The Shrimp Dock, Alcoa
321 S. Calderwood St.
Critic's star breakdown
- Food: 4 stars (out of five)
- Service: 3
- Atmosphere: 3.5
- Overall: 3.5
I've been familiar with The Shrimp Dock for several years but had just never gotten around to checking out the food-service component of this small chain of local fresh-seafood markets. My procrastination came to an end when I decided to check out the newest location in Alcoa for a solo Grub lunch.
Of course, a good portion of the square footage of the Blount County Dock is devoted to refrigerated display cases filled with all kinds of raw, fresh seafood. The selection includes everything from salmon and lobster to shrimp and crab. You can take these goodies home to prepare your own feast, any of which can be enhanced by Shrimp Dock brand soups, dips, sauces, spreads and sides.
Or you can do what I did — bypass the lot and take a gander at the daily dine-in menu. The Alcoa shop's menu is similar to the one in place in Bearden. You can order lightly breaded popcorn shrimp, blackened or fried catfish, blackened or herb-crusted trout, crab cakes or fried oysters. These are served either on a roll as a classic po' boy or breadless, as part of a platter.
Each option comes with a choice of two made-from-scratch sides — jambalaya, cole slaw, french fries, hush puppies or potato salad.
I was dining alone, but I ordered two po' boys — one for me to eat on location and the other to transport to The Grub Spouse, who had to work during my scouting exhibition. For sides, I got two helpings of jambalaya and one each of hush puppies and potato salad.
This was my first time there, so I wasn't immediately familiar with the ordering protocol, such as where to order, what and how many sides were available, where the drink cups were, etc. Some of this info was displayed on the menu, but I had barely had time to process any of it before the worker behind the counter asked for my order. At times, she seemed almost put out at having to show me the ropes, so to speak.
The Shrimp Dock allocates a good portion of its interior space for table dining. Approximately 10 high-top tables are on the left side of the room, and there's one low table to accommodate handicapped patrons. I climbed up to a high-top perch and waited just a few minutes for my name and order to be called out.
Meals are served in Styrofoam containers, which, in my case, would come in quite handy. Opening the lid of my shrimp po' boy revealed a monstrous serving of little crusted shrimpies. They were stuffed into the soft, mayonnaise- and lettuce-enhanced roll and overflowing well into the container.
The shrimp, both alone and in the bread, were quite tasty, and I also liked the flavor of the rice-heavy but dryish jambalaya. The hush puppies were low on flavor and way too dry for my liking.
Later, tasting The Spouse's sandwich, I raved over the crab-licious taste of the tender crab cake po' boy, although The Spouse had had to cut and rearrange the square-shaped cake to get it to fit properly on the rectangular bun. I wasn't crazy about the firm potatoes and runny dressing that constituted the potato salad, but I acknowledge that there are many such recipes and that different folks like different variations on this side dish.
At $7.99 and $8.99 respectively, I felt that these hefty sandwiches and their accompanying two sides were at least a fair value, and for the sandwiches alone I would return to the Alcoa, Bearden or Farragut locations. In fact, I think it's very unlikely that you would hear any of these seafood creations singing, "I'm just a po' boy, nobody loves me."
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!