This was our first time at Grotto Ristorante. We had a 6:30 reservation to celebrate Jeff's birthday. Grotto is located inside the San Luis Hotel overlooking the pool area. Valet parking is complimentary with dinner. The restaurant is smaller than I expected. Floor to ceiling windows surround the dining area which makes it seem much larger.
Our waiter was Barton; he was a little late to the party, but got our drinks right out to us. Jeff tried the Peach Bellini which was served frozen and loaded with alcohol. He enjoyed it. We could not resist ordering the Lobster & Crab Stuffed Shells, although the price tag was nearly $20. Soooo worth it: four large shells, stuffed to the max with crabmeat and a smidgen of lobster, and smothered in a creamy sauce. They were absolutely fantastic. Personally, I would have like a little more lobster meat, but there was a huge amount of crabmeat to make up the difference. I decided on the Paglia E Fieno Con Pollo which was basically chicken alfredo with peas and prosciutto. The flavor was good and pasta cooked well, although an overabundance of prosciutto made it a bit salty for my taste and the chicken was slightly overcooked. Jeff settled on the Snapper Siciliano - a capellini-crusted snapper, topped with jumbo lump crab, roma tomatoes and shrimp sauce. It was presented beautifully, the fish was cooked to perfection and a generous amount of lump crab sat on top. The capellini crust was so original and tasty. It was served with fresh green beans and rice. There is a dessert at Grotto for everyone. Barton wheeled out this huge multi-tiered cart with chocolate cake, strawberry cake, four different cream pies, four original gelatos, a butter cake, and a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. I probably forgot to mention something in there, but we had the butter cake and a chocolate pie to go. Jeff absolutely loved the butter cake which is homemade at Grotto. I intended to have only a few bites of my chocolate pie that evening and ended of, of course, devouring the whole thing. It was tasty. Grotto was a pleasant experience. As part of the Landry's group of restaurants, we will be back for the points...and the dessert!
BLVD Seafood may have one of the best chefs in Galveston at the helm. This is a favorite spot of ours. We usually sample from the happy hour menu which has so many spectacular choices. Tonight seemed busy on the island, so we made an OpenTable reservation online for 6:45 although it was already after 6pm. Walked down there, as it is only about eight blocks from Avenue O Bed and Breakfast. Walking was an excellent choice, because the parking lot was packed! We walked right up and were seated immediately. Our waiter, Denzel, was terrific!! We started with tea; Jeff got the BLVD Mudslide which is beautiful and delicious. Never fails that when a table orders one of these, suddenly errbody wants a Mudslide. It's like dessert before dinner!
Jeff ordered from the happy hour menu: The Wedge Salad which is the absolute best wedge salad you will ever eat. It comes loaded with real bacon, cherry tomatoes, huge blue cheese chunks, apple slices, avacado, and a balsamic drizzle. He also had the Shrimp Kisses and the Crabby Crab Cake. Their crab cake may not be loaded with lump crabmeat, but the corn relish it sits on is delicious making for a phenomenal bite. The shrimp kisses were perfectly cooked. I ventured out and tried the N'Awlins Sampler which features an andouille crusted redfish and blackened shrimp accompanied by fresh green beans and fluffy rice pilaf. The white wine butter sauce was scrumptious! Fish and shrimp were cooked to perfection, as always. Our evening out was the best. We will request Denzel as our waiter in the future. He provided prompt service and kept my tea glass full throughout dinner.
BLVD Seafood is part of the Yaga's restaurant group, so I asked to redeem my $25 rewards card. Denzel came back stating that I actually had $75 in rewards. What!?!?! So, our meal was free and we have money left for the next time. Walking was an excellent choice, and the walk home felt good after that big satisfying meal. Can't wait to go back there!
Yaga's came through again for a late afternoon lunch in The Strand District. We were celebrating my brother-in-law's birthday; he and his wife came down from Houston. It was a beautiful day and parking was limited, yet the patio was nearly empty. Heidi, our dog, was in tow and we were immediately seated. Our waitress took drink orders right away. In no time our drinks, including a bowl of water for Heidi, were on the table and orders taken. I, of course, had the Strawberry Cider Salad with extra chicken (for the dog); it did not disappoint. This was loaded with fresh lettuces, pecans, huge blue cheese chunks, sliced strawberries, juicy chicken, grilled apple slices, and the most awesome apple cider vinaigrette. Yum! I must say it was hard sharing the extra chicken.
Jeff had his usual, the Mango Cajun Salmon Salad. It was perfect with blackened salmon cooked to a perfect medium temperature and a mango vinaigrette that will blow your mind. Jeff's brother, Greg, had a soup & salad with the Mango Cajun Salmon Salad and Gumbo. He loved it! His wife, Judy, decided on the Grilled Chicken Salad. Initially, she was disappointed to learn they do not carry thousand island dressing, but the honey mustard was delicious!
My Yaga's Rewards points earned us a $25 gift card on our next visit. Mike stopped by our table to visit. I believe he is one of the owners. He was super nice and listened to my unsolicited suggestions. You know we'll be back to redeem that coupon...probably on that salad that I crave often.
