If you’re looking for a romantic night out, this is not the place for you. If, however, you’re sick and tired of eating standard American-Chinese food, you might want to stop by. Hidden in a forgotten and neglected shopping center in St. Petersburg, FL lies ABC Seafood. In fact, if you didn’t know it was here, you’d probably drive past it.
ABC Seafood is no run of the mill Chinese restaurant. Here, they specialize in traditional Cantonese cuisine; they are most known for their seafood dishes.
Right next to the kitchen lies a large fish tank. This houses shrimp, crab, lobster, and a variety of fresh fish. Ordering seafood? Say hello to your dinner.
Additionally, the restaurant features several daily specials, which frequently include some sort of Chinese vegetable. Most recently, they were serving lotus root. Not really our thing, so we passed.
At ABC Seafood, most of the tables are round, big enough to seat 8-10 people, and have a lazy susan (a rotating tray) in the middle; this, along with unnecessarily large portions, lends itself well to sharing. And share we did.
The best dish of the evening was scallops, fresh mushrooms, and eggplant in a Szechuan-style sauce ($15.99).
This had a sweet-and-spicy thing going on. The scallops (which are naturally sweet) brightened the eggplant (which can sometimes be bitter). Mushrooms, onions, and carrots added flavor and texture, while the jalapeños added a bit of heat. You read that correctly: jalapeños. I was confused when I first saw one in the dish, but hey, it worked.
Oh, how I wish this were fewer calories! I mean, when eggplant is grilled or baked it’s fine, but I’d rather have it fried in oil and doused in Szechuan sauce. Wouldn’t you?
For those of you who don’t eat seafood or eggplant, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you’re missing out on such tasty food.
…like this next one: shrimp in lobster sauce ($13.99).
I just can’t imagine life without seafood. The shrimp were perfectly cooked. The sauce was sweet from the lobster. And I was a happy girl.
Next up: Chinese broccoli with chicken in garlic sauce ($9.99).
Chinese broccoli is thinner and longer than what you’re probably used to. The leaves at the top become soft like spinach, while the stems stay a bit crunchy. The chicken was cooked and seasoned well, and of course, it didn’t hurt that everything tasted like garlic and soy sauce. To be honest, I could have eaten an entire plate of the Chinese broccoli in that sauce and been perfectly happy.
As if that weren’t enough food, we also ordered fried rice ($7.99); this comes with chicken, pork, or veggies. Nothing fancy, just delicious (and importantly: not greasy) fried rice.
To round out the meal you’re served a complimentary dessert: fresh fruit (usually diced cantaloupe or honeydew) in coconut milk with tapioca. Not my favorite, but a very refreshing end to the meal.
I grew up eating a lot of Chinese food, but it was more of the “American” preparation. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I still crave that stuff, but hands down I prefer Cantonese-style cooking. The food is fresh, the flavors are bold, and if you’re looking for something to replace your standard “sweet and sour chicken,” this is the place for you.
2705 54th Ave N. #3
St. Petersburg, FL 33714