As a longtime lover of Jim Shaws, I had do something different for this review. Instead of eating inside like we always do, we chose to sit in the bar/outdoorish area. This screened-in area has a great fireplace and has a convivial atmosphere that is great for relaxing after work.
When you eat there, you must go up to the bar and order your food and drink, then listen for your name to pick it up (use a hilarious name so they will know you read this review). This also is a way to start eating sooner than if you waited in the long line for the main dining room.
Before we ordered, we ran into one of Macons most sought-after caterers, who regularly dines at Jim Shaws. We asked his advice on what to order and why, and I can share that with you. Though I dont list prices here, you should know that Jim Shaws is not cheap, but you get what you pay for.
The caterer told us to start with the fried crab claws, but to ignore the mustard roumalade. He said that one thing that makes Jim Shaws so good is that they use a different batter for each of their fried items, to better bring out the flavor of the seafood. To me, the crab claws were just OK and a little small, but the caterer said they were as good as the ones in Mobile, Ala.
Next up were the blackened scallops, which he said were the best in the South, including Louisiana, and he was right. Jim Shaws definitely knows how to blacken a scallop. Combine that with their fantastic, always perfect cheese grits and youve got a meal fit for the king of the beach.
Speaking of the beach, thats the vibe at Jim Shaws outside. Inside may be fancy people and table service, but outside there are a bunch of folks dressed in questionable beach wear, and thats what makes it fun. Its like a vacation without the hotel bill.
We also tried the crab legs, fried shrimp and clam chowder, all of which were happily and quickly consumed before we could analyze them. Add a slice of homemade key lime pie and you will waddle out a happy duck.
I would be remiss not to mention that Jim Shaws has the best hushpuppies anywhere. The caterer said even he cant make them as consistently good as Jim Shaws. Theyre huge, but completely done all the way through. I wish they would hold a workshop for some other places in town.
Even though you do almost everything yourself at the outside area, dont forget to tip your busboy for the cleanup. Remember that its going to be busy every night by 6 p.m., so take advantage of the early bird specials and watch the rest of the crowd wait while you enjoy your pie.
Jim Shaws Seafood Grill
Address: 3040 Vineville Ave.
Hours: 5-10 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays
Payment: Cash, credit cards
Kids menu: Yes
Noise level: Moderate
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
Health rating: 100
Price range: $10 and up
Rating: 3 stars