The first thing we noticed when entering this downtown seafood house was the lively atmosphere. Lots of bustling energy and music. We were quickly seated by a big picture window which gave us a great nighttime view of the Elissa, complete with scores of cormorants roosting on all her mooring ropes. The industrial area across the water looked like a fairyland with lights reflecting on the water. At first we considered the music to be a bit loud, but it didn't prevent our conversation and we soon decided it was just fine.
Our review of the adequate wine list brought us a satisfying Italian pinot grigio. This accompanied our appetizer perfectly. The “Crab Queso” was a concoction of crabmeat, spinach, and artichoke hearts in cheese sauce. We would have listed the ingredients in reverse order, as the crab was a challenge to locate, but it was delicious nonetheless. The cheese was dominant but was subtle enough to allow the flavors of artichoke and crab to emerge. Diet watchers would best make another selection!
Since this is a seafood house, we decided to stay with that genre in ordering our entrée. I selected the Gulf Red Snapper, broiled with a lemon-pepper sauce. It was flavorful and done well but a bit mealy. The rice pilaf accompaniment (which I would usually consider a non-edible part of the meal) was remarkably well flavored with rice that was cooked just right. Seasonal fresh vegetables (carrots and pea pods) were a little too “al dente” for my taste. My companion enjoyed the star of the evening, the Gulf Market Platter with crab cakes, a half portion of broiled Tilapia, pan sautéed jumbo scallops, and a skewer of broiled jumbo shrimp and vegetables (red and green pepper, red onion, and zucchini), served with that same fine rice pilaf. This large entree could serve two! All dishes were nicely seasoned, with the flavor of the seafood coming through unscathed. None fell into the trap of too much salt, which we encounter at so many seafood houses.
We finished this off with their dessert special, bread pudding with ice cream and strawberries. Caution: this was enough dessert for four! The pudding was good, but could have been heated a bit more.
Overall this was a very satisfying dining experience: casual and friendly ambience, magnificent view, friendly and unpretentious waitstaff, great food. Don't forget the convenient validated parking. We didn't even have to ask, our waitress reminded us to have our ticket stamped.