We were hankering for a casual seafood dinner last weekend, and happened to drive by Benno's at just the right time. The tantalizing aroma drew us in. We had to stand in line for a few minutes because of the all-you-can-eat Friday night fish fry. We ordered from the menu, which is limited and easy to choose from. They offer Shiner Bock on tap in icy mugs, which made waiting time pass easily.
We enjoyed the noisy and lively atmosphere and waited only a short while for our orders to be delivered to the table. I had a bowl of gumbo and a shrimp poor boy. The gumbo was dark, thick and rich with several shrimp in the small bowl, along with sausage and chicken. The poor boy stands head to head with any on the Island: a grilled bun stuffed full of lightly breaded and good-sized fried shrimp, lettuce and tomato, and add-your-own red sauce and tartar sauce. It just doesn't get any better than this. French fries, creamy cole slaw, and hush puppies come along with it.
My companion ordered the Cajun Seafood Dinner. It's a combination of grilled and spicy shrimp, oysters, and snapper, along with grilled potatoes, coleslaw and garlic bread. The oysters were juicy and fresh and the shrimp and fish well-seasoned. He ate every bite and claimed it also to be the best. I have to trust him of this because I don't do so well with blackened grilling.
We had to test the traditional Bread Pudding. It was creamy and custardy, swimming in a buttery bourbon sauce. We meant to eat just a bit but wound up consuming the entire serving.
Benno's is among the best casual seafood eateries in Galveston. The atmosphere isn't anything to write home about, but during warm weather the outdoor dining area is great for beach-watching. Dress code is very casual. The food is consistently well-prepared and servings are very generous. It's a family-friendly place and it's where I send visitors when they want an inexpensive seafood dinner. And I go there myself whenever I “happen” to drive by at just the right time.