Feeling the need for some significant sustenance after a stressful day, we decided to rebuild our red blood cells by trying out the fare at Saltgrass. This casual Seawall steakhouse was crowded when we arrived on a Monday evening, but there was a table for us by the window with a fine view of the Gulf. There is not a better view on the island. The atmosphere was casual and lively but not obtrusive.
We settled in with a delicious warm loaf of “Shiner Bock beer bread”. It was homemade in the kitchen according to our waiter, as is most everything on the menu. We did not let the bread deter us from trying an appetizer of “Seafood Fondeaux”, a creamy mix of crawfish, shrimp, mushrooms and cheeses in cream sauce. This large serving, with herbed garlic bread for dipping, could have been a meal in itself. It was just spicy enough, Cajun flavored, with juicy shrimp. It went well with the glass of cabernet we ordered from the admirable wine list.
True to our plan, I ordered a personal favorite, prime rib, with baked sweet potato. The meat was flavorful, tender, moist and truly medium rare as requested, with a herbed and peppery crust. The horseradish sauce was creamy and light. The sweet potato was fabulous! My companion chose the ribeye, which arrived rare as ordered. It was tender yet substantive, with robust flavor, and almost no waste. He had “Texas Rice” on the side, which was spicy-hot with cayenne but not uncomfortably so. The salads, included with each entrée, were OK but heavy on the iceberg lettuce.
We finished off the meal with coffee and shared a massive slice of six-layer chocolate brownie cake with ice cream. The ice cream had the texture of homemade and the cake was dense and tasty. But our appetites were not up to it and I admit we cried uncle and took most of the cake home.
Service was excellent initially, attentive but not pushy, and all staff were friendly and personable. However, as the meal progressed we found them to be busy with other diners and somewhat difficult to engage. Perhaps they were unprepared for the heavy Monday night crowd.
We had not tried Saltgrass before because we figured it was just another chain. The quality of the food and preparation of the dishes were consistently excellent. Prices were reasonable with respect to both portion sizes and tastiness of the cuisine.