Restaurant Review: Catch 27

catch27by Damon Noisette // photo by Agnes Lopez

Braving historic St. George Street in the heart of St. Augustine is an adventure on which every visitor to the Oldest City should embark. Dodging the throngs of tourists, trolleys and performers in pirate costumes down the main drag is surely enough to work up an appetite. If you turn towards the water on Hypolita Street, walk down a block to Charlotte Street and make a left, you’ll find Catch 27, a casual seafood restaurant specializing in dishes prepared with ingredients from Florida waters.

Open for lunch and dinner, Catch 27 is a local favorite that has settled into a new location around the corner from its former home on Hypolita, ceding its old space to sister restaurant Small Plates. Just inside Catch 27’s entrance sits an intimate dining room with copper-topped tables, a bar that accommodates roughly 30 guests and a brick courtyard out back with seven picnic tables for larger groups.

As a starter, Catch 27’s Florida ceviche ($6) is a solid choice but be warned: it takes some ingenuity to get the ceviche out of the mason jar it comes in. A little tilt and scoop with the fried plantains is a good method for extracting the citrus-marinated shrimp and fish.

catch272The crispy fried fingerling potatoes ($8) are a lot less challenging to get onto a fork, and come paired with three superb dipping sauces: a Sriracha aioli, avocado green goddess and pimento cheese. And though they’re listed as an appetizer, the Cedar Key clams ($15) would make a nice light meal. The clams swim in a hearty and zesty pesto broth with bits of chorizo sausage and are served with two pieces of creamy, grilled cheese crostini.

For something handheld, the blackened fish tacos ($13) and crab cake sandwich ($13) fit the bill. The crab cake sandwich is a heap on a bun. A blue crab cake sits under a fried green tomato and pimento cheese, with the option to add bacon ($1) and a fried egg ($1.50). Why not? A choice of sides includes the usual salads and chips, but the seafood chowder would be an excellent selection.

catch271Catch 27’s take on a Southern classic, shrimp and grits ($23), takes a turn for the spicy. The shrimp are lightly blackened and the grits are stacks of seared cheddar and bacon grit cakes, all bathed in a cream sauce.

The desserts are made from scratch and change frequently, so get the Key lime pie ($6) if you can. Then again, if nothing on the dessert menu strikes you, there’s always The Hyppo, a popular ice pop spot a couple of doors down specializing in a perfect remedy to a hot day.

Eat like a local Catch 27 sources seafood caught in Florida waters and delivered fresh to the restaurant every day.

Pop a cork Diners can bring a bottle of wine to enjoy with their meals and there is no corkage fee for the first bottle. Additional bottle corkage is $5.

Find a spot Parking in St. Augustine can be a challenge, so try your luck at the public lots on Charlotte and Hypolita streets.

Catch 27 40 Charlotte Street, St. Augustine; 904-217-3542,