Cafe Phoenix (Bruce’s Yelp Review)
229 Beach Ave
Port Aransas, TX 78373
This week, I was trapped in Port Aransas to do some beach house maintenance and took the opportunity to go some places I’ve never been. The Phoenix is one of those. This place looks like an absolute dive, and it is not on the main drags. It’s tucked away on Beach near Station Streets, with a building that only a mother could love. If you’re like me, you walked in with a little trepidation.Step inside and your first impressions won’t change much. The dining room is tiny and a little run down. It took me a little off guard when the dining room, all 9 tables, were full on a Wednesday. At 1. In mid November. Well, surely it must be coincidence…It’s only when you experience the food that you’ll know you’ve been had. This place is really fantastic. Beach food is cliche. Take a typical rating and bump it down a star. First, there’s too much volume in the main season that it’s hard not to cut corners, and the volume is too low other times to keep it fresh and keep the chefs interested. It’s also hard to get reliable help for the same reasons. Not so this place. Everything I had was excellent. The service was great. We’re not talking beach-adjusted great. Just an unqualified great.Beach food is also cliche. It’s bland. poorly presented, and well done, and I don’t really know why. But it tastes better than the same food elsewhere because of where you are.Take those cliches and throw them out the window. I had a potato soup (very well presented with a Basil oil beautifully drizzled across the top) to start, and followed that with Asian slaw with dressing that tasted like it had rice vinegar, ginger, and-gasp- red peppers, which woke me up a little bit.
The main course was probably the best seafood sandwich I’ve ever had It was a crusted Tuna, cooked-double gasp- medium rare, and with a Wasabi aoli dressing that had a wonderful kick on a beautiful, fresh artisan roll. Top it off with sweet potato fries that were airy and just about perfectly cooked. This is right up there with the best lunches I’ve ever had. All in all, my check was around 20 bucks, after adding the soup and extra side.
Tuna with wasabi dressing and sweet potato fries.
For the money, this is the best restaurant in Port Aransas. And maybe the best, regardless of price.