Where meals from land and sea are served with breezy elegance
Escaping Galveston’s busy seawall to duck into Beachtown brings a leisurely calm.
The road leading to the beach community on the island’s eastern edge turns and twists along coastal lagoons and dunes. Visitors are greeted by the sound of the surf’s splash and the smell of salt spray.
Nestled within Beachtown’s center, Porch Cafe is known for Chef Marshall Paysse’s well-executed Southern dishes finessed by the island’s culinary traditions. This remarkable restaurant offers guests a relaxed atmosphere, including a large covered porch under which they can dine alfresco. Inside, garlands of twinkling bulbs hang from the ceiling above white linen-topped tables. Walls are painted the color of beach glass, and polished concrete floors reflect light from a row of floor-to-ceiling windows. The market shelves display Houston-based Araya chocolates, specialty sauces, jars of loose-leaf tea and artisanal pastas.
Menus arrive accompanied by warm, crusty loaves of bread and shallow saucers of olive oil seasoned with a pinch of dried herbs. On the small plates menu, fried green tomatoes lay on a bed of fresh arugula. Each crispy bite has a dueling drizzle of smokey chipotle aioli and creamy chèvre. This Southern-inspired dish is satisfying, yet light. Similarly, the Avocado Caesar Salad takes the edge off any hunger while leaving guests’ appetites for their entrées intact. Chopped romaine leaves are tossed with grated Parmesan and pieces of real bacon, topped with ribbons of creamy dressing and finally garnished with diced avocado.
Dinner entrées hail from the land and the sea. The Cajun steam pot is every bit as delicious as it is arrestingly beautiful. The resplendent platter features a sumptuous 8-ounce lobster tail, firm Gulf shrimp, crawfish tails, clams and mussels, all swimming in a well-seasoned white wine broth. A pail of drawn butter entices diners to gild the lily. Side dishes, designed to be shared, speak to the Southern palate. Poblano grits, creamy maque choux, mac and cheese with andouille sausage and sweet potato hash are equal parts comforting and delicious. The honey Dijon glazed Brussels sprouts with savory chunks of tasso ham are famously popular.
Springtime meals at Porch Cafe begin with the clink of glasses filled with dry rose wine, bubbly Champagne, a crisp white or perhaps a robust red. Not inclined to pop a cork? No problem. A curated selection of craft beers, iced and hot teas and sodas also are available. Open for lunch and dinner as well as weekend brunch, Porch Cafe inspires guests to enjoy a leisurely meal made of simple, fresh ingredients.
1625 E. Beach, No. 2A, Galveston
Open Thursdays through Sundays; visit www.porchcafe.com for exact hours.