Local shrimp, tender and sweet, is one of the joys of St. Augustine, Florida. These winter days shrimp boats parade along the horizon on the Atlantic Ocean. Some of the local restaurants are smart enough to serve this local fish in a variety of ways.
Salt Water Cowboys is one such restaurant. The building brings to mind a fishing shack; it settles among the salt marshes along the intercoastal waterway. Inside, Old Florida atmosphere abounds. This past week with some Cowboy Lemonade spiked with vodka and other good stuff to warm us up, we ate one of the most delicious shrimp dinners ever.
A very congenial waiter soon set before us the essentials of an Old Florida Shrimp Feast. We didn’t gaze at the beauty of the dishes long because everything was dive-right-into-it inviting. The aroma of the Oysters Dondanville smothered in garlic butter and vermouth flavored bread crumbs had us pushing aside the Cowboy Lemonade.
Soon the true comeback dish at Saltwater Cowboys arrived. As the waiter said, “If this salad ever left the menu there would probably be a riot in protest.” He placed before us a salad of crisp romaine on a cold plate topped with thin rings of red onion, apple slices, walnuts and raisins and draped in the most delicious creamy tangy dressing you will ever eat. (I have tried to reproduce it, but mine is never as good as Saltwater’s.)
The shrimp! Oh-My! The light crispy shrimp was perfectly prepared, butterflied, tender and tasty. My handsome companion ordered and enjoyed 3 Way Shrimp. Creamy Red Pepper Shrimp Sauce topped the crab-stuffed shrimp. The Barbequed Shrimp were broiled, and he had light, crispy fried shrimp, too. The trimmings were all delicious.
Helpful, friendly service is the norm here. Hot is hot and cold is cold. No rushing. At least this week, Salt Water Cowboys had it all. If Cracker Cooking means delicious. This is the place to find it. They serve chicken, fish, ribs, and other local good food. And, believe me, the shrimp is outrageously good!
Check their website: saltwatercowboys.com