Pho 20 is our go-to Vietnamese
Restaurant. Their service is always great and the food is consistently good. We figured the touristy spots would have crowds, so we drove over to Pho 20, although it is only an eight block walk. It's just too hot to walk. Anyway, the parking lot was completely full. Since our pharmacy is just across the street, we parked there instead. The main dining room was not full at all. It looked like all the cars came from a group celebrating something in one of Pho 20's private rooms set apart with beautiful glass walls from the rest of the dining room. We were seated immediately and served our teas quickly. I ordered the Com Chen Ga. I can never figure out how to pronounce the Ga, and this particular waiter felt like he wanted to teach me, but I just couldn't get it. He understood Chicken Fried Rice, however. Jeff had the Fried Catfish with Garlic Butter Sauce and Jenny opted for General T'so Chicken. First of all, their chicken fried rice doesn't look like much but it is delicious!! Sweet chicken pieces, fresh scrambled egg pieces, vegetables, and the rice that has a seasoning I have yet to recognize create a melody in your mouth. The stack of rice they pile on your plate only grows as you eat. I couldn't even finish the leftovers in a single sitting. And, it heats beautifully in the microwave. Jeff's catfish was cooked to perfection with a yummy garlic butter sauce and fresh vegetables. Jenny loved the traditional General T'so Chicken which was an extremely full plate of large chicken chunks breaded and covered in a tangy sauce. We left with to-go teas and boxes, taking home more food than we received. Absolutely love this place. Did I mention the dining room is surrounded in the most beautiful elegant crown molding I have ever seen? Where did you get that, Pho 20? I want some!
Y'all know that BLVD. Seafood is at the top of our go-to restaurant list. So, after missing out for a third time in a row at 5pm on a Thursday at another, to be named later, venue for happy hour. Some places limit their seating for happy hour (Landry's), but not BLVD. Seafood! We got in immediately and even got the coveted booths at the end that sit up high and have a view of the Seawall. Our waiter this evening was Joel, because Denzel was off that evening. He was quick to take our drink and salad orders but slow in his delivery. Jeff and Jenny ate from the happy hour menu, while I couldn't wait to dive into the 3 Pepper Chicken. Their Wedge Salads were amazing, as always, full of goodies like apple slices, fresh blue cheese chunks, real bacon, tomatoes, and avacado. Jeff added a cup of gumbo and Jenny had Shrimp Kisses and Crabby Crab Cakes. All very good, I'm sure, but I was focused on that chicken. OMG! It's fried to perfection - juicy and crunchy and sits atop well seasoned garlic mashed potatoes. The whole thing is surrounded with a roasted corn poblano cream sauce, then topped with chipotle jalapeno drizzle. What can I say...You must try it. They offer a grilled chicken version, but I would miss that crunchy exterior on this dish. Anyway, Jenny ended the evening with BLVD Chocolate Mousse. I did steal a bite and it was smooth and creamy; the hazelnut whipped cream was delightful. Joel got us checked out eventually. By then, the restaurant had become pretty much full. His service may have been more memorable if he hadn't ignored a direct eye-contact request for more tea during our meal. Still love this place and hope to one day move past the chicken to try something new.
Having been out all morning running errands before eating anything and 'hangry' at this point, we decided to try Tortuga Mexican Kitchen. We have been to these restaurants before while visiting Mexico. They are part of the Mexican Restaurants, Inc. chain out of Houston that also operates Casa Ole', Umberrito Mexican Grill, and Monterey's Little Mexico.
We arrived during lunchtime on a Tuesday afternoon. Parking was easy and we were sat immediately. Our waitress, Yana, quickly took our drink orders and came back to get food orders before we were even ready. We asked for suggestions and took her up on them. Glad we did!
