Monday, September 15, 2014

The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out for September...Featuring Galveston's Number 13

While visiting our families in Houston earlier this Summer, Michael and I were invited to come have dinner at Number 13 Prime Steak and Seafood in Galveston. Galveston is well known for its casual seafood restaurants located on the beach...and its equally casual vibe. Until recently fine-dining options on the island were few and far between. Number 13 is the perfect blend of upscale gourmet food and casually elegant hospitality. The restaurant opened last December and is located inside Pelican Rest Marina. Its location is closer to the causeway linking Galveston to the mainland than the more touristy Seawall beach area. Executive Chef Jason Hanin's menu includes innovative appetizers and delicious cocktails, creatively prepared Gulf seafood, prime steak, and mouthwatering desserts. Add it all up, and you have the makings of a romantic tropical date night!

Michael and I started our dinner with a pair of cocktails and a shared appetizer. I opted for the refreshing Strawberry Basil Lemonade cocktail. Michael chose the Bramble, which contained gin, crème de cassis blackberry, and fresh lemon. Both cocktails were expertly prepared -- intensely flavored and just strong enough. For our appetizer, we quickly agreed on the Maine Lobster & Burrata platter. It arrived looking like a colorful work of art and included proscuitto Americano, grapefruit salad, tarragon-verjus vinaigrette.
The platter was almost too pretty to eat...almost! Sweet chunks of lobster combined with salty prosciutto, tart grapefruit, and the herbal vinaigrette. Add in the rich, creamy burrata and we were loving this appetizer. For our entrees, we decided to order one seafood dish and one steak and create an upscale surf 'n turf for two. Michael loves nothing more than a great steak, so he decided to try Number 13's signature in-house 28-day dry aged US Prime New York Strip. It was cooked perfectly to order, and it was melt-in-your-mouth tender and juicy!
I opted for the daily seafood special, which included expertly seared Gulf grouper. There's nothing quite like fresh Texas Gulf seafood that's simply cooked. My fish was seared crispy on the outside, and it was moist and tender inside. The beautiful presentation was another work of art! My fish was served with herb gnocchi, fresh peas, and a carrot puree. It's one of the best seafood dishes I've had in ages. Michael and I selected a pair of large sides to share: Belgian White Beer Battered Onion Rings and Potato & Onion au Gratin.
Both side dishes were decadent...a true indulgence! The onion rings were perfectly fried in a light tempura-like batter, then served with a tasty dipping sauce. We're huge onion ring fans, and these rings were positively addictive! The au gratin potatoes were cheesy and rich, and the addition of onion was a perfect balance to the earthy potatoes. We were staring to feel full, but we decided to share a dessert. We looked over the menu and chose Lemon Meringue, which was a modern take on classic lemon meringue pie. This dessert was comprised of layers of pâte sablée, lemon curd thyme sauternes, house-made meringue, pistachios, and house-made blackberry cabernet sorbet. Michael and I both adore tart citrus desserts, and this was one of the best we've had in ages! The meringue was torched, which reminded me of a toasted marshmallow. The pastry was lightly sweet and perfectly flaky, and the lemon filling was the perfect balance of sweet and tart...and that blackberry cabernet sorbet? Heaven! 
Just as we scooped up the last bite of the sublime sorbet, the manager stopped by our table with one last item for us to try. He told us that the house-made peach gelato was his favorite item on the dessert menu, so he wanted us to taste it. We don't normally order peach desserts, but we understood why he raved about this gelato after just one taste. It was rich and creamy -- and full of fresh peach flavor. It was so good that Michael and I had a game of "dueling spoons" to get as much as we could, despite the fact that we were feeling pretty full. It was simple and utterly amazing!
With that, our amazing dinner at Number 13 was over. After a quick walk on the marina to enjoy some warm Gulf breezes, it was time for us to head back to the mainland. If you find yourself in Galveston for a weekend getaway, make sure to enjoy Sunday brunch, lunch, or dinner at this amazing restaurant. To make reservations, you can take advantage of Number 13's convenient online reservation system.  If you're lucky enough to live within driving distance of Number 13, they're planning a fun promotion for Talk Like a Pirate Day on Friday, September 19th. 

During the early 19th Century, Galveston was home to one of the most famous pirates to sail the Gulf of Mexico -- Jean Lafitte. Jean and his brother Pierre were known collectively by the moniker "Number 13" during the time they took command of the island. To celebrate, Pirate's Grog will be available for $7.13, and ceviche is being offered for $6.13. Pirate's Grog is Number 13's version of a summer shandy:  Bacardi mango rum, orange Texas vodka, Shiner Bock White Wing, lemon juice, and simple syrup. The ceviche will feature fresh Gulf grouper, pineapple, cilantro, avocado, lime juice, Dos Equis, and a little guajillo pepper.  

Disclosure: Number 13 provided Michael and I with dinner to facilitate this feature. All opinions provided are solely 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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