Tadpole Fish Camp (Greer)
Published Feb 17 2017
Hours of Operation: Th-Su 3:30P-9P
Location: 13455 Wade Hampton Blvd.
Menu items consumed: Seafood Platter, Water
So the story goes: I told my wife I had a new place to eat dinner (surprise, surprise). When she looked at the menu online she told me several times (with a much more subtle approach than usual) that it didn’t look like her kind of joint… upon arrival, BOY was she right! The name of the restaurant is pretty much the indicator of the feel: they serve fish and it’s like the cafeteria at a summer camp (complete with wood paneled walls and wooden booths that couldn’t hurt my butt more if the flagpole was protruding from it). It most definitely is the type of establishment that has that down-home, good ol’ Southern feel complete with me overhearing the servers speaking to her regulars like she just saw them at a family reunion pool party. However it is rather hard to believe someone could find the food (and, from our experience, service) worthy of a 2nd visit, let alone the number of visits generally required to have your server know your name.
As far as service is concerned it is never a good sign when you look across your table and ask the other person with you, “Do you go to a counter and order or is a server supposed to come?” It was at least 5 minutes for a greet (it felt closer to 8 according to my wife, though the time always seems longer when you’re not acknowledged at a restaurant…oh, and how she estimated a random number like 8 minutes also is highly questionable). Finally a server, the 1 that passed us anywhere from 3-5 times without so much as acknowledging our presence, starts her stellar greeting: “Are y’all ready to order or did you just want to start with drinks?” I almost laughed and cried (simultaneously) due to the atrocity that was this first impression. If I haven’t previously mentioned it I am a professional leader at a restaurant and take pride in my team supplying great service and being knowledgeable of the menu (and proving it by proactively offering items from it). Our server here didn’t even make an effort in these regards. After the server left our table we got our food within 12 minutes (that was very quick delivery, but a TERRIBLE start nonetheless).
The cleanliness of the restaurant was also quite fairly called into question as I watched a busser wipe the table “clean” while also leaving the floor full of paper and wholly disgusting. I also noticed as I grazed my hand across our table at one point that, ya know, my hand DIDN’T MOVE! Instead it was stuck like a fly in a honey trap. My wife even went to wipe the glossy lacquered wood table only to have her paper towel with which she was wiping GET STUCK! Yeah, it was gross. As for the food itself it was just VERY heavy and, of course, fully fried. My Seafood Combination included hush puppies (that were decent but had an awkward after-taste of lemon…NOT normal OR what I need from my hush puppies), 5 fried shrimp (that were good and accompanied by very good cocktail sauce, even if this sauce was in a FAR too small of container for the amount I preferred), 3 pieces of fried grouper (SUPER good, a time where the server did show decent menu acumen as this choice on the platter was what she suggested when prompted), coleslaw (surprisingly DELICIOUS, even if VERY simple in the ingredients), fried oysters (decent for fried oysters but I’m not generally a fan of these in general), deviled crab (tasting like something from a Chinese buffet), and baked potato (I didn’t even have room to attempt to eat this). Regardless of any and all of this, as is the usual, the experience was well worth the try if nothing else than to try a new place that seemed like a community staple. However between the quality of the food and the service, lack of atmosphere, and overall experience I would not suggest you take yourselves to this place...set-up Camp elsewhere.