Galveston Restaurant Week is in full swing and there's still plenty of time to get down to the island. While many Houstonians have certain favorite spots they like to patronize on every visit, a slew of openings in the past year have given Galveston some tempting new dining options.
Here's a look at four newcomers and one more well-established spot that are running reasonably priced, multi-course menus during restaurant week, which runs through Saturday. I had the chance to visit all of these restaurant during a recent trip and they're all worth sampling.
Don't worry. Shrimp 'N Stuff will still be there for next time.
Located next to the UTMB campus, this family affair from sisters Rosmond Duzich Thormahlen and Ryanne Duzich offers well executed takes on comfort classics using fresh ingredients in a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. Go for brunch ($15) and try the chicken schnitzel and waffle. Instead of bland chicken strips or hard to cut wings, Farley Girls chicken schnitzel is pounded thin to cover almost the entire waffle and served hot and crispy, which makes it easy to get both chicken and waffle in every bite.
Dinner options ($20) include the well-regarded shrimp and grits and diner's choice pizza.
EatCetera's soups and salads offers a healthy alternative to the typical fried seafood with a side of fried hush puppies and French fries that Galveston is usually known for (not that there's anything wrong with fried seafood). For restaurant week, EatCetera is offering a choice of four sandwiches along with a cup of soup and a small dessert for the eminently reasonable price of $15.
Chef Andrea Hunting is a trained nutritionist who brings a scientist's precision to finding the best ingredients and testing flavor combinations. Vegetarian and vegan options are also available.
Set in the luxurious Beachtown community, Porch Cafe is the latest project from former 901 Post Office chef Stephen Griffith. He describes it as "coastal New American with a Texas flair." The room itself is bright and airy, thanks to large windows and white accents. At lunch, the restaurant week menu features shareable small plates and flatbread pizzas ($5, $10). Of the choices, the boudin stuffed jalapeno with crawfish jicama slaw was my personal favorite thanks to the smoky, spicy combination of the ingredients.
Porch Cafe is the latest project from chef Stephen Griffith. He describes it as "coastal New American with a Texas flair."
At dinner, the four-course menu includes entree choices of coffee crusted petite filet, boudin stuffed pork loin and pan seared snapper that justify the $40 price. Feel like a snack? A small market offers wine and other gourmet goodies.
Galveston's new gourmet steakhouse is a destination worthy for Clear Lake/League City residents who want big city sophistication without the hassle of driving to downtown or the Galleria. The dry-aged steaks and East Coast oysters don't make the three-course restaurant week menu ($40), but it does feature appealing choices.
Start with conch chowder or a classic wedge salad. For an entree, consider the shellfish heavy bouillabaisse or braised short rib from Texas rancher 44 Farms. Take the savings and apply it towards a nice bottle of wine or a couple of cocktails.
This year-old restaurant from the Galveston Restaurant Group brings together some of the best dishes from their other concepts with a few Italian American classics. At dinner (three courses, $25), don't miss the crispy, cheesy arancini (fried risotto balls). For an entree, choose from a comforting plate of chicken parmesan or see what the chef's redfish of the day preparation is.
Wine and beer prices are reasonable, and the large space means diners get seated quickly despite the restaurant's proximity to both the cruise terminal and the Strand.