We ate from the lunch menu, Jeff choosing the Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast (just what I was going to order!) and I settling for the Tacos al Carbon. They were both delicious. The seasoning on their beef fajita meat is tasty. Two soft flour tortillas were stuffed full of meat with avacado, pico, and cheese on the side, as well as rice & beans. They use a skirt steak and I prefer flank, but it was very good. The Spinach Stuffed Chicken is one we will be back for. A grilled chicken breast filled with spinach and topped with cilantro cream sauce, mushrooms, shrimp and cheese. OMG! Where has cilantro cream sauce been all my life. Next time back we will be sharing the chicken. We left with two large to-go boxes!
We have tried to get into happy hour at Willie G's for weeks. They only serve the bar menu and happy hour menus from the bar area and a few chairs and couches outside. You can't order off those menus in the main dining room? What's up with that, Tilman Fertitta? I think you're trying to limit availability of these tasty treats. When tourist season is over, we should be able to finally enjoy their 3 oz lobster tail and 3 oz filet once again. I digress.
Not knowing these menus were unavailable on Sunday, we were delighted to see one of the big round tables calling us to relax and eat well. The hostess brought us menus, but wait...no bar menu...no happy hour menu??? She condescendingly snapped "no, not today" and ran off. Okay, we're here anyway and we're starving. SO, I decided to have the Crab & Spinach Stuffed Shells. I have tasted these before on the happy hour menu. I was hungry enough that I ordered the dinner instead of the appetizer, a decision that I would come to regret. These jumbo shells are perfectly cooked and stuffed with crab, spinach, parmesan cheese, and a delightful bechamel sauce. They sit atop a yummy roasted red pepper sauce and are beautifully presented. I hit my max at two of the four shells on the plate. Jeff had a dish that isn't quite memorable, or we're just getting old. Since I've waited so long to write this review, he doesn't remember what he had.
So, we mention to the waitress our disappointment with our favorite menus not available on Sunday. She told us that they ARE AVAILABLE!! Should have asked her about it before we ordered. Everything was great. Will try for bar food another day.
Galveston Restaurant Group's Saltwater Grill is one of our favorites, so we chose to make reservations here Thursday night before our play at ETC. We found a parking space pretty much half way between the restaurant and the play house and sat out on our date night. We arrived promptly at 6:30 and only about two tables were taken, other than a large party in the party room. We were quickly greeted and seated with iced teas in front of us before we knew it. Jeff began his meal with Baked Oysters on The Half Shell with a Rockefeller topping. These were on the small side but had a delicious flavor, he said because I don't eat oysters. The Seared Shrimp and Jumbo Scallops with risotto, peas, shallots, and mushrooms had been on my mind all day. It did not disappoint, although I prefer a smidge firmer risotto. The peas and mushrooms add such a necessary flavor component. Great stuff! Jeff enjoyed the Shanghai Salmon. He described the sauce as amazing. We skipped dessert since we were stuffed and not going right home. If they stayed open late, we would definitely be by for dessert following the play.
And, our guests Bennie & Patrice celebrated their 40th anniversary here Saturday night. They raved about the food and service that next morning during breakfast. Always good to have a positive experience for our guests!
Sonny's Place is hangout for locals and offers burgers, shrimp, muffulettas, and pasta. The thing about Sonny's is the atmosphere, more specifically, Junior. Junior is the second-generation owner of Sonny's Place. He is an 88 year old veteran the comes to work every day and spreads cheer. He is quite the prankster and knows soooo many corny jokes. His personality radiates love. It's like dinner and a show! Anyway, their Dressed Shrimp Sandwich was terrific. The fries are generous and I hear the beer is super cold and refreshing.
Wendy's ended up being our second choice for lunch today. We walked the four blocks to the seawall intending to have Chick-Fil-a, but their air conditioning was out and the line was far too long to wait inside to order. So, we walked next door to Wendy's and ordered the Berry Burst Chicken and Apple Pecan Chicken salads. Wendy's does not have umbrellas for their tables, so we took our order to-go and walked back home. Heidi and I huddled outside under a piece of shade beside a palm tree while Jeff ordered inside. The salads were fresh and tasty, although the raspberry dressing on the berry burst salad is a bit sweet. It is nice having this classic fast food restaurant nearby.
