Stinky's Fish Camp - The Best Shrimp Ever

October 29, 2010 by admin

 “With a name like Stinky’s…it better be good,” reads the server’s t-shirt. And it is good - oh-my-God, stay-out-of-my-plate, best-fried-shrimp-I’ve-ever-tasted good.

Stinky’s Fish Camp & Wine Bar on Scenic 30A in Santa Rosa Beach is what it is and ain’t what it ain’t.

It is the restaurant of choice for locals and the inside joke of tourists who leave with “Peace. Love. Stinky’s.” t-shirts. It ain’t like anything you’ve ever had before.

The daily specials are chef creations using only fresh produce and local seafood. Everything at Stinky’s is made in-house, right down to the mayonnaise. 

Arrive early for dinner (5 p.m.) and have a drink at the bar, with ample choices of craft beers ($3 domestic, $4 imported) and wines, including a Thirty for Thirty Dollars red and white wines list.

Indulge in the daily specials. I elected for the yellow pepper soup for my appetizer—a sweet, creamy soup of baked and pan seared yellow peppers with pureed celery, carrots, and onions, served with crostinis for dipping.  Always on the menu, the fried shrimp appetizer ($9.99) is a must.

The most delectable shrimp—plump, butterflied, and fried in a batter mixture with the house seafood seasoning—they make a grand entrance on a bed of mixed greens and are gone in seconds. More succulent and flavorful than shrimp I’ve had at any other restaurant on the Emerald Coast, they alone are worth a trip to Stinky’s.

However, with only four served, I recommend the fried shrimp basket for lunch, five shrimp with fries for nearly the same price. Other appetizers include blue crab stuffed squash gratin, fried green tomato and creamy crawfish etouffe, crab cake remoulade, Unca Duke’s geaux jus BBQ shrimp and garlic crouton, fried brie with five pepper jelly, and fried oysters, shrimp, scallops, grouper squares or crab claws.

Moving to the main course, the blackened mahi-mahi, with rice, hummus, and yellow peppers ($29) is the culinary manifestation of the perfect bite, every bite. The creaminess of the hummus made a smooth base for the blackened mahi-mahi, the flavors and spices of which opened on the tongue and were cooled by white rice.  Generous portions make this a great dish for two, but save room for dessert.

Trust me, the best is yet to come. If you don’t feel like sharing, there is crawfish pie, short ribs and catfish meuniere, seafood platter, panne chicken and fettuccine, shrimp and fettuccine pasta with with Louisiana hot sauce cream and tomato, Stinky’s stew, pressed crab po’boy, boiled crab legs, smoky braised short ribs and stone ground grits, or the fresh fish of the day.

Told the peach cobbler is to die for, I had to try it. Served steaming hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, the peach cobbler is, well, perfect. Sinfully sweet, it’s as if the peaches got drunk at the wine bar and made love to sugar and vanilla. Masterfully conceived, Stinky’s peach cobbler would make any Southerner proud—ooey, gooey, and delicious enough to give you a tooth ache. However this (sweet) tooth ache can only be cured by Chef de Cuisine Jimbo Butler, and creations like blackberry pie or chocolate peanut butter pie.

Whether brunch, lunch, or dinner, I’ve yet to dine at Stinky’s when the meal wasn’t absolute perfection. It is the complete dining experience, from the casual atmosphere steps from the Gulf, a service-oriented staff, and imaginative menu options, Stinky’s is where it’s at.

Well Fed with Ashley Amason, by permission from the Defuniak Herald Beach Breeze

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