Wednesday night we got out between rainstorms and made our way to Saltgrass Steak House...again. The experience was amazing! Parked right in front on the Seawall and was seated immediately. This time we got the best waitress! Rachael was on top of everything!! She brought us bread and drinks minutes after we sat down. Our order arrived promptly and accurately. Jenny had the prime rib and this time they did have a medium rare piece for her. It was a beautiful piece of meat and the loaded baked potato was tasty. Jeff had the stuffed BBQ shrimp enbrochette. It smelled amazing and he confirmed the taste was delicious. I opted for the hill country salad with honey mustard dressing. Yum! I have a new favorite dish. The chicken was perfectly fried and the vegies were fresh and crisp. Another loaf of that heavenly bread and I was set! Rachael provided terrific service. I will ask for a table in her section next time. Good job Landry's!
Saturday night we found ourselves with only leftovers and in no mood to eat them. It was already 6:30pm when we figured out we wanted to eat out, so we made online reservations through Open Table for 6:45. We arrived to a crowd of people in the lobby. We were only about third in line when a young girl came out and told all of us to go outside so she could get names. I told her we had a reservation and she snapped 'wait here until your table is available'. We sat on the bench in front of the desk. A young man at the desk was seating people and sat the people that were in line behind us before asking the girl if anyone had checked in. She gave him our name. We were showed to a table in the middle of a busy room; I quickly asked to sit at the smaller table by the window. We waited a while before our waiter acknowledged us and soon came back to get our drink order. We knew what we wanted by then, so we ordered our food too. I had a shrimp cocktail and their New Orleans crawfish bread. The bread is sooo good. The shrimp cocktail was six good sized shrimp and the sauce was very good, although a bit spicy for me. The shrimp was way overcooked. Jeff had the blackened redfish etouffee. It looked beautiful and his fish was expertly cooked. The etouffee was okay. The window seat was great! The surf was strong and the water had a tinge of blue. Overall, we enjoyed our evening out.
Yaga's Café has my favorite Galveston salad. They are located on the Strand @ 23rd. They have a large patio and promptly bring your dog water. It sits on a corner where live music is often performed and a life-size chess game and huge chair make for fun tourist pics.
Tuesday we chose to leave the dog at home and sit inside the restaurant, as it was a bit too windy to enjoy outdoor dining. We were seated quickly and our waitress was all over it getting our drinks and taking our order. I had, what I always have at Yaga's, the Strawberry Cider Salad with added chicken. The chicken was very abundant this evening and cooked to a juicy perfection. Their cider dressing is a recipe that I WILL figure out one day! The salad is loaded with fresh blue cheese and pecans. The cooked apple slices take the bite over the top. Jeff had Ziggy's Peppered Shrimp with sweet potato tots and a side salad. When they didn't get the salad out before the entree' he changed that side to snap peas which turned out to be an excellent choice. The shrimp are very spicy but the sweetness of the tots offset that spice. Jenny had the club sandwich and commented that is was better than Mario's Italian Sub. We all left full and happy. Love Yaga's food and atmosphere. Plus, they're right across the street from the chocolate shops.
Mario's, part of the Galveston Restaurant Group, is situated right across the seawall. The island was hopping Monday evening, but there was no crowd at this restaurant. We had no trouble parking and were seated immediately.
Our waiter seemed new and tried a little too hard to act professional. He did a pretty good job during our visit. We started the meal with sautéed crab claws in a lemon butter. OMG! They were amazing; that sauce, I wanted to drink straight from the bowl. I decided on the Nathan's Famous Steak Sandwich. It was loaded with tender steak cooked medium and enveloped in gooey cheese and sautéed pepper and onions. The bread was soft and tasty but couldn't hold up under the weight of the insides. It was delicious! Jeff had Simply Grouper which was cooked to perfection. Jenny enjoyed her Italian Sub. Usually we take home a slice or two of the Italian Cream Cake, but this evening we had leftover cake from a wedding at the inn. They were out of to-go cups, so we could not take tea home. We left satisfied!
The Landry's Restaurant Group's Saltgrass Steak House is one of our 'usual' spots, so we had a mid-week dinner there. Parking across the street was abundant. We were greeted and seated immediately.
Our waiter, Bill, was quick to take our drink orders and bring us bread. It took a bit, but he took our orders and answered our questions professionally. He seemed like he was either overwhelmed or didn't feel well that day. Anyway, my sister-in-law who had ordered the prime rib, was informed by the manager about 15 minutes after ordering that they only had well done prime rib. He offered a substitution of ribeye, which she took.
Our meal arrived and everything looked and smelled amazing. I had the burger and fries. Jeff had shrimp & chicken enbrochette, and Jenny had, of course, the ribeye. My burger was a tad overcooked for my liking, but it was juicy and had what seemed like homemade pickles that were fabulous. The fries were crisp. Jeff's brochette was 'delicious, as he put it; and, Jenny loved the steak. '
We were finally able to get Bill's attention to request to-go teas and the check. He had become really busy by then and seemed out of sorts. I honestly worried about him that evening. Hope he wasn't sick.
Overall, we had a pleasant experience, as we usually do with a Landry's Restaurant.