Yesterday at eleven in the morning, my wife and I left our apartment with the sole purpose of eating lunch. We hadn’t eaten breakfast and personally I was very hungry so I was eager to get to our destination which at that point was unknown. The thing about my wife and I when it comes to decision making, neither of us are super quick to pull the trigger, especially so when it comes to choosing where to go eat. What usually winds up happening is I give her a few choices and she picks from those, but yesterday I decided where to go before we pulled out onto the road. The cajun catfish company is a place neither of us have been and was completely unfamiliar to either of us except for a picture of a plate I saw on Instagram, and it looked delicious. I asked the rarely helpful Siri to guide us there and after confirming the location she started to give directions to the restaurant which was thirty minutes away. My hunger couldn’t take it so I just told my wife to drive to Poplar, a long street through Memphis that has restaurants lining the road on both sides.
We arrived on Poplar and I knew what we would be having for lunch, gyros at Petra. We pulled into the parking lot and noticed that there were no cars in front of the restaurant. Apparently they’re not open on Sundays. I told her to turn right and we were headed down a side street when I noticed a busy shopping center. We would find something for lunch here. Across the parking lot, past the grocery store I saw the unmistakable logo for Larry’s Pizza, my all time favorite pizza place. I was thrilled. I had thought that Larry’s was only in Arkansas and had no idea that a franchise was here in Memphis. We drove towards it and again noticed the lack of cars surrounding it. It was out of business and the building was for lease, an utter tragedy. My craving for seafood came back and we decided that lunch at the Half Shell was the ideal solution so once again we were on our way.
Tragedy struck once again when we arrived at the Half Shell and couldn’t find a parking space. We were both so hungry at this point that we weren’t willing to wait for a table, not that there was anywhere to park anyway. I had forgotten about Joe’s Crab Shack until then, but once the idea came upon me we had our new destination and got back on the road. It was after 12:30 by the time we sat down in the depressing restaurant. Joe’s Crab Shack is the kind of place that one should only visit at night in the summer while vacationing in a coastal beach town. In the middle of a Sunday in Memphis, with the restaurant half full, it just seems sad, but we were here and we were going to eat. As we looked over the menu our waitress asked if there were any appetizers that we’d like to start with and I asked my wife if she would share some mussels, something she’d never tried before. She agreed and the mussels were ordered along with our entrees, shrimp and fish for me, and shrimp alfredo pasta for my wife.
The mussels arrived in a steaming pot, smelling deliciously of garlic and butter. My wife took one look at them and reneged on her offer to share them with me and my assurances that they tasted better than they looked fell on deaf ears. The truth is they didn’t taste so good, with an overpowering salty taste I didn’t even want to finish my half of the appetizer. The food arrived and the shrimp was good, but the fish had very little flavor. I don’t love fried fish but that’s how it was served and I only ate one piece. About halfway through the meal, seemingly every employee of the crab shack made their way to the middle of the restaurant where a loud woman yelled something and prompted the customers to yell something back in unison. I’m not a big fan of common response yelling, even less so while I’m trying to enjoy a meal, but everybody else seemed into it. I rolled my eyes and shifted my attention back to the food in front of me. A few seconds later all of the previously mentioned employees began singing happy birthday to someone on the other side of the restaurant. Idiots. I continued eating but by the time we asked for the check more than half of my food was still on the plate in front of me. I was ready to leave. As we left my wife said “at least the water was good”, which perfectly summed up our lunch at Joe’s Crab Shack. I highly doubt that I will be back.