Now that Ocean Grille on Seawall has had time to settle in, it was time for our visit. I had dropped in a few weeks ago for appetizers and drinks on the patio but wanted to sample the dinner menu. It was a semi-rainy weekend evening so we hoped it wouldn't be packed. We were in luck as the indoor dining area had only a few occupied tables. The outdoor patio space was more populated, mostly by beachgoers, and filled up as the evening progressed. It is a great place for happy hour, with an impressive and tasty "small bites" menu.
Overall the establishment is beautiful and an inspired transformation of that space. Of course all indoor tables have a Gulf view. Music all evening was classic rock at a volume level that allows visiting: Pink Floyd, Beatles, CCR, etc. The bar is on one corner of the dining room, with only one TV at a low level. That gives them 10 points right there, no loud sporting events in competition with conversation.
In honor of "white-wine-with-seafood" we ordered a decent pinot grigio from the wine selections. The beer list looks appealing too. Our appetizer choice was pan seared blue crab cakes. The two cakes were fully crabby and nicely flavored, accompanied by chunks of tomato, avocado and onion, on a bed of Tabasco Mash remoulade. My companion adored the heat of the Tabasco combined with a sweet undertone. My cowardly self hesitantly tested a bit of it the remoulade: sweet, spicy, and salty. The sauce could be served on the side for the Tabasco-sensitive.
For entree my companion was beckoned by the Gulf Coast favorite, Shrimp & Grits, with the addition of sofrito sauce, a traditional tomato-based Spanish and Latin sauce. The grits were flavorful, and the brown shrimp cooked to perfection in an attractive presentation. The sauce was a bit understated and could have improved with more of the Spanish paprika and green peppers usually found in this sauce.
My choice was Fish of the Day, snapper. The grilled fillet was fresh done just enough, firm but not tough. It had a slight topping of an indistinct sauce; I asked two servers about the sauce, and one believed it was "butter and brown sugar" and the other said "red wine vinaigrette". I requested fresh lemon to flavor up the snapper a bit, but it arrived about the time I finished. The sides that arrived were the promised sauteed broccolini but cous cous rather than quinoa salad. The broccolini was crunchy and a beautiful green and the flavor was good. (They did bring the quinoa salad later, nice with arugula.)
Of course we had to check out dessert, all prepared on the premises. There were three intriguing choices: goat cheese donut holes (you'll have to hear their description as it does sound delicious), croissant-based bread pudding with cherries, and a "Ghirardelli" chocolate brownie. Our choice? The brownie because it was chocolate, and because of the ice cream served with it. The warm brownie was huge and covered with a giant scoop of Galveston's own "Hey Mikey" Vanilla Bean ice cream with bourbon and caramel sauce. This was more than enough for two diners. Of course we did not waste any.
Overall we enjoyed our meal and the surroundings. Service was friendly but neither attentive nor knowledgeable. The menu is varied and the wide choice of appetizers and other small servings make the patio ideal for an excellent happy hour experience. I would be up for that anytime and they will be seeing me again.