We walked into a time warp last night, a pleasant one. In considering trying someplace different for dinner, we journeyed out to Nate's, just a mile past Jamaica Beach on Galveston's West End. What we found was good-old-traditional-Gulf-Coast dining.
The place was packed and lively when we entered, and even the bar area was full so we stood for about 15 minutes waiting for our table. We had a glass of nondescript wine while waiting. This is more of a beer and mixed-drink venue, so don't go there expecting an extensive wine list. The walls are decorated with a mix of the obligatory seashell images, plus photos and paintings by local artists. It was too cool for the outdoor deck but I'm sure it would be delightful in warmer weather.
The menu is straightforward, with a variety of offerings for many tastes ranging from burgers, sandwiches and soups to seafood, pasta and steaks. Nothing fancy. Our waiter indicated that the crab balls (“made with Italian bread crumbs”) make a good appetizer, so we ordered those first. Entrees come with two sides and we both selected dinner salads. Those came out quickly and were fresh and mostly greens, with flavorful dressings. The appetizers came soon thereafter and the crab balls were tender and spicy, with lots of crab.
The “signature” chicken-fried steak looked tempting, but we were in a fishy mood. It being winter, I ordered grilled oysters, with a baked potato. My companion ordered pecan crusted snapper, with onion rings. The oysters were done right in a slightly peppery batter. I loved them. Potato was perfect. The snapper's pecan crust was a fine complement to the mild and fresh fish. Onion rings were big and fat and not too greasy. We had some room for dessert, but they were out of their homemade bread pudding so we decided to forego that.
All in all a very enjoyable meal, reasonable portion sizes, good service, and moderate prices. This is a popular spot with something for everyone.