those we must all put up with from time to time, but the shellfish are where it’s it. Their selection includes, fresh gulf shrimp, the aforementioned and swooned over reds, lobster, oysters, crab and other salty goodies from the sea. They also have beer and a good wine selection tailored for shellfish…don’t come looking for any fancy Bordeaux. Take a short walk through the sand, preferably barefoot, to the pavilion where you can take in an incredible view and enjoy the nice breeze while you await your feast!
My favorite time of the day to go is late afternoon/early evening, just before sunset; the colors are amazing and the setting cannot be beat. If you ever find yourself on the panhandle this is a must visit; hell I would make the trip just to go here.