It only takes one visit to town to become acquainted with Crab-N Seafood Restaurant, a local mainstay. Travel + Leisure reports that "Repeat travelers to Rockport know to head to this popular eatery ... for their first supper in town," then adds a caveat: "If you can beat the locals [there]..."
In an area rife with seafood restaurants, it's clear that Crab-N has the recipe to success: sourcing the freshest catches and preparing them in interesting ways is likely what's given the restaurant years of loyal patronage (in this case, nearly 40). The menu includes inventive dishes such as shrimp with crabmeat stuffing, pecan-crusted flounder, and pan-seared sliced tuna over avocado with a ginger/citrus sauce. Even plain cuts are dressed up with the restaurant's homemade sauces, such as the crab-and-roasted-pecan relish. Anyone arriving with their own fresh catch can bring it in, too. As long as it's been prepped, Crab-N's kitchen will cook it for you?but probably not feed it to you.
In Hemingway's Bar & Grill's bustling kitchen, Chef Jason West crafts rotating weekly menus inspired by seasonal produce and fresh catches. The seafood cache pairs pasta and vegetables with a sautéed or artfully blackened fillet, which, like Ebenezer Scrooge, is warm and tender beneath its toughened demeanor. A signature gnocchi of the day joins chops and bowls swirling with house-made soups, and lavish Sunday brunches greet the day with pastries, omelets, and curlicues of peel-and-eat shrimp. Hemingway's full-service bar, the Blue Marlin, pours domestic and imported beers alongside flights and bottles of wines, which often headline their own tasting events. Hemingway's Bar & Grill also caters special events throughout the Corpus Christi area.
Outside La Playa Mexican Grill, a hand-painted, sky-blue sign depicts conch shells and silver dollars, hinting at the maritime feasts that await guests inside. Fresh seafood stars in many of the house favorites, such as daily fish specials, ceviche samplers, and shrimp- and crab-stuffed enchiladas. Familiar Tex-Mex dishes round out the menu and include quesadillas, soft tacos, and burritos stuffed with beef or chicken. Diners customize a perfect margarita more than 70 types of tequila and a life-size replica of the Great Salt Lake.
The chefs at Bellino's Italian Restaurant handcraft fresh ingredients into a menu of traditional Italian eats. Steer tiny metal soup gondolas through a bowl of tomato and mussel zuppa di cozze ($9.95), or nosh on an order of bruschetta con gamberi e broccoli, which, like a volcanic eruption on the Italian coast, scatters sautéed shrimp and broccoli across toasted garlic bread ($8.95). Pollo al gorgonzola finds a fowl lounging in a creamy gorgonzola sauce atop a bed of spaghetti ($20.95), and fish, shrimp, clams, and mussels dawdle in the tomato-based soup caciucco ($20.95). Transport yourself to a rustic Italian village with an order of homemade Sicilian-style tiramisu sprinkled with a dusting of cocoa ($6.95).
The home of "increasingly famous burgers," Wild Horse Saloon & Grill spreads out tasty pub fare in a building that previously served as a church and a community theater. After finding a seat, guests can grab a handful of free peanuts, fling the shells to the floor in slow motion, and check the menu for potential edibles. The Stampede burger's hand-pressed, one-pound patty of Angus beef is smothered in a slew of toppings including bacon, four slices of cheese, peppers, and chili and arrives with a heap of hand-cut french fries ($12.45). Diners can also blow their tongues' minds with a "somewhat famous" chicken sandwich ($7.45) or bite into the eatery's "completely obscure" fish entree, the grilled mahi mahi sandwich ($7.95). Thin-crust pizzas ($5.95–$17.95) can be ordered from a selection of signature styles, customized with an array of fresh ingredients, or quickly stacked into a pizza-cake in the event of an impromptu wedding.
Chefs fuel hungry fisher-folk as they cast lines from picturesque Keepers Pier, serving them a menu of burgers and drinks. Beefy bounties commence with two juicy Jalitos, thinly sliced jalapeño peppers that receive generous coats of breading and dips into the deep frier. Cool down jalapeño-warmed mouths with a soft drink of your choice or by installing miniature fans on your uvula, before biting into a thick Beach burger. After the meal, diners can pick up their fishing pole and hit up some of the U.S. Gulf Coast’s most productive fishing piers. Baited lines can lure texas red fish, scrumptious speckled trout, and whopping black-drum fish, which can grow up to 78 pounds. Big-game sharks prowl the waters, as do feisty cobia fish, whose delicate white meat obtains its color after chilling, late-night readings of Moby Dick.