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Thursday, May 10th, 2012
Dining Reviews

Poppy’s Crazy Lobster Revisited - Creative and Tasty New Menu Items

Poppy’s Crazy Lobster

56 Harbor Blvd.

HarborWalk Village, Destin

(850) 424-6744

Hours: Open Daily at 11 a.m.

Reservations: Not Necessary

Children’s Menu: Yes

Dress: Casual

We reviewed Poppy’s Crazy Lobster a few years back, and in the interim the kitchen has changed the menu. Some of the signature items remain (the boiled seafood buckets, for example), but there are plenty of new items and some recipe changes. My family and I ate at Poppy’s Crazy Lobster on a recent weekend for lunch (the menu is the same all day). We had a beautiful day. My wife, the Tiny Diner and I got a table inside, though there are several outside dining areas, with views of the harbor.

Crazy Lobster is a one-story place, on a slightly elevated deck, with a bar/lounge that could double as a dining room, another dining room for larger parties, and a back porch for outside eating. The tables and chairs are simple, sturdy and plentiful, and there are also booths. The walls are decorated with posters and photos, all with a nautical theme. I couldn’t count all the TV sets placed on the walls, but they were kept at a reasonable volume level.

While beef and pork are still her proteins of choice, TD has been developing her taste for seafood. She has yet to acquire a taste for crab and hasn’t tried oysters (I usually order them raw), but she loves shrimp and assorted fish. The portions are large enough to feed a little one off a grownup’s plate, but their children’s menu goes beyond the usual kid fare, including shrimp, crab and even lobster. You can color on it, too. The menu, that is, not the lobster.

Crazy Lobster’s menu offers starters, raw, grilled or roasted oysters, soups and salads, sandwiches, fried seafood, Cajun boiled seafood platters or buckets (the latter available for one or two), Gulf seafood specialties, beef and pasta entrees, and desserts. There’s a full bar.

We ordered a starter of crab cakes to share. The TD expressed indifference—she was coloring—so my wife and I had them to ourselves. Lucky us. Two crab cakes, nicely seasoned and crunchy on the outside, sat atop a mound of “coastal slaw,” which was one of the best salads I have tasted around here. The greens were sliced paper-thin, and the slaw was dressed with a blend of cilantro oil and sweet chili lime sauce. Every bite made me want more, and the spicy/tangy dressing cut perfectly through the richness of the crab cakes. Hint to kitchen: please make this in entree size.

Other starter options are spiced calamari with chipotle aioli/jerk remoulade, shrimp cocktail, fried pickles, onion straws, smoked fish dip, seafood fondue, and Chef Tyler’s tuna poke. There’s also a seafood gumbo and salads that could serve as starters or main courses.

I rarely pass up a chance to order oysters, and Crazy Lobster offers grilled ones, something you don’t see on every menu. The kitchen seemed proud of them, and I wanted to give them a chance to show more of their best, so I got a dozen grilled oysters as an entree, with a Cajun spice sauce (there’s also garlic, Italian or Greek sauce). My wife, who is Southern, stayed true to her roots and ordered Southern fried shrimp and catfish. The TD’s ears perked up. She’s Southern, too.

A dozen oysters may not seem like a full meal, but when they are grilled hot and served with a spicy and buttery sauce, with toasted bread for dipping it up out of the charred shells, it’s a meal. They were too hot to handle at first, which gave me a chance to taste my wife’s shrimp and catfish. Both were fried in a cornmeal batter, and were thoroughly crunchy and greaseless. My wife was more than happy to let me and TD help her with the fries.

Other main course choices are burgers, fish tacos, lobster salad roll, shrimp or oyster po’ boys, grilled fish sandwich, spicy chicken or pulled pork sandwich, and a shrimp BLT. There’s fried shrimp or oyster platters or combos, boiled seafood buckets of lobster, snow, king or Dungeness crab, combo buckets, shrimp and grits, Crab Island grouper (with watermelon and pineapple salsa), Norriego spiced tuna, blackened lobster, lobster Thermidor, lobster ravioli, lobster mac and cheese, fried lobster, filet or New York strip steaks, pork tenderloin, and chicken or shrimp pasta.

Crazy Lobster offers four desserts: bread pudding, key lime pie, triple chocolate brownie and ice cream sundae. I tried the bread pudding years ago, and it was very good, but we passed on dessert this time.

Poppy’s Crazy Lobster is a good-sized restaurant. It’s full of tables and lots of dining space. Summer is nearly here and I expect they are bracing for full houses. I hope they get them; it’s a thoughtful menu with some creative, and very tasty, dining options.