Thursday, April 18, 2013

Need a Restaurant Recommendation?

Ask a truck mechanic.

Before leaving San Antonio, the Big White Truck was in need of a belt replacement. And it so happened that one of the mechanics had lived in Galveston. So Chuck did what anyone would do when talking with a truck mechanic. He asked for restaurant recommendations. And that is how we found ourselves one noon at The Spot.

How do you describe this place? Do you remember the old Certs commercials? “In the 1960s and 1970s, Certs was heavily advertised on American television with a famous campaign featuring two… people earnestly arguing over the proper classification of the mints. One participant would assert, ‘It’s a breath mint!’ while the other would assay a rebuttal by stating, ‘It’s a candy mint!’ This taxonomic dilemma would finally be resolved by the unseen announcer, who would achieve synthesis by explaining that Certs was ‘Two, two, two mints in one!’. Saturday Night Live lampooned the ads with a fictitious product called ‘Shimmer’ (‘It’s a floor wax! It’s a dessert topping! It’s two, two, two products in one!') (

Perhaps the best way to describe this place is with yet another takeoff on that commercial. “It’s a restaurant! It’s a bar! It’s another bar! It’s another bar! It’s another bar! It’s five venues in one.” In fact, the website reads: “Five venues. One location. Discover Island Famous—the ultimate beachfront destination to catch all the Galveston Island action. We have a little something for everyone. Whether it's 11 a.m. or 11 p.m., you can expect a great party, excellent food, fast and friendly service and an Island Famous experience you'll never forget” (

In addition to the restaurant (order at the counter, get a buzzer, and find a table in any one of the five venues), there are the Tiki Bar at The Spot, SideYard, Squeeze, and RumShack. I am not at all sure what differentiates the four bars. All seem to have the same happy hour bar menu although decorative motif does seem to change from bar to bar.

Anyway, the place can be confusing. Fortunately, we got in the right line—the one waiting to place orders at The Spot. Our orders placed, we went in search of a table. The day was beautiful and all of the outdoor tables on the first floor were occupied but we still managed to get a table inside and next to a window so that we could look out at the Gulf while we ate. One of the things we love about Galveston is that the Gulf view is not obscured by large hotels, condos, and private residences. Virtually all commercial activity is located across Seawall Boulevard so as you drive, walk, or dine you get magnificent views.

While The Spot is supposed to serve a really good hamburger, who wants to order beef when you have access to such fresh fish and seafood? So Chuck went with one of his fish house favorites—the beer battered catfish strips with waffle fries and cole slaw. The fish was beautifully prepared with a light and thin batter gently encasing moist and flaky morsels of fish. While I didn’t taste his slaw, he proclaimed it to be quite good. But I did think that the waffle fries were sliced a bit thick. But this is my complaint with most waffle fries.

I decided to order from the “Healthy Spot” section of the menu—the blackened mahi-mahi sandwich. The nicely seasoned mahi-mahi really didn’t need any embellishment, but I couldn’t resist a quick trip to the condiment bar. There one finds lettuce, tomato, onion, banana pepper rings, jalapenos, pico de gallo, and hamburger dills. So I returned with onion, jalapenos, and the pico. This made a good sandwich almost perfect.

Now what is the purpose of eating at the “Healthy Spot” if you don’t cheat? So I added a side of nicely battered and sweet onion rings. “I’ll give some of my rings, if I can have some of your fries.” I told Chuck. Worked for both of us.

The Spot is the kind of touristy place that we would normally avoid. We’re glad we didn’t. When in doubt, ask a truck mechanic. You may find another 4.0 Addie lunch.

To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.

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