Every month, Bluewater Boathouse offers a “Second Tuesday Tasting” with a unique theme or tradition, encouraging diners to experience different coasts and cuisines through their palates. I’ve enjoyed several of the restaurant’s creative menus, including their New England Lobster and Clam Bake and their exclusive Thanksgiving menu, among others.
Starting March 8, Bluewater began offering a celebratory Mardi Gras menu for the month of March with fresh, sustainable seafood and hot spices from the Bayou. My husband and I tried the tasting menu on Tuesday night ($29.95 per person) which included:
Libation: Choice of Sazerac Cocktail, Ramos Gin Fizz Cocktail, or Draft Beer
Appetizer Sample Platter: Oysters Rockefeller, Cajun Crabcake, and Crawfish Fritter
Entree Selection: Shrimp & Chicken Gumbo with Andouille Sausage
I have a big soft spot in my heart for Bluewater Boathouse and have never had a disappointing meal in the beautiful waterfront restaurant. Our meal on March 8, however, did not quite live up to the high standard that we have come to expect at Bluewater. This was partly due to the menu but even more due to the service that night.
Upon arrival at Bluewater, we found the entrance up to the hostess’s desk crowded with waiting patrons. The hostess and her assistant appeared flustered, and we waited a few minutes before being led to a table. We waited another five to ten minutes before our waitress arrived, and we had been in the restaurant for over 30 minutes before we received water or drinks.
For our choice of cocktail, we wanted to try both unique Cajun options on the tasting menu: the Sazerac and Ramos Gin Fizz. The tasting menu was accompanied by a page-long introduction to Cajun cuisine and included an intriguing story about both cocktails. When we asked for one of each, however, our waitress said the Ramos Gin Fizz was not available that night because they were missing a key ingredient — “I think the egg whites” — and so we were limited to the Sazerac and a beer of our choice. Our waitress apologized, saying, “This is our first night for the tasting menu, so we’re all still learning it.” We liked the beer and the Sazerac, but we were disappointed that a key piece of the tasting menu was missing.
After that the courses came quickly, sometimes too quickly. Our entrees were set down abruptly and without comment by a server before we were finished with our appetizer, and so were left to the side of the table until our appetizer plates were cleared graciously by our waitress soon afterwards.
That said, however, we did enjoy the food. On the appetizer plate, each sample highlighted a unique aspect of Cajun cuisine. Our favorite was the Oysters Rockefeller: a single oyster cocooned in its shell with a tasty combination of creamed spinach and breadcrumbs, and presented on a bed of fresh spinach leaves. Next to it, the Cajun Crabcake rested in a smooth, spicy sauce, an excellent counterbalance to the crunchy fried exterior and meaty center of the crabcake. Finally, the Crawfish Fritter; I liked the chunks of crawfish meat hidden in the warm, doughy fritter and served on a bed of corn and red pepper slaw.
The main entree took us by surprise: an expansive bowl of stew with a lone crab claw sticking out of the center. Admittedly, gumbo is just hard to make look very exciting, and especially in low restaurant light it looks monochromatic and lumpy. The crab claw certainly added some excitement, as did digging the crab meat out of the claw. The gumbo itself tasted delicious: warm, comforting, filled with a generous amount of shrimp, chicken, and andouille sausage, blended with the traditional chunks of okra and tomato and Cajun spice. We ate and ate and still had plenty left over, and my husband is looking forward to the leftovers.
As always, I cannot resist the key lime pie at Bluewater, and so we finished off our meal by sharing a slice. Once again, however, a different server (not our waitress) plunked the pie down and hustled away, and I looked sadly at the thinning and melting whipped cream on top, which looked like it had been waiting too long to be served. Nevertheless, the pie tasted fresh and sweet as always, and I can’t think of a more perfect way to end another seafood meal at Bluewater.
Although our overall experience was somewhat less spectacular than the usual, Bluewater diners should not shy away from the tasting menu. The Cajun and Creole options available throughout the rest of the month will include everything we had on Tuesday night in addition to a redfish entree option, expanded appetizer menu, and the Ramos Gin Fizz that we wanted to try. Every restaurant experiences “off” nights, and after many, many delicious meals at Bluewater, I think we hit the staff on an especially rushed evening. We are looking forward to visiting Bluewater again soon — after all, I can’t stay away from that key lime pie.
Bluewater Boathouse’s monthly tasting events, hosted every second Tuesday, feature seasonal seafood specialty items paired with hand-selected wines or specialty draught beers. The events include casual commentary and Q&A by the restaurant’s resident chefs, and have become a popular monthly diversion for local seafood aficionados and Bluewater Boathouse’s large loyal fan base.
Bluewater Boathouse Seafood Grill is located at 1701 Strand Way in Coronado, directly across from (and closely resembling) the iconic Hotel del Coronado. For reservations, call (619) 435-0155, or visit their website here.