This afternoon we headed over to Yaga's with the pup. The outdoor tables were all full, so we walked down a block or so to Shark Shack. We had been there before during restaurant week for dinner. They had only a few outdoor tables and they were empty, so we made ourselves comfortable and people watched. If not for the competing music from the restaurant, and the bar a few yards down, and the bar across the street, sitting outside would have been a more pleasurable experience.
Our waitress showed up immediately and quickly brought water for Heidi and tea for us. I decided on their Coconut Encrusted Shrimp with pineapple plum sauce & fries. The coconut crust thickly coated small shrimp that was cooked to oblivian. The crust had a good flavor, as did the sauce, but it was cooked so long it had hardened and had a very unpleasant mouth feel. The fries were good and plentiful. Jeff had the Shrimp Po-Boy which was beautifully cooked and presented. He did complain they gave me a larger portion of fries! Our waitress came out and asked about dessert...my favorite. I asked what they had and she got us a menu. I honed in on the Warm Brownie Delight and requested it to-go. She gave me about four portions of brownie (with a more cake-like texture) and a huge container of really creamy vanilla ice cream. The caramel and chocolate sauces and candied walnuts did not make it in our to-go bag; they were missed on this dessert.
Overall, we had a good experience at Shark Shack. It's prime location and pet-friendly attitude make it ideal for us.
Chef Daya Myers-Hurt has such a gift! She opened this tiny restaurant on 23rd St. that used to be my secret. Daya's motto is "Chef Driven. Farm Loving. Gulf to Table." She literally gets the fish from the dock, cleans and filets it, and works her magic with the fish and sauces she serves guests. Word got out about my spot and now you have to arrive by 1pm before she is sold out. We knew this, because twice before we set out for lunch there only to see the sign on the door 'sold out'. We left early today and made the short walk to Fish Company Taco. Jeff had not tried it before and was tired of hearing me rave about it, so he ordered one of every taco on the menu, of which there are five. Heidi and I sat at a bistro table in front of the restaurant while he placed our order at the counter. He came out with teas and our food was quickly delivered by a very nice gentleman with the most beautiful blue eyes ever. Anyway, I asked for a Korean taco and a Vietnamese taco, but when he brought one of everything I wanted them all!! The fish, slightly breaded, and every so delicately fried, was absolutely perfect on each taco, as always. Chef Daya's sauces are to die for!!! I now have a new favorite - the Empire taco with a hunan bbq sauce, fresh cilantro, and sliced green onion. So simple but so complex tasting. The Dirty South taco is topped with Chef's family homemade pimento cheese. What a treat! We devoured every bite, although I did manage to part ways with two tiny bites of fish for Heidi. As we sat eating, a sign was posted on the door 'sold out'; it was barely after 1pm.
How can you go wrong with a restaurant called Mosquito Café and a tag line that says "One bite is all it takes". Answer: you can't! We have been eating at Mosquito Café since we moved here a year and a half ago. It started out being our place to take the dog and remains her and our favorite outdoor patio. It has fans and plants and fountains. We ordered and I took my glass to fill with tea and saw the waiter already preparing Heidi's water bowl. We walked outside with the choice of any table. Usually this place is very busy, but tonight people stayed in giving us the place to ourselves practically. Jeff and I split the daily surf and turf special with Steak cooked to a perfect medium rare, shrimp with a slightly smoky flavor and only a tad overcooked, wonderful mashed potatoes, and a vegetable medley. Everything was superb! They have the best tea of anywhere, with a flavor that I can't quite identify...yet. Had to have some to-go. This place has really good service for a self-service restaurant. The gentleman kept our glasses full and made sure we and our puppy were happy. I did have some peach cobbler to go. A few seconds in the microwave and my midnight snack was complete.