Broiled or fried. Those are your only options at Pacific Star Restaurant & Oyster Bar. But people who make all their life decisions by flipping a coin don't seem to mind?and neither do the other customers. This includes Rob Balon, a food critic for Fox 7, who said, "Pacific Star is the kind of restaurant where you can get your favorite seafood with a little kick."
He's referring to appetizers, such as shrimp-and-oyster cocktail and fried crab fingers, and entrees, which are divided into fried and broiled categories. On the fried side, there are jumbo shrimp, catfish, and gulf oysters, and the broiler churns out stuffed flounder and jumbo crawfish tails. Plus, the menu even showcases a handful of Cajun favorites such as crawfish ?touff?e and crawfish pirogue.
Helmed by veteran Austin restaurateurs Michael Vilim and Cathe Dailey (of The Cafe at the Four Seasons and Castle Hill Cafe, respectively), Mirabelle Restaurant aims to create delectable bistro-style dishes that challenge and dazzle the palate. A comfortable, Mediterranean-fashioned dining space sets the stage for its extensive and oft-updated dinner menu. Celebrate your favorite crustacean's birthday with the lump crab cakes ($9.95), which arrive neighbored by basil oil, tomato concasse, and claw-shaped candles. Rich, elegant sauces characterize Mirabelle's exotic mixture of entrees, from the gruyere cheese butter that marinates the grilled Beef Tenderloin ($26.95) to the yellow Bengali curry complementing the bacon-wrapped gulf redfish ($21.95).
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The chefs at Samurai Sam’s Teriyaki Grill toss wok-seared meats and veggies in its eponymous sweet, tangy sauce. These morsels lie on a bed of steamed brown or white rice, making them a healthier alternative to traditional fast food, which usually lies on a hard-to-digest futon. Rice can be substituted with yakisoba noodles, and proteins include chicken, steak, shrimp, and salmon. All dishes on the menu, including salads and wraps, are made to order.
At Nopalitos Cantina & Grill, chefs prepare authentic Mexican eats, specializing in seafood. They whip up dishes such as fish tacos, crab chimichangas, and crab chile relleno—a Poblano pepper stuffed with crabmeat and cheese and topped with verde sauce. To augment the authenticity, the interior of the restaurant is designed to look like an outdoor Mexican plaza, with old-fashioned street lamps and brick-lined windows.
The chefs at the newly opened French Quarter Grille spice up the catfish entrees, seafood gumbo, and grilled meats that populate a menu of authentic Cajun specialties. Diners can acclimate tongues to French-influenced flavors with a starter of crawfish beignets—fried, fluffy pillows dunked in a spicy jalapeño-and-roasted-corn tartar sauce ($9.95 for dinner; $8.95 for lunch). Attentive servers whisk steaming helpings of blackened-catfish gumbo spooned over dirty rice ($15.95) to white-cloth-draped tables before going back to the kitchen. Grillers blacken the rib-eye pontchartrain, smother it in shrimp, crab, and crawfish, and douse the lot in a mushroom brandy cream sauce ($29.95). Patrons can size up peppered pork tenderloins, which are flame-licked over a leftover science-fair volcano before being awarded a mango-pineapple chutney ($16.95). Diners devour forkfuls amid golden walls as the glow from a chandelier reflects in French Quarter Grille's gilded mirror.