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Saturday, July 5, 2008

Lunch Report: J. Anthony's Seafood Cafe, 410 & Culebra...

My wife and I actually eat at a lot more places than what I can account for in lunch and dinner reports here. If we really enjoy a place, I think it is the neighborly thing to pass along the information to you - sort of helping a restaurant get more business when they deserve it and letting you know of a good place to eat.

The flip side is, I usually don't write anything about a place that most people already know about or as often is the case, some place that simply isn't any good. Everyone has different tastes, so why should I speak ill of a place that just doesn't do it for me, right?
But in the case of the newly opened J. Anthony's on Culebra at 410, I have been asked by several readers of this Blog if we have tried it yet. So this afternoon, my wife and I stopped in to give it a try. And why not? When have I ever been known to miss an opportunity for catfish?Make no mistake, this place must be popular. When we arrived just after 1PM, the place was packed. We actually got the only open table in the place when we sat down.J.Anthony's is housed in the old Barnacle's building, and from memory, it doesn't look as though they have changed anything but the sign out front. The process is simple; order, get a number, and find a seat - they bring the food to you in a little while.We ordered some onions rings that were brought out first. If you look at these, you can tell by the texture that they are the kind I do not like. There is just something about the texture that I don't like. But, they were hot and the taste was not bad. They wern't over cooked, and that helps.I ordered the catfish platter. It comes with four planks of catfish (some thin little catfish, perhaps from someone's home aquarium maybe), Cajun styled rice, fries, bread and a pepper. The catfish was certainly edible, but I'm guessing this is what you would get in some sort of institution on fish day. I left several small pieces that I could not identify. The rice was simply inedible. Aside from being dry, it appeared as though someone said as an afterthought, throw some spices in there to make it taste Cajun. But there was nothing Cajun about it. Just nasty. I offered a bite to my wife (on the off chance she might like it) and she nearly spit the forkful on the people at the next table.My wife ordered a Fish Burger (she wanted a fish sandwich, but the young lady taking our order corrected her twice, telling her it was a fish BURGER. Okay. Anyway, the fish BURGER came with fries and a pepper. The fries weren't bad, though I don't think either of us ate more than a few. The fish sandwich or BURGER if you will, was actually okay. It didn't look appetizing, but once doused with tarter sauce, it was pretty good.I think one of the popular items, and the reason so many people were there, was that they serve a family platter for a very reasonable price. It is loaded with fish.Even Dr. Phil made an appearance.

Look, I don't want to bad mouth the place just because we didn't like it and will never return. It happens. Some folks hate Bill Millers, I happen to love it. I know lots of people who think Rudy's is the cat's meow, and I'm more of a Grady's person. So I wouldn't want to discourage anyone from giving J. Anthony's Seafood a fair shake. But I would remind you that Sea Island is just down the road, and not further down Culebra is La PLaya. It's your call.

If you've tried J. Antohony's Seafood Cafe (either the new one or one of the older ones) I'd love to hear your report. Leave a comment and tell me about it.


Anonymous said...

Eva says:
I rarely eat fish.So keeping that in mind.I am very picky mine has to be nice and meaty and white and not smell like fish. All I can say is EEYUUCKY !!!! La Playa or Sea Island is for me.I almost opted to return mine and get a McFish from Mickey D's next door,hahaha

Also from SC said...

Hey neighbor. I was so upset when BB left. Take a family to ruin a great business. They could have sold it instead of having a temper tantrum. Anyway, those onion rings don't look like what I would like either. Know of great place for onion rings other than Tip Top (the best so far)? I'm saving your blog to visit again!

Dave said...

Know of great place for onion rings other than Tip Top (the best so far)?

I'd gladly eat the onion rings at La Playa any day (but Wednesday), and I also enjoy the stack of rings at Red Robin. If you need a good burger to go with the rings, don't forget Lords Kitchen.

Mario GNW said...

Okay so let me tell you of my experience. My girlfriend had always been a fan of BB and tonight we decided to give the new J Anthony a try for the first time. Looking at the menu we thought the prices seemed resonable and so we ordered a pretty heafty order. We were asked to pull forward. As I pulled up I looked in the window and noticed the drive thru worker standing near the bin of fries with her hand moving away from her mouth and chewing. I was uncertain but I could have sworn she had just placed a fry in her mouth. After watching her for a moment we confirmed she was just standing munching on fries out of the main bin of fries. We asked for the manager before the food was handed to us and told him he could keep the order and I explained why. He stood there in disbelief and stated he would handle the situation but never did he offer an apology. We drove off and decided to stick with what we knew and ordered Whataburger. Do not recommend eating there. Unsanitary!!!!

Dave said...

I suppose that sort of thing takes place more than we would like to realize, but geeze - right in the view of drive-thru customers!

Let's hope the hungry gal at least washed her hands first.

Anonymous said...

Co-Workers and I decided to give this a try last Friday because we LOVED Barnacle Bill's. This place was not impressive, nor was it worth taking PTO for an extra hour at lunch time for the drive. The fish was greasy and "fishy". I ordered the Seafood Platter with the shrimp, fish and fried oysters. They were all over cooked and my order didn't come out til my co-workers were almost done. The rice was edible, but, I agree, nothing cajun about it. I was not impressed and I would definately NOT return.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I had read on other boards that they had the BEST sweet tea. BOO! I definately do NOT agree with that.

Anonymous said...

Insane comments!! The food is delicious. I love spicy food and the rice I think is perfect. My favorite is the fish platter and fish soup. The shrimp soup is okay but I prefer the fish soup so much more. The fish soup is also spicy and comes with vegetables. I guess that's why they call it caldo pescado (I think). I love spicy flavorful food and this is perfect. I'm not too thrilled on the service though, drive thru girl horrible. And I am so glad there are more locations to choose from besides the first one I went to near hwy 90. Now there's the location at Culebra and 410 and now at Ingram mall, yeah. Now come closer to my side of the town near Sea World and 1604. Oh, also the crazy thing about the location at 410 and Culebra is that you can bring in your own beer. I never heard of a restaurant doing that. Crazy but true, it just gives the restaurant another reason to love it even more. So has anyone tried the Enchilada Warehouse, now that's another restaurant that has excellent food?

Cynthia said...

I actually like the onion rings at J Anthony's but the management will not let you substitute rings for fries! Even if I paid extra! To me if you have the ingredients why not please your customers especially if we are willing to pay more! Rudy's fish, Porky's Burgers and several other places let you sub at a slight extra cost.

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San Antonio, TX, United States
I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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