Florida seafood St. Augustine Meehan's

Road Food: Seafood at an unexpected place in St. Augustine

In the Spanish Quarter, Meehan’s Irish Pub & Seafood House has seafood a-plenty.

Can this Meehan’s seafood tower be my patronus? Photo byCathy Salustri

When I was invited to eat at Meehan’s Irish Pub & Seafood House, my first thought was that I didn’t want to go anywhere near the Spanish Quarter in St. Augustine. My second thought was,”Seafood at an Irish Pub? Really?”

Yep, really.

Unlike many so-called shepherd’s pies, this one has lamb in it as well as a little beef. Photo by Cathy Salustri.

The Irish family who owns this restaurant — and boy are they Irish — don’t confine themselves to shepherd’s pie (which is actually made with lamb and beef, making it one of the few shepherd’s pies that aren’t actually cottage pie) or corned beef and cabbage. Take a look at that seafood tower above. Yes, we ate everything but the ice, and, yes, it tasted amazing.

First, though, we sampled oysters. I’m a fan of raw oysters with horseradish, lemon and cocktail sauce, no cracker, but I kept an open mind with the Meehan’s preparations: oysters Meehan (roasted, topped with butter and parmesan), oysters pico (raw, pico de gallo and olive oil), oysters Johnny (baked, with shrimp/mushroom cream), and oysters Florentine (raw, fennel, spinach cream and olive oil).

Well, what’s an Irish pub without some whiskey? Photo by Cathy Salustri.

I have one complaint. While I loved the toppings, I missed the taste of the oysters, which each topping buried. However, I also understand that the majority of people — especially tourists — may not welcome the unassisted taste of raw oysters. I wouldn’t order it, but I would recommend it to my less-avowed, sort-of-oyster-loving friends.

Our large seafood tower, showcasing an abundance of unfettered offerings from the sea, more than made up for the quibble. Although I tend to wash down oysters with beer, Irish whiskey convinced me to try something different.

We spent about two hours looking out over the water from the upper deck of Meehan’s. Technically in the Spanish Quarter, we felt miles away from all the “touristy” things. Watching sailboats moored in the bay as the sun sank and the moon rose allowed our sublime meal to be a sublime experience.

Our spread of oysters. Photo by Cathy Salustri.

Dessert (really, we were full by this point, yet once we saw it, we couldn’t not eat some) came next in the form of a tasty trio: crustless key lime pie, chocolate mousse and bread pudding.

Walking back to Casa de Suenos, we were stuffed, but not so stuffed that we resisted the pecan bar waiting in our room.

Maybe, you know, just a bite.

This article originally appeared in Creative Loafing. Read the accompanying Road Trip about St. Augustine and how she found Minorcan clam chowder.