Well to start with, I am always very skeptical when a restaurant flaunts that they offer the "world's best" or "award winning" cuisine. In fact we almost didn't try this place but the young woman at our hotel said they had a really good fish sandwich and the other place she recommended was a much further walk on a very hot day so we took a chance and went in for lunch and it almost full. I was still not impressed when we first walked in because of an unpleasant odor, but then I took in consideration that this was a seafood restaurant and a fishy smell was not unexpected. After a few minutes it became less noticeable and I turned my attention to the menu. The menu had fairly standard offerings so there wss nothing to entice me away from my original quest for a good fried fish sandwich. My wife decided to try a cup of the highly acclaimed chowder and a grilled cheese sandwich. Our lunches were delivered quickly by a very pleasant and efficient server. I had to admit it all looked great but the proof was in the tasting and I was still leary of the award winning acclaim. One bite of my wife's chowder and I was ruined for life. It was AMAZING!! I don't have any idea of what they do differently but it really does live up to the hype. I wanted more but my wife was zealously defending her cup so I dug in to my fish sandwich which was almost as good. It was a huge flaky, white filet fried light and crispy and overlapped the bun by two inches on each side. It was served with a great tangy homemade tartar sauce and a slice of juice red ripe tomato. I opted for potato salad as my side and it was an interesting interpretation. It was savory rather than southern sweet and had nice chunks of juicy, sweet onion. The only problem was the potatoes were a little too al dente. They could have cooked a few minutes longer. Back to my wife's lunch, I caught her trying to use her grilled cheese sandwich to sop up the last drop of the chowder. While her sandwich was actually pretty good made with tangy cheese and Texas toast. However, she would have gladly traded it in for a bowl of the chowder. I really wasn't expecting everything to be as good as it was but I have to give Tony's a big thumbs up. We'll be back the next time we are in Cedar Key. Meanwhile, I was over the moon when I found out that my neighborhood Publix grocery store carries Tony's condensed chowder in cans. I can't wait to try it. If it is half as good as it was at the restaurant, it may still be some of the he best chowder you will ever have.
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