Hello, hello! This weekend, Dad and I went to Port Neches for the book launch of Road Kill: Texas Horror by Texas Writers Vol. 3. It’s down by the coast, so we were looking forward to the prospect of amazing seafood. We asked around about the best place to go and the consensus seemed to be a place called The Schooner Restaurant off 69 right where Nederland and Port Arthur meet. So, after the event (which was cozy, lovely, and hosted by the awesome little book store Fleur Fine Books), Dad and I headed toward the restaurant. It was a building in the middle of a strip mall parking lot and when we got there around 6:00, 6:30 there was no wait. On a Saturday night. Granted, a dreary and drizzly Saturday night, but still. On to the review!
First, a reminder of my rating system:
MMMMM = Everything is magnificent!
MMMM = Great, but something is off.
MMM = Pretty good, but a couple of things could be better.
MM = The bad’s starting to outweigh the good.
M = Definitely more cons than pros.
… = I couldn’t find anything nice to say.
Accessibility: standard. There were no steps or ramps required to get in, which was interesting. We don’t often run into places without at least a sidewalk around them around here, so going to a place even with the parking lot was cool. It did have two sets of doors, but the hostess was right there holding the inside door open, removing any potential hassle. There seemed to be multiple paths to a number of tables, so it wasn’t difficult to maneuver around the place. The tables themselves were not my favorite. They were the kind with a thick leg at each end, which meant I couldn’t pull in all the way. It makes things annoying, but not impossible.
Service: amazing! The hostess greeted me before Dad even finished coming inside. The waitress, Raven, treated me like a person from the get-go. She was super nice and helpful when we had questions about the menu. If she didn’t know something, she was honest about it. She was attentive, but not overbearing. It was one of those places where everyone seemed nice and no one ignored my existence just because I’m cripple, so they get some bonus points.
Appetizers: pretty good. We ordered the oyster Rockefeller, which turned out to be cheesy, spinachy goodness. Pretty sure that was my first time eating cooked oysters and, I have to say, they were really good. We also got some alligator. It was fried and tender, so it was also good.
Entrees: this is where things go south. I ordered the Schooner deluxe platter, which was a bunch of fried things (shrimp, scallops, trout, stuffed shrimp, stuffed crab, a frog leg, and crab). But I asked for everything that could be grilled to be grilled. Nothing was grilled. The shrimp and scallops were lightly breaded and pan-fried instead of deep fried, but that’s not grilled. And the trout coming out deep fried made me wonder if perhaps it was a pre-made and frozen thing, because why else couldn’t they grill it? And don’t get me started on the fried crab. They fried it in the shell! What was the point of that? It appeared to be a dungeness crab, so you can’t eat the shell. And frying it made all of the meat stick to the shell, which meant if you didn’t want to sit there for hours picking at it, you couldn’t even get half the meat out. It was all super disappointing. Plus, the stuffed shrimp tasted like it had soap in it. Dad ordered grilled flounder (came out pan-fried) Greek-style. The seasoning was good. That’s about it. Everything, including our sides, was over-cooked. I never thought seafood could become shoe leather. I was wrong.
Dessert: not bad. All of the desserts looked delicious (even the carrot cake), but we decided to split a chocolate eruption. Needless to say, a lot of chocolate erection jokes were made. But it was pretty good. A chocolate mousse cake with chunks of cheesecake in it. Worth a try.
Price: for good seafood, the price wasn’t bad. For the seafood we got? Totally not worth it.
If it had just been a crappy appetizer or a bad dessert, I’d say a MM was harsh, but when it’s both entrees (and not just a small part of them, but all of it), I’m okay with this rating. If that’s what passes for the best seafood so close to the coast, I’d rather stay in Dallas for fish. And that’s really sad to me.