Kevin Godbee · Jun 19, 2020 · 4 min read
Sea Dog Cantina far surpassed all of our expectations.
We were anticipating good food. What we got was phenomenal, bursting with flavor, divine inspirations of Mexican food heaven.
I love Mexican food, and could eat it every day. Lori, on the other hand could take it or leave it, and usually just humors me. She couldn't stop raving about these delectable comestibles. That's how good they are.
Important Note: Sea Dog refers to their food as "Mexican Inspired Cuisine", which is smart. That way, we don't have to have every self-proclaimed expert shrieking, "this isn't authentic!" We've many times before discussed why this is a useless word for describing an entire country's food, so I won't go into it here.
Chef Greg Picard, officially, Director of Food & Beverage Development & Operations, and his culinary team have achieved in each dish—that little something extra—that just makes you pause on the first bite in sheer awe of how amazing it tastes. They are masters of proper seasoning.
I know I'm gushing, but I have to, and I couldn't be more sincere.
Lori, Haley and I all went together to shoot photos and video, and to help each other eat as many things as we could.
Every single item was spectacular, and flawless, so at this point I'll lighten up on the adjectives, and just let you drool over the food. (There's still going to be some descriptions.)
Blackened Mahi Mahi Tostada on corn shells, black bean puree, pickled red onions, avocado lime cabbage, and chipotle aoli. They were plump, moist, and juicy. The house made cabbage slaw was bright, fresh, and crunchy. The hard, corn tortilla was crunchy and flavorful.
Wonderful flavors, and textures, and the cheese had something special about it.
Chicken Tinga Tacos - Shredded lettuce, charred tomato salsa, Oaxaca cheese blend and chipotle aioli.
Pork Carnitas Tacos - Jicama slaw, pickled red onion, avocado lime crema.
Barbacoa Beef - Jicama slaw, pickled red onion, avocado lime crema.
All of the tacos were great. Even the flour tortillas were outstanding. Who raves about flour tortillas? I do because they were hearty enough to still hold together after sitting there for 15-20 minutes before we ate them. How many times have you had your taco fall apart through the middle when the tortilla soaks through and disintegrates in the middle? They also do a quick grill on them which gives them added texture and flavor. The portions are hearty, and would make a filling lunch or dinner.
Chicken Poblano Quesadilla - Ancho chile broiled chicken thighs, charbroiled poblanos, Oaxaca cheese blend, green onion. For dipping - pico de gallo (not shown) and Fresno pepper crema. The best chicken quesadilla we ever had. We don't normally seek out quesadillas, or crave them ... until now.
Brisket Enchiladas with Spanish rice and charro beans. Delectable!
Baja Chicken Burrito - Spanish rice, charro beans, Oaxaca cheese blend. Again, grilling the tortilla is a nice added touch, as well as the Sea Dog homemade enchilada sauce.
Look at that sweet corn on there.
Chocolate Filled Churros coated in cinnamon sugar.
Double Chocolate Brownie w/traditional Mexican chocolate, cinnamon ice cream, Carmel sauce, and walnut brittle. This one was over the top amazing.
House Blood Orange Margarita - El Jimador Silver Tequila, Blood Orange, Cold pressed agave, fresh lime juice, sweet & sour.
Blueberry Margarita - Milagro Silver Tequila, Blueberry Reál, fresh lime juice, sweet & sour.
Spicy Mango Margarita - Habanero Tequila, cold pressed agave, fresh lime juice, mango reál, sweet & sour.
You get the spice of the habanero tequila, followed with the creamy sweetness of the mango.
Sea Dog Cantina's space is HUGE! That makes it easy for social distancing in this new, hopefully soon-to-be gone, pandemic era.
They have two pool tables, and a nice outdoor space, and the bar is a giant circle with half of it inside, and the other half outside.
If you like Mexican food, you'll love Sea Dog's version of it.
If you love Mexican food, you'll be ecstatic.
Sea Dog opens at 4 during the week, and at noon on Saturday and Sunday. (Closed Monday).
Get there pronto!
(Photos by Haley Haman)
Note on the title of this review: I recently became a Certified Food Judge for the World Food Championships. Judge #1541. They score on a 10-point scale, so I decided to use the new judging criteria I recently learned for the review of Sea Dog Cantina.
Another interesting note for the people that actually read everything - all 3 of you. The typical online rating system is 1-5 stars, which you'll see below, and on other sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor. The original, old-school, newspaper food critic rating system was (and still is for many) a 1-4 star rating system. (Check the Tampa Bay Times).
Elevated Mexican food in a relaxed, beautiful large indoor / outdoor space