Grub Scout: Seafood lovers could get hooked on Farragut's SOB

For those who enjoy a little wordplay with dinner, it's no accident that the initials for Shrimp Oysters and Beer are SOB. In fact, one of the new Farragut seafood eatery's appetizer samplers bears that moniker. But the fact remains that the restaurant's emphasis on shrimp, oysters and many other ocean-born treasures is no joke.

The Grub Spouse and I found SOB just off I-40 on Campbell Station Road, where Captain Ernie's used to be. This latest tenant has annexed the retail space next door, doubling its size from that of its predecessor. Seating is split between the new rooms, and a bar area is in the newer half. Both spaces are primarily blue in color scheme, and the decor and furnishings give SOB a coastal seafood-restaurant feel.

More than a dozen items occupy the appetizer section alone, including steamed mussels, a crawfish and crabmeat cake, and volcano avocado and shrimp. I wanted to try oysters as an appetizer, so I ordered a half-dozen of the seafood baked oysters from among a selection of five oyster dishes. The market rate that day was about $10 for six shells.

There is a handful of sandwiches (grouper, catfish, shrimp po' boy) as well as soups and salads, and we got to try one of the soups when the chef sent out two complimentary samplings of a yummy spicy shrimp blend that indeed set our palates ablaze.

House specials include shrimp ceviche, hot and cold molcajete bowls and Pacific Delight — five jumbo shrimp stuffed with smoked marlin and cream cheese and rolled in bacon. Main courses feature seafood items like shrimp and grits and whole tilapia as well as turfy entrees like steak and chicken.

The Spouse ordered one of the four seafood taco dishes, the shrimp tacos, stuffed with lightly breaded shrimp, lettuce, tomato and avocado sauce. I ordered the Linguine Del Mar from the main courses section. It offers sauteed clams, mussels, shrimp and calamari rings in al dente noodles and tomato sauce.

In general, I was impressed with the food. The Spouse's two flour tortillas were maxed out with smallish shrimp — indeed, not overly breaded — and veggie innards, and the presence of the avocado sauce was wonderful. The sides of black beans and rice were modest in size but enjoyable enough.

The linguine was likewise a very generous serving of pasta, and like the tacos, the seafood items were on the small side. But I still felt there were enough morsels to call it a good seafood-to-pasta ratio. Each of the four types of critters was distinctively noticeable in taste and texture, and I especially thought the clams were robust with ocean flavor. When I ordered, I had been concerned that the tomato sauce might be overwhelming, but it turned out that there was just enough for enhancement without overpowering the rest of the dish.

For dessert, we tried the only homemade dessert of SOB's three options, the Key lime pie. The consistency was thick like cheesecake, as opposed to lightly whipped, and the flavor was not as tart as many variations. The crust was thick and rich, and altogether it was a great choice, although the portion size wasn't as conducive to sharing as we would have hoped.

Our server was friendly and helpful, but he wasn't present in the dining room as frequently as he needed to be. However, we did receive a tableside greeting from the owner, which was a nice touch. But I also think that either bulking up some of the seafood portions or going easier on the pricing (our meal was $45) would have made for an even nicer one.

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Shrimp Oysters and Beer

Food: 4

Service: 3.5

Atmosphere: 3.5

Overall: 4

Address: 747 N. Campbell Station Rd.

Phone: 865-936-1943

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 11 a.m. to midnight Sundays

Beer service only

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Bottom Line: This new Farragut restaurant catch hauls in a diverse dining bounty for seafood-loving customers.

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