Since I'm from Louisiana and always on the search for great seafood, I was excited to discover TJ's Seafood Shack in Oviedo, Florida, about 30 minutes North of Orlando. They specialize in the freshest and finest seafood this side of The Gulf – anything from catfish and cod to lobster rolls and shrimp po-boys. The owners, Tim and Mary; a brother and sister pair, are very passionate about providing their customers with the very best and it shows in every dish they serve. Speaking of, here are some of the
mouth-watering items we were privileged to try.
We dove right in with an appetizer sampler consisting of moist hushpuppies, crisp onion petals dredged in homemade breading, irresistible sea salt sprinkled sweet potato fries, and freshly fried pickle coins. These are all served with TJ's homemade sauces – dill, creole, and cilantro. For a little piece of Heaven, make sure to dip the fried pickles into the dill sauce, you can thank me later.
Next we were served their smoked mahi mahi fish dip which is masterfully crafted from a few simple ingredients - perfectly (and I mean perfectly) smoked mahi, jalapenos, cream cheese and some secret
seasonings. You are going to want to slather this on everything! It is mind-blowingly good! It’s smoky and creamy, leaving you wanting an endless supply.
Just as I was thinking it couldn’t get any better, they brought out their Louisiana-style Yumbo Gumbo! It was full of shredded chicken, Andouille sausage and more of their secret spices. They served it with just the right rice to gumbo ratio, which is sometimes difficult to find. It also had just the right amount of heat which would make my grandma proud! I made sure not a drop was left behind!
I was beyond elated about our next dish - fried catfish! Catfish has such a great distinct flavor and TJ’s knocks it outta the park! They dredge theirs in cornmeal breading, fry until golden brown and serve them in bite size pieces. This is some of the best catfish I’ve had outside of Louisiana. Incredibly crunchy French fries and homemade tartar sauce come along side and definitely should not be overlooked!
One of my favorite sandwiches is a shrimp po-boy, so I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into TJ’s! It
arrived toasty warm; overflowing with deliciously fried jumbo shrimp drizzled in their yummy creole sauce. The bread was crusty on the outside and fluffy on the inside creating pillows, if you will, for the delightfully fresh crustaceans. The creole sauce added a new level of happiness, melding with the shrimp beautifully. Definitely one of best po-boy’s I’ve ever had!
Then arrived the dish I had been looking forward to for quite some time, their famous tilapia fish tacos covered in their equally as famous cilantro sauce! The tilapia can be ordered either blackened or fried, we opted for the former. They arrived and I immediately wanted to crawl inside their soft tortilla shells! The tilapia was flakey, wonderfully seasoned and nicely complemented by the cilantro sauce. Each taco was juicy and flavorful - it can get messy, but it’s totally worth it!
And last but certainly not least we tried their sautéed Maryland style crab cakes. Every bite was full of tender crab meat and the tasty remoulade sauce made for a perfect flavor combination.
I’ve also heard great things about their 100% Angus beef cheeseburger but since we were stuffed to the gills we decided to save that for our next visit, which I hope is very soon since I’m dreaming about their mahi dip right now.
Their dishes were all outstanding but it's the level of hospitality that comes along with them that puts TJ’s above all the rest. And they are actually already adding to the success of their shack. They recently acquired a food truck that serves some of the same great seafood, like their famous fish tacos and also new additions like their shrimp and grits that you can only get from the truck! Visit their website www.tjsseafoodshack.com for their locations and a schedule of events!
This was my first visit to TJ’s Seafood Shack and I am absolutely hooked! The food and the atmosphere make it impossible not to return!! I’ll see y’all there! Oh, and save me some catfish!