Since becoming a pescatarian, my mouth waters at the thought of a well cooked seafood meal at a restaurant as I tend to keep a more vegetarian diet when cooking at home. I had heard of a famous yet inconspicuous seafood restaurant here in town for years but never went. When a friend invited me to a play performed nearby, dinner before at Jubilee Seafood seemed perfect.
If there is one thing I have learned from living in Montgomery, it is that things are not always what they seem. If anything, it would be safe to assume most things in this city are at best deceptive. By now I have become used to this, especially when it comes to trying a new restaurant.
I must be honest, part of the reason why I had not visited Jubilee before was because of the way it looked from the outside. Located in the parking lot behind a busy commercial street in the Cloverdale neighborhood, the wood panel building adorned by a neon sign does not scream upscale dining. Half the time I would pass by, it looked like the place was abandoned. I was very skeptical as to what mind blowing culinary creations I could possibly find at Jubilee Seafood.
After hearing numerous friends and acquaintances rave about the food, I decided to do some research. I had been warned not to expect much as far as ambiance or décor but that the food alone was worth the visit.
After reading a number of mixed reviews ranging from awful to best seafood in Montgomery, I armed myself with an open mind and low expectations and headed to dinner.
Whenever I go to a new restaurant, I like to sit at the bar. The service is usually faster and you get an up close look at how the place operates. We were greeted by Scott, Jubilee’s bartender for the past 20 years. He was very nice and even showed me where the hook under the bar was to hang my purse on. He was also pretty verbal about how he needed more glasses to fill drink orders and berated the waitresses for not bringing them back to him fast enough. Not particularly professional to some; charming behind the scenes chatter to others. Poh-tay-to, Po-tah- to.
Since this was a belated birthday celebration, we spared no expense and decided to start with a dozen oysters on the shell. The oysters were delicious although served on a brown, worn out cafeteria tray. I would have preferred something a bit more sanitary but as mentioned, things here in Montgomery are not always what you would expect.
For our main courses, we ordered sesame crusted Tuna with soy-wasabi sauce and the flounder with a lemon, caper, and butter sauce. While both were delicious, the soy wasabi sauce tasted more like the brown gravy you would expect poured over a pork chop and a side of potatoes. The sides were, as they always are: Cole slaw and wild rice; not very creative, but tasty. The salad that we decided to split was surprisingly creative; a refreshing version the classic house salad, enhanced by feta cheese, watermelon and a mint vinaigrette.
Dessert (Key lime pie and chocolate cheesecake) were good, but nothing spectacular. They are however reasonably priced, which is more than I can say for the other items on the menu.
Expect to spend a minimum of $20 on any entrée here. For that price, I expect table cloths, some ambiance and perhaps, dare I say: a plate for my oysters.
The Jubilee Seafood Company is obviously doing something right. Despite the décor being a half step up from shabby diner, the much to bright lighting, and the unimaginative side dishes, the place was packed the entire time we were there. If you are in the area, pay Jubilee a visit. Sit at the bar, order some oysters and watch the who’s who of the Gump brush elbows with the locals over dinner.