Galveston's recovery is reaching downtown. Willie G's is reopened and with recovery looking like this, we are all in for a treat.
We chose a weekday night to experience the place anew, as we understand weekends can get very busy. There was a sizable crowd but we were seated quickly. We started out with an appetizer of Crab & Spinach Stuffed Shells and an excellent Australian cabernet. The shells were perfectly al dente. The fresh crab was drenched in béchamel sauce and parmesan, and accompanied by a tangy roasted red pepper sauce.
For entrée my companion selected the Mixed Grill. This brought a generous feast of jumbo lump crab cake, broiled shrimp over risotto, and grilled Mahi Mahi with avocado and salsa. The crab cake was tangy, thick and moist, with a thin crunchy crust. Shrimp and Mahi Mahi were fresh and well prepared.
I chose the Snapper La Griglia. The sautéed snapper was topped with champagne grape sauce, lobster and crabmeat, and served with parmesan risotto and roasted vegetables. All delicious. We added a side order of creamed spinach; a wonderful comfort food.
For dessert we tried the Crème Brule. My friend, a self-proclaimed expert in that dish, declared it perfect. I agreed wholeheartedly. It was smooth and creamy and rich with just the right crunchiness in the crust and a bit of coconut flavor. It was attractively presented with a fresh berry topping.
Overall we found this to be an exquisite dining experience. Food was uniformly well-prepared, fresh and delicious. Portions were adequate but not excessive. We did note that no bread was served. My companion also felt that the offer of bottled water was “too 20th Century”, and we opted for water by the glass instead.
In addition to taste, everything from food to decor makes Willis G's a visual feast. The food was beautifully prepared and artfully arranged when served. Background music was just enough to be noticeable but not in the way of conversation. The place has a modern urban feel: ceiling lighting fixtures arranged in mass groupings of art glass pendants; wine storage displays which are visually attractive as well as functional; and slumped art glass plates adorn the wall. The harbor area is visible from almost everywhere.
Willie G's is definitely a positive note in the reopening of Galveston restaurants, being not just rebuilt but also renewed. The food is excellent and we consider it a must-visit.