Steamed, fried seafood reasons to visit Rick's

COLLEEN SACHS | Daily News contributing writer

For years I was a fan of Rick’s Crab Trap and often visited the restaurant, when it was adjacent to the Brooks Bridge in Fort Walton Beach, for steamed and fried seafood.

I was sad to see that it was no longer there. Likewise, I was happy to find it had reopened in the Surfside condominium in Miramar Beach.

The food Some things about the new Rick’s (with new owners) are familiar. The best reasons to go are still the steamed and fried seafood items. Steamed oysters, mussels, shrimp and clams were all good. Snow crab was particularly good, and can be ordered in an all-you-can-eat option. Fried seafood options include fish (mahi and grouper) and shellfish (oysters, clams, deviled crab, shrimp and softshell crab). Fried shrimp were particularly good with a very thin crust highlighting tender shrimp. Seafood gumbo and corn and crab chowder were welcome starters. The chowder was creamy and had a generous amount of crab meat. The gumbo had plenty of seafood, and got a moderately spicy kick from pieces of sausage. And for a starter with local flavor, go early in the evening for the oyster special featuring raw and steamed oysters by the dozen. Other menu items were not as successful as the steamed and fried seafood. Hushpuppies and crab-filled jalapeno poppers were heavy and doughy while the bread on sandwiches was dry and tough. Desserts, which are not housemade, include chocolate pie, Key lime pie and tiramisu. Our order of tiramisu, however, was served frozen. Grilled seafood was best avoided. Grilled shrimp was not cooked completely. Blackened shrimp had the same issue. Grilled fish was cooked through, but had a strong smell and flavor. Rick’s is popular early in the evening for the various specials it offers. In addition to the oysters, there are homestyle early bird entrees such as meatloaf. Other specials run all evening, but still bring diners in early. Most popular seems to be the Wednesday special of all the shrimp you want for 50 cents each. Prime rib is served on Thursdays, and Friday brings all-you-can-eat fried flounder.

The atmosphere Rick’s location in Surfside is decidedly fancier than its former home. But it still provides a comfortable casual place to eat. Some tables in the main dining area provide a lovely view of the gulf. There are also plenty of tables in the large bar area.

The service Service was very friendly. On a slow evening our server was attentive and checked back often. When things were busier, we didn’t see our server after the meals were delivered until the end of the meal. Because there were some issues, a quick check a few minutes after serving the meal would have been welcome.

A final taste While there are some things about the new Rick’s Crab Trap that are familiar, the new version has some work to do to become the classic Florida seafood house it had been.

QuickBites Restaurant: Rick's Crab Trap Location: 1096 Scenic Gulf Drive, Miramar Beach Telephone: 269-1252 Hours: Every day, 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Handicap accessibility: good Children’s menu: yes Reservations: not accepted Price range: Appetizers, $7 - $13; Soups and Salads, $5 - $12; Entrees, $11 - $38. Payment: major credit cards