My Church small group met at J. Michael's restaurant New Years Eve to have dinner. I was very disappointed. I have been told that New Years Eve is the worst night of the year to eat out because most restaurants are down to a skeleton crew and the ones who are working really don't want to be there. Both my wife and I have eaten there on separate occasions and we had similar comments on the food. My wife tried the gumbo and said it tasted burnt. As anyone knows, if you burn a roux it will ruin the gumbo. The only option is to trough it out and start over. I tried the famous roast beef sandwich which came open face, drowned in gravy. The gravy also tasted burnt. What's up??? Maybe I could give them a lesson in roux making.
At the small group dinner I tried to stay safe and went with a combo plate of fried shrimp and oysters. The order was accompanied by Fry's and what was called pepper slaw. My thought was the pepper slaw would be made with strips of bell pepper, right? It was cabbage, a wet mayo based dressing, and onions, lots of big chunks of onions. It was all I could taste. I like tarter sauce and make my own at home. Real tarter sauce has mayo, onions, capers, dill pickle, and a touch of lemon juice. Oddly enough this tarter sauce was a loose mayo concoction which was overridden with guess what, onions. Large diced, strong tasting, onions. It was unbearable. The shrimp and oysters were OK but the coating was not very crisp nor did it cling to the seafood as it should. A friend at the table got a plate of raw oysters which were large and beautiful. Obviously not the same ones used to make my dinner with. My oysters were small.
I know J. Michael's has been around for years and has a local following, but this just confirms my suspicions that mediocre food in Panama City rules the day.
I give J. Michaels 1 star.