We decided to check out this restaurant after reading very positive reviews. It does not have it's own website, so we were unable to see a menu in advance.
We were in Port Aransas in the evening and had put the address in our GPS. When we drove by the restaurant the parking lot was empty and there was only one car in back. We thought it was closed. Because other online resources had said it was open for dinner and being a Friday night, I called from my cell phone. We were told that yes they were open and would be until 10:00. We weren't sure about going to a restaurant that had no business on a weekend evening. After a quick discussion we decided to turn around and at least go in to see the menu.
When we arrived, another couple had arrived just before us. They also looked a bit uncertain. The building is a sky blue single story structure on one of the main streets in Port Aransas. There was a sign out front that said BYOB. We went up the wooden steps and across a good size deck that didn't have any furniture on it. When we went in the door we were told to sit wherever we liked. There were about twenty or so square tables with metal chairs with black vinyl cushioned seats. The inside was also blue an had a small amount of ocean decor. It wasn't fancy but everything looked new and extremely clean. We decided to stay.
The menu had a variety of items (seafood, steaks, sandwiches, etc.) and prices were very reasonable. We ordered some fried calamari as an appetizer. I chose a mixed seafood platter and my husband a fried fish and shrimp platter. The entrees came with a choice of salad or cole slaw, and two other sides.
The calamari were served and, quite honestly, were the best we've had ever had anywhere in the country! It was a heaping portion of long strips that had been lightly battered. The seasoning in the batter was perfect. By the time we were half way done, we were already getting full.
I had a tossed salad that included mixed greens, sliced tomatoes, carrots and "home made croutons". They were delicious. My husband's cole slaw had a light but creamy dressing on it and the cabbage was so fresh it was still crunchy.
Both our fried seafood platters were outstanding. The fresh fish and shrimp were coated with a delicious breading (not the same batter as the calamari). Everything was perfectly cooked, crispy on the outside but just right on the inside. My plate included a crab cake. Like the calamari, it was awesome.
I had a traditional baked potato and steamed broccoli as my sides. The potato was perfectly done, and wasn't mealy from sitting too long as usually happens in restaurants. The broccoli also was perfectly done, slightly crunchy but not undercooked. My husband had french fries, and they were the lightly battered and seasoned kind, and again perfectly done.
Everything came out of the kitchen so hot we had to wait before digging in.
Kathy, our server, was friendly and very informative about the area. She was competent and extremely nice, and came across as very genuine. She was one of the better servers I've seen in a long time.
I've lost track of the number of times I've said "perfect" in this review. The food was wonderful, the service was great and even the bathrooms were immactulate. We could not figure out why the placed wasn't packed on a weekend evening.
My guess is the BYOB policy may stop some people for going there for dinner. The melamine plates, plastic cups of tartar sauce and cocktail sauce, and the sour cream that came in the little foil packets may all turn some people off.
The only thing I would strongly suggest the owners change is that a good backed potato deserves "real" butter. The little tubs of pre-packages Country Crock just didn't cut it. I'd be happy with the pre-packaged little butter pats, as long as they are the real thing.
The reality is that this is a newer restaurant that didn't overspend on creating a fancy place for "show". Instead they've been smart and have put their focus where it should be - on delivering an absolutely outstanding culinary experience. The food is delicious!
If you are in Port Aransas, don't miss this place. I would definitely bypass some of the other more well know establishments in favor of this one.
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