Yes, it's pricier than Redneck Lobster, and the Seventies is asking for its decor back, but Gaido's should be on your list of places to dine on Galveston Island. White tablecloths, staff in white shirts and black pants and vests, and flowers on the tables. Patrons were dressed anywhere from shorts and tee-shirts to business casual and a few older couples were dressed up in their Sunday-go-to-meetin' outfits.
My husband and I made a reservation for dinner in order to celebrate our wedding anniversary over the Memorial Day weekend. Good thing we did, because the place was packed. It's been a few years since we've been to Galveston, and while I vaguely remember eating at Gaido's back in the day, I will remember this visit for sure.
First of all, we were seated promptly. No big deal, we had reservations, right? Except we've all been to other places where patrons are "encouraged" to $pend $ome time in the bar while they wait 30 minute$ for a reservation. Not here. Yay for Gaido's for honoring their timeslot.
Our personable and pleasant waiter, Jared (I think), had a trainee (Radu?) and as a team they were great. Not overly attentive but just right -- promptly arrived with menus, gave us the right enough time to look over the wine list, brought water and bread, explained they were out of a couple of menu items because they couldn't get fresh product, etc. He was also timely in refilling our glasses of bubbly adult beverage, even if he wasn't familiar with our selection.
The Lobster Bisque was excellent; the chilled crab, shrimp, avocado, and hearts of palm "martini" was pretty good. Lots of crab, large chunks of perfectly cooked shrimp, and the presentation was pretty but a little awkward to eat since it came in a short-stemmed martini glass. I probably should have dumped it out onto my bread plate instead of trying to eat it out of the glass. In any event, I'd order it again...but there were several different items that involved crab that also sounded tasty.
My husband ordered the snapper and chose the pan-sauteed preparation. It came perfectly cooked, nicely seasoned, and beautifully presented. He ate it all, and said it was delicious. My char-grilled combination platter came with several large shrimp, several perfectly cooked large scallops, and a perfectly grilled not-so-small piece of snapper. My entree came with some kind of gummy starch (at first I thought it was overcooked quinoa but I think it was brown rice in retrospect), an assortment of zucchini and yellow squash; good but forgettable. Too bad they -- and many restaurants -- feel the need to add bell peppers to the mix. Pretty colors of red and green (and not overcooked), but waaaay too strong bell pepper flavor for the delicate flavors of snapper and scallops and shrimp. Next time I'll ask for no bell peppers...but still, it was delicious and generous enough of a serving that I took half of my dinner back to our hotel for later. I intended to share with DH, but...oh well. You snooze, you lose. ;-)
We ordered a side dish of truffle fries because they sounded intriguing. Meh. Too limp, too soggy. I dislike limp fries so I picked out the 3 or 4 that had some texture and left the rest. They were not invited to travel back with us to our hotel. If they'd been crispier they would have been pretty good. Did not need them since our entrees were substantial, so it wasn't like we were counting on them for part of our meals.
Now for the two parts definitely noteworthy: Jared overheard my husband mention how nice our table was next to the window, and how pleasant it was for our anniversary. Jared then volunteered a complimentary dessert for our celebration. Nice touch! We selected the pecan pie, which was one of the best I've had in a long long time. Not too sweet, came topped with a scoop of Blue Bell vanilla, and huge. Seriously, that serving had to be a quarter of a pie. It was full of pecans, had a nice crunchy crust, it was drizzled with a bourbon sauce, and was over an inch high. Did I mention it was HUGE? We couldn't eat it all...it would have easily served three people.
The second noteworthy item is that my husband went to go get the car from the parking lot across the street, and I waited for him out in the reception area. It took a while, and about 10 minutes after we had left our table Jared came literally running out to the front...with my husband's expensive camera in hand. DH had left it on the seat beside him and both of us forgot it when we were leaving. Knowing we we were tourists, Jared could have very easily not bothered to try to catch us as we were leaving and would have scored himself not only a generous tip for our table, but could also have had a pretty sweet camera to boot. Honest guy he is, though, he went running after me and found me in the lobby. Thank you again!
Apparently some serious renovations are being planned for Gaido's, one of which involves much-needed valet parking. The (lack of) parking was the only thing that marred an excellent evening. Would we go back? You bet! But in a cab, until valet parking is available.
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