A place where the salty and sandy can relax, focus on the seafood and watch boats navigate the waterway
Take a quick ferry ride and a 10-mile drive down the highway before one last turn onto an unpaved road that narrows and gradually meanders toward the intracoastal waterway. Steve’s Landing is definitely off the beaten path, but not hard to find. Drivers on their way to this Crystal Beach restaurant might notice reminders of Hurricane Ike, but these days those remnants are becoming fewer and far between thanks to busy Texans building new homes across Bolivar Peninsula.
An expansive patio outfitted with fish-cleaning stations, picnic tables, yard games and a very inviting tiki bar sits beneath the elevated restaurant.
A row of tropical palms lines the waterfront, as does an extensive dock where cruisers can tie up. Upstairs guests enter a spacious, uncluttered dining room flooded with natural light from large windows and the sounds of reggae music. The effect is immediately relaxing and lets customers focus their attention on two things — their meal and the boats navigating along the Intracoastal Waterway.
This bayside restaurant’s menu offers an abundance of fresh seafood choices. Diners will find plenty of plates featuring Gulf standards — shrimp, catfish, oysters — fried and grilled. Snapper, grouper, tuna and steaks also appear on the menu in various preparations. The spicy coconut fish curry, served over a bed of saffron rice, is rich and delectable. The dish’s heat slowly builds with each bite. The blackened fish tacos arrive on soft, homemade corn tortillas escorted by a trio of freshly made salsas, including a searing tomatillo. The generous pieces of fish are seasoned perfectly, sprinkled with mozzarella cheese and topped with slaw.
All dishes are accompanied by a side of the house coleslaw. The homemade dressing is slightly sweet and the slaw arrives crisp, cool and not overly dressed. The staff at Steve’s Landing will even prepare to order whatever catch was reeled in by anglers.
The indoor Blue Dolphin Bar spans the length of an entire wall, offering lots of elbow room for guests waiting to be seated. Brightly colored, oversized straws bob in signature cocktails served in Mason jars bearing the restaurant’s logo. Monkey Juice is a tasty blend of rum, midori and agave nectar. The fresh banana muddled in each glass prevents any cloying after taste. The bar menu showcases a variety of classic tiki drinks, frozen concoctions, martinis, bottled and draft beer, as well as wine. Patrons can enjoy their beverages table-side, at the bar or from the comfort of a custom-made swing chair on a deck overlooking the waterway.
With priceless views, fresh seafood and craft cocktails, Steve’s Landing has captured the Gulf Coast’s easygoing essence. Chart your course, by land or by sea, and take a relaxing breath of salt air. Reservations are recommended during holiday weekends and the summer season.
1290 Bay Vue Drive, Crystal Beach
GPS coordinates for the cruisers: 29.467328, -94.644504