JB’s Fish Camp is an institution in New Smyrna Beach. It started its life as a bait shop in the 1970’s and has morphed into a damn good restaurant with a loyal following over the decades. They specialize in locally caught seafood – they’ll even cook your own catch for you for $15 per person. Since I’m not patient enough to catch my own dinner we usually order off the menu.
JB’s sits on the water between Mosquito Lagoon and New Smyrna Beach. To get there just follow A1A toward canaveral national seashore and it’ll be on the right. If you just picture what a bait shop turned restaurant would look like, JB’s will fit that image; it’s an overgrown wood building that’s clearly been added onto several times with porches, a dock and picnic tables strewn about. If you’re into it you can go early and buy bait, rent a kayak or meet a boat captain and go on a fishing trip. But if you’re in the area for the Memorial Day Weekend, it’s definitely worth stopping for the food.
Even if the food wasn’t good I’m pretty sure JB’s would still be a destination. There’s cold beer and you can sit at a table and watch the dolphins and manatees swim around the docks. It gets busy during the summer and they don’t take reservations, but you can always grab a pitcher from the bar and enjoy the view while you wait for your table.
The service can be hit or miss depending on how busy it is and on occasion we’ve felt rushed through. For the most part, however, everyone is nice and friendly and the food comes out hot or cold as appropriate so there isn’t really anything to complain about.
They’re always fresh and cold. I find with raw oysters people either love them or hate them – I love them but you can also get them steamed if the rawness scares you.
Steamed Spiced Shrimp
They’re peel and eat shrimp sold by the quarter, half or full pound and you can get them hot or cold. You choose light, medium or heavily spiced and they come with melted butter and JB’s Jungle Juice (melted butter with a mixture of spices) to be dipped in. There’s no kick to the spice rub but it does add a lot of flavor.
Steamed Rock Shrimp
These are only available in season but if you can get them they’re great. They’re sweet like lobster meat but kind of a pain in the ass to peel. You’ve got the same options as the spiced shrimp (kind of like Burger King – your way)
Fried Clam Strips
While my father would say I’m not a true New Englander for liking clam strips over whole clams, I find that I don’t care. JB’s clamstrips are prepared as you’d expect, fried to a beautiful golden brown and served with tartar sauce, fries, and a hush puppy (which I never get to eat. More on that below). Tender, juicy, and not tough at all. Not the most complicated of dishes, but JB’s delivers on an old favorite in spectacular fashion.
Hush Puppies (expert post by Maggie)
Since Josh never gets to eat his I’m taking over for this section. Hush Puppies aren’t a dignified high end food but they are delicious. I’m not sure food gets better than deep fried cornbread with the right spices and onion. These are some of the best hush puppies I’ve ever had and I always steal them from everyone at the table. I make no apologies it’s one of the risks you take when you have dinner at a table with me. I steal food.