When I decided to review a seafood restaurant this month, I was skeptical.
Could a Texas restaurant come close to serving the quality of seafood I’m accustomed to eating in my native Louisiana? Or could I put aside my bias that the Lone Star State stick to serving beef, barbecue and tamales?
I’m glad I did. Yoli’s Seafood and Grill has an extensive selection of fresh, reasonably priced seafood that tastes as good as some I’ve eaten in Louisiana.
The restaurant, owned by Larry Lie, has been at its location on Skillman and LBJ for 10 years.
According to manager Kimberly Taylor, this neighborhood restaurant has expanded three times to meet the needs of a growing clientele that packs the restaurant on weekends and during lunch.
The lunch crowd is there to take advantage of the specials, (fried catfish filets, blackened fish, grilled chicken marsala to name a few), which are priced at $4.75 and served Monday-Sunday until 3 p.m.
Everything on the menu is under $10, except the fresh fish specials, which are about $13.
Appetizers include oysters on the half-shell (one dozen for $5.95), boiled shrimp (one dozen for $7.50), and fried mushrooms ($2.95). For more sophisticated tastes, smoked salmon ($4.75), escargot in a garlic butter sauce ($4.95) and fried calamari or squid ($3.50) are offered.
We had a difficult time ordering since we hadn’t had seafood in a while.
I ordered one of Yoli’s new specials recently added to the regular menu. The Fisherman’s Platter ($12.95) is a combination of fried shrimp, fried catfish filet and seafood imperial. The pond-raised catfish filet, covered with a crispy corn meal batter and fried lightly, was delicious – something I would definitely come back for. The shrimp, which were butterflied and fried the same way as the catfish, also were tasty.
But I would have rather have had a few more shrimp than Yoli’s seafood imperial. Described as shrimp, scallops and crab meat in a creamy lobster sauce topped with hollandaise sauce on top of fettucine, it tasted more like macaroni and cheese with seafood.
We also ordered one of the nightly specials: blackened Mahi Mahi with shrimp scampi ($12.95). The kitchen accommodated our request to grill the fish. Topped with lemon and garlic, the Mahi Mahi was tender, fresh and grilled to perfection. The shrimp scampi over linguini was flavorful with just the right amount of garlic, butter and herbs.
We both agreed, however, that some good French bread would have been nice to absorb the succulent scampi juices. But I’ve noticed Dallas restaurants don’t seem to get the “bread thing.” One visit to any Louisiana restaurant that serves “real” French bread, and you’ll come back wishing the eateries here serve it.
Yoli’s also offers a child’s menu with hamburgers ($3.50) and half-orders of seafood plates.
Try to save room for the restaurant’s bread pudding, which is made from the recipe of a former chef’s grandmother. The large piece of soft raisin bread was served with a rich bourbon walnut sauce. The caramelized concoction, with a hint of cinnamon, “made” the pudding and was good enough to eat alone.