Inside a rugged oyster one often finds a smooth pearl, just as inside a fanny pack one often finds piles of cold, hard cash. Suss out inner beauty with today's Groupon to Central Avenue Oyster Bar in St. Petersburg. Choose between the following options:
• For $7, you get $15 worth of gourmet seafood and drinks during lunch or Sunday brunch.
• For $20, you get $40 worth of gourmet seafood and drinks during dinner.
Central Avenue Oyster Bar enhances its full-scale menu of gourmet seafood with live music, a decadent brunch buffet, and freshly shucked local oysters served well into the wee hours of the night. Depending on appetite or cellular carrier, diners can devour oysters on the half shell by the dozen or half-dozen (market price), or slurp the garlic-basil wine sauce surrounding mother's mussels ($9.95). For a large table itching to share, the ahi tuna seared on cracked black pepper boasts enough sweet soy-tataki sauce for several ($8.95), and Central Avenue's seasoned chef can keenly combine any assortment of appetizers upon request (prices vary). Savor the house specialty grouper picatta embellished by lemon spires, ocular capers, and a butter sauce buttress ($11.95 for lunch, $18.95 for dinner) and wash it down with a draft beer ($5–$6) or glass of Alexander Valley Vineyards merlot ($9). Sunday's buffet ($15.95) silences the battle-cry of morning and afternoon hunger pangs with à la carte brunch items ($6.25–$8.95), belgian waffles, an omelet station, peel 'n' eat shrimp, and cherry-wood-smoked bacon.
Central Avenue Oyster Bar's downtown patio provides a perfect setting for outdoor feasting as well as an opportunity to spy on or communicate telepathically with casual passers-by. Or, recline inside, where the upscale brick dining room transforms into a jazzy lounge that hosts Felix Payton's croonings on Thursdays and Sundays, and live bands on Fridays and Saturdays.