Restaurant talk: Offshores Next Door

The other day someone in the office asked me if this place was still open and I had to stop and think about it. I hadn’t heard that it closed, but, then again, I hadn’t heard much about it at all recently.

I went by last Sunday and they were closed. But, good news, it’s just closed Sundays, which seems to be a necessary inconvenience for small restaurants in these times of economic uncertainty. I just looked back on some of our readers comments on Back Talk when the place first opened — several predicted failure.

Since that summer 2008 opening, Offshores hasn’t launched any in-your-face advertising or PR campaigns or gimmicks (don’t underestimate the power of advertising, PR and gimmicks — they can keep mediocre eateries in biz for a long time). In fact they’ve been very quiet back there in that little corner behind the gas station at Audelia and Walnut Hill, which leads me to conclude that the reason for their sustained existence is a quality product. Gasp! I know, right? A neighborhood business offering good food and drink sans the bells and whistles. We have a small but growing number of these in Lake Highlands now — hello Highlands Cafe, Tukta Thai, Tony’s, ST Cafe, Zato (I haven’t eaten there yet but I hear it’s great).

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As I mentioned, it’s been several months since I’ve dined at Offshores, but the menu appears to be the same. I am a lover of salad and seafood, mostly of the raw and grilled variety, so this place is right up my alley.

They have never disappointed me — the Ahi tuna salad is perfectly seared, succulent — not overly oily, as some Ahi tuna tends to turn out — and peppered with sesame and cayenne on a bed of lettuce. Other highlights: Seafood gumbo, alligator tail or frog legs (grilled or fried), shrimp po boy, baby spinach and salmon filet, and White Castle burgers (the real thing) for kids. Those are just the items I’ve tried and returned for. They also offer so-called “Real Nice Stuff” on the menu such as blackened ribeye smothered in crawfish etouffee. Though some of the aforementioned critics called Offshores "expensive", well, you get whatcha pay for here. Considering the quality of the food, the cost is beyond reasonable, with seafood dishes in the $10-$15 range; seafood salads in the $10-$11 range; sandwiches and po-boys, and kids baskets at about $4-$6. I think I’ll go back this weekend.

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