Clary's is a Galveston tradition and there was an island-wide sigh of relief at the reopening more than a year post-Ike. The area around Clary's was inundated by Ike's waters, and they lost everything in the restaurant. We waited a couple of weeks after they commenced operations before we trekked there for dinner.
The place appeared unchanged. We were greeted by an understated and unassuming venue. Simple, with several small and cozy dining rooms, perfect for diners and small parties. We dined midweek but had made reservations anyway, so we were seated immediately, by a window. Too bad it was dark and we couldn't see the spectacular view of the water. When longer days return that will be a glorious vision.
An appetizer of still-warm and nicely seasoned boiled shrimp graced our table, but we had to ask for red sauce. Service was good, however, and we were not rushed to place our orders. We had a glass of decent house wine, as they had not yet refurbished their wine stock.
The menu was verbal, as they were not yet printed. That made ordering a challenge as we tried to follow the names and descriptions the waiter patiently repeated for us. The “Saralyn B” platter sounded appealing to me, with shrimp, oysters and lump crab. My companion ordered redfish topped with a shrimp and crab seafood sauce. Both came with salad (good and fresh, we chose the house dressing of blue cheese/Italian mix), potatoes lyonnaise, and green beans.
My fried shrimp were fresh from the Gulf and very tender, with delicious seasoned breading. The lump crab was fresh with a heavy topping of cheddar cheese. Oysters were large and meaty, also with well seasoned breading. It was a little early in the season for them to be at their best but they were well prepared. My colleague reported that the grilled redfish was very fresh. Rred and tartar sauces were very tasty. The vegetables were not noteworthy but after all seafood is the specialty.
Dessert posed a dilemma. I cannot pass up anything chocolate, so I had to try their sour cream chocolate cake—and it suited me just fine. It was soft and moist delicious and tender and still warm! We also thought the Key Lie pie sounded great so my companion ordered a piece. It was over a thick graham cracker crust, very creamy and perfect follow-up to seafood.
Clary's provides traditional Gulf Coast fare, fresh and well-prepared. Meals are hearty; don't go in with a small appetite. They are currently open only for dinner while reconstruction continues, so be sure to check for expanded hours.