We love BLVD! This evening's service blew our minds! We skipped lunch today, so we made a 5:45pm reservation (yes, I made a reservation even though I knew we'd have no problem getting in. It's all about the points! I get points for using OpenTable, so I do when I can.). I requested the big table in the back and Denzel as our waiter.
Parking was a breeze this early and it being the off-season and all. We walked right in and were seated exactly where I wanted to be. Then, and here's the exciting part, here comes Denzel with carrying two teas!! OMG, have y'all ever experienced such a fine greeting? Never happened to me in my 50-something years. Needless to say, the service was freaking awesome through-out our meal! We learned, too, that Denzel is studying to be a (PA) Physicians Assistant. That's practically a Doctor!! Anyone visiting BLVD needs to support Denzel in his journey. A man that takes pride in whatever he is doing and works really hard to be good at everything he does.
The meal, as it consistently is at BLVD. Seafood, was delicious. I ate every bite of the 3 Pepper Chicken with it's perfectly fried chicken breast, creamy and delightfully seasoned garlic mashed potatoes, sweet roasted corn poblano cream, and spicy chipotle jalapeno drizzle. It's a total mouth fest/feast! Jeff enjoyed the happy hour fare starting with a BLVD. Mudslide; both beautiful and refreshing. He then had their unforgettable Wedge Salad generously covered with apples, bacon, blue cheese, tomatoes, red onions, avocado, and a wonderful balsamic drizzle. Shrimp Kisses, a bacon wrapped shrimp filled with cheese, then topped with grilled onions and balsamic, topped-off his belly. Everything at BLVD is cooked expertly every time.
Mario's Seawall has been around for over 45 years. Now, part of Galveston Restaurant Group, it sits on Seawall Blvd @ 6th St. There is a huge patio facing the gulf and inside is lined with windows. It's a great place to relax and watch the waves. Since tourist season has slowed we got right in. Arnold quickly got us our teas. Sir Arnold is the most well-spoken gentleman waiting tables on the island. His name tag says he's been there five years. I'm hoping he writes novels on the side or something that he has a gift for.
We went right for the entrees, skipping over appetizers. I wanted the grab claws with lemon butter sauce but didn't know if a half pound would be enough. Jeff said he'd help, so I got the full pound. He ordered the Grilled Salmon and Jenny had Spaghetti a la Mario's. Well, a pound of giant crab claws is WAY too much! We all could barely finish the plate that was surrounded with funky toasted bread things that I was not a fan of. The crab claws were good, just not great. Jeff's fish was awesome and Jenny finished all of her spaghetti. Arnold kept our glasses full of tea throughout the entire seating! Jenny decided to have a Red Velvet Cake to-go. The bill was a shocker when we realized my crab claws were $70! But, what the heck, you only live once and leaving an inheritance is for suckers.
Bar Menu at last! Most of the tourists are busy with the start of a new school year, so we were able to get a table in the bar area...finally! If you follow my blog, you know that we have been trying unsuccessfully to dine from the bar menu for months. We were so excited to see an available table that we didn't even care that it was still dirty. The host quickly had it washed down for us and our waiter was soon there taking our drink orders.
Jeff had a $4 glass of Hogue Cabernet Sauvignon that was specially priced for Happy Hour. I, of course, had tea. We ordered the Crab & Spinach Stuffed Shells from the Happy Hour Menu to get started. We did have to get our waiter's attention to take our order. We just couldn't wait to have the Mini Surf & Turf from the Bar Menu. A 3oz lobster tail sitting atop its shell and a perfectly cooked 3oz filet are presented beautifully with small ramekins of butter sauce and steak a jus. This, folks, is the perfect meal at the perfect size and the perfect price ($13)! So happy to finally get a table at Willie G's for Happy Hour!
Manager, Marissa, called the very next day after reading my not so favorable rant about their happy hour availability. She explained exactly when my favorite menus are available. I let her know that we were able to get a table the day before. We both sighed in relief that tourist season was coming to a close. It's been a very busy summer in Galveston. Good for business, but not so easy to dine freely.
Tex-Mex is a family favorite, and Taquilo's is an awesome little spot in The Strand District with outdoor tables. Dogs are welcome, too! The restaurant is part of the Galveston Restaurant Group and physically located in a row of GRG spots that line Post Office Street. Great people-watching place.
Tonight we arrived early and sat inside taking the last available booth. A waitress soon came over and said that she would take our drink order while our assigned waitress was in the bathroom? Okay. We were quickly served our teas. When the same server returned to take our dinner orders she commented that she didn't know what happened to our waitress but that she would take care of us until our person was available. Tea glasses stayed empty as the waitress, that was not OUR waitress, tended to other tables.
Our food soon arrived, but no one took interest in filling our tea glasses. Finally, a manager stopped by to ask if the food was good. We asked for tea and she immediately filled our glasses. My Chicken Flautas were very good, although tonight they seemed much spicier than usual. Jeff had the Pollo Poblano Plate, as always, and his dish did not disappoint. Beef Fajitas were tried by Jenny. The beef portion was huge, as you would expect with a price tag of $29.99. It arrived sizzling!
We had to get the manager's attention to check-out and decided it was too much to ask this bunch to get us to-go teas, so we exited as quickly as they could process our bill. I did have $20 in rewards through the GRG Rewards Program, and we had a gift card with a balance left on it, so we walked away paying only $20 + a much too generous tip for whomever our waiter was.
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.