Monday, April 21, 2014

The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out for April...Featuring Sea Island Shrimp House

This month's The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out featured restaurant is a San Antonio favorite for the past five decades: Sea Island Shrimp House. For seafood lovers in the city, this is THE place to go for fresh Texas seafood. The food is consistently excellent, the prices are reasonable, and the atmosphere is laidback and casual. For those reasons and more, loyal fans have been flocking to the restaurant's six local locations since 1965! We love to take visiting friends and family here for relaxing seafood dinners, and everyone who's tried it loves it as much as we do. As a testament to Sea Island's popularity locally, they were selected 2013 Best of San Antonio Winner for Best Seafood Restaurant, as well as being selected San Antonio Express-News Readers' Choice for both Seafood & Longtime Favorite Restaurant last year.
Our neighborhood Sea Island location recently had Michael and I out for a Lenten Friday dinner feast so we could try some of their signature menu items and share them with you. We were warmly welcomed the moment we walked in the door -- despite the restaurant being packed with hungry customers. We were quickly shown to our table and given menus to look over. First up on our tasting was one of Sea Island's signature appetizers, the refreshing and light Mexican-Style Shrimp Cocktail. 
Served with crispy tortilla chips, this chunky appetizer features huge chunks of sweet boiled shrimp, chunks of creamy avocado, onion, tomato, cocktail sauce, and cilantro. It is the perfect start to a meal...perfect for sharing. We were just getting started, though. Up next came a duo of fried entree classics: Crispy Catch platter and Fried Colossal Shrimp (my personal favorite). The food was fried up crispy and light...not the least bit greasy.
The Crispy Catch features two panko-crusted whitefish fillets, two stuffed shrimp, and two sides. The Fried Colossal Shrimp includes a half dozen sweet, jumbo-sized shrimp lightly breaded and fried up golden-brown. For shrimp lovers, this is the ultimate: huge butterflied shrimp fried when you order for maximum freshness. We weren't done yet...there were still two more entrees coming out of the kitchen: Sea Island's signature Lemon Pepper Fish & Grilled Shimp...and the lighter-option Broiled Catfish Platter. 

The Lemon-Pepper Fish & Grilled Shrimp features Sea Island's house-blend lemon pepper seasoning. The fish and shrimp are breaded, then grilled instead of fried. This unique preparation results in lightly crispy, slightly smoky seafood. We agreed that we wish we had tried this sooner, because it's bursting with tons of flavor! For those who prefer broiled seafood over fried, the catfish is seasoned with the same lemon pepper seasoning...proving you don't have to sacrifice flavor if you're trying to cut back on calories a bit. We were getting pretty full, but the manager came to our table with two of their house-made desserts to try.
We shared the decadent and fudgy Chocolate Decadence Cake and the sweet-tart Homemade Key Lime Pie. Both were perfectly made...and a perfect sweet ending to our meal. The cake was very rich, making it perfect for sharing. We especially love Key lime pie, and this version was pretty much perfect: graham crust, sweet-tart creamy filling, and a bit of whipped cream. We walked out full and satisfied, happy to have discovered some new menu items that we hadn't tried before. We snapped a couple of pictures of the restaurant's colorful interior and exterior as we headed to the car.
If you're a seafood lover, I hope you'll give Sea Island a try soon! Whether you're a local...or visiting San Antonio for a weekend's the perfect place to enjoy fresh seafood in a casual environment. It doesn't get much better than that! There are six Sea Island Shrimp House locations in and around San Antonio, which makes it convenient no matter which area of the city you're in.

Disclosure: Sea Island hosted our visit to facilitate this feature. All opinions expressed are my own, and all photographs are copyrighted by Michael K. Garcia. They may not be copied or otherwise used without prior permission.

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