A friend of mine whose judgement I don't particularly trust suggested that the conch chowder here might be worth trying, so on a rainy day I decided to take the trek out to Deerfield Beach. I wanted to pick up some andouille sausage also, and Emil's is nearby.
I despise this part of town virtually any time of year, because there's always too much traffic and too little parking. There are always plenty of spots, but each little shop has 2 or 3 spots and there are these "Tow Away" signs everywhere. The Whale's Rib has a sizable lot; but it's also a pretty popular place. There's a Flanagan's next door, and some of the spots out front are allocated to them; it just adds to the annoyance when there are multiple spots in front of Flanagan's but you can't park there to go to the Whale's Rib. Frankly I'd rather pay to park than have free parking that you can rarely get to use.jump-->
So even on a rainy day, there were spots all over town but none in front of the Whale's Rib. I parked in one of the spots in front of Flanagan's and waited until someone left; not too long a wait as it turns out. You walk into a bar area that has a bunch of tables against the wall, and there's a dining room to the left. It's one of those Old Florida places; sort of like the Southport Raw Bar North.
The "booths" here are the wooden bench type; they do crank out the classic rock which is a lot better than some other choices. There's a lot of families and groups of people; overall it's a very casual atmosphere, with more light than Southport.
Service started out fast and furious; I ordered a cup of Conch Chowder while I perused the menu. I wanted fish, but didn't really want a whole dinner. There's a lot of fried stuff on the menu, and I didn't want any of that either. My server told me that they had Little Neck Clams and Blue Point Oysters; both good choices, so I just decided to go raw.
The soup came out almost instantaneously.
Whale's Rib Conch Chowder
I won't mention my friend's name (you know who you are), but this stuff is junk. Loaded with unwanted potatoes, it was just completely bland with not a whole lot of conch. I made it edible by adding salt and hot sauce, but you shouldn't need to doctor soup. I also wasn't happy with the portion; this is a pretty small "cup" for $3.99; I expect more for my money at a place like this.
I'd asked for a sparkling water but they don't have stuff like that here, so I settled for a seltzer. Instead of refills, they just give you a pitcher of soda.
The oysters and clams came out together; unlike Southport, they have nice serving dishes and oyster forks. They're a bit more evolved. They both came with lemon and extra horseradish for kicking up the cocktail sauce.
Whale's Rib Clams
Interestingly, the clams and oysters were both $6.99; it seems to me that oysters are a much better value. The sauces here (cocktail and tarter) are served in big plastic squeeze bottles, which is pretty convenient.
Whale's Rib Cocktail Sauce
The cocktail sauce is medium-hot; I added a bit of horseradish to kick it up. Not quite to a crying level, but close.
Whale's Rib Oysters
The raw food was fine. Everything comes with saltines which is the way they used to serve soup and raw bar foods back in the day; which is where this place still operates.
My good service ended once my food was served; I never saw my server again (except when she was serving other tables). Eventually my empty pitcher and empty shells drew the attention of a different server who brought me my check.
My general impression of the Whale's Rib is that it's a nice, casual place to get fairly priced seafood. They had a special of Stone Crab Claws for $20/lb when I was there; it's a good place for young and old.