Loughman Lake Lodge Restaurant- Mims- 3 Stars
Basking on the beautiful beach overlooking Lake Loughman sits the Lodge of the same name. While technically in Brevard County, this is so far removed from civilization I half expected Burt Reynolds to step up and ask me if I would "drive two cars down to Aintry" so he and his pals can canoe down the river (rest easy steadfast supporter there is no nearby river). The Lodge grounds are groomed and well kept. The main building sits commandingly surveying the rest of the environs in what can only be described as a new rustic architectural style with real wood paneling, which gives the entire place a down-home welcoming feel. Ah, good ole Southern hospitality at its finest.
I was greeted at once by a charming young woman by the name of Racheal. Racheal was extremely personable, professional and welcoming. Saving me the necessity of ordering all over the menu to get a good idea of their fares, I ordered two of their "samplers," the Loughman Sampler consisting of Crispy Pickle Chips, Mozzarella Sticks, Chicken Tenders and Hush Puppies as well as their Swamp Sampler (can it get any more Southern than that?) which included Fried Catfish, Frog legs, Gator Bites and Coleslaw. I also asked Racheal for my pre-requisite freshly brewed unsweetened tea in order to really get a feel for the Southern charm this place had to offer.
First up was the Loughman Sampler. Whoever named the Crispy Pickle Chips had obviously not tasted them beforehand or they would have gone with the more aptly put, "Salty Bites of Love." These little slices of fried salty goodness were amazing and worth the trip to the Boonies all by themselves. After such an auspicious beginning, I was anticipating the next bite of deliciousness when, instead, I bit into pre-breaded, pre-frozen junk aka Mozzarella Sticks. Not to be outdone, the Chicken Tenders were of the same ilk as the Cheese Sticks; pure frozen junk. I was severely disappointed after the Salty Bites of Love, that it was with great trepidation that I reached for a Hush Puppy. Much to my surprise and taste bud enjoyment, the Hush Puppies were homemade and what one expects in a Southern staple such as this. They were fried to a golden brown and perfectly tender on the inside.
After polishing off the eponymously named Sampler, I directed my palate towards the fantastically monikered Swamp Sampler. I decided to go right for the heart of this Southern meal and dove into the Catfish. To my delight, it was farm fresh and had a pleasant kick to the breading. However, as with the previous sampler, it was all downhill from there. The Frog legs were downright disgusting to the point of being almost inedible. The meat had the texture of a wet hunk of leather while the breading lacked the punch found in the Catfish coating. The Gator was almost as chewy as the Frog Legs but, was nicely seasoned and with a few gulps of unsweetened tea, went down easily enough. The side of Slaw was fresh, made in-house and perfectly seasoned.
Dining at Loughman Lake Lodge, as one can see, I found to be a mixed bag of good and bad. If one can stick to the good and avoid the bad I am sure your meal will be very enjoyable. Besides, it really is a fun place to eat.
The Big Boy says, "For a fun place to eat with little Salty Bites o' Love before that long river journey down to Aintry, pay them a visit." #iamthebigboy #bigboydiningout