Saturday, May 14, 2011

La Playa Mexican Grille -- Port Aransas, TX

This La Playa is not associated with the La Playa restaurants in Corpus Christi. It is completely different and that's a very good thing. La Playa Mexican Grille, 222 Beach St, Port Aransas, looks like a bit of a dive, but that's part of the charm. Rob and I were definitly overdressed for this place. He was wearing long pants and a belt and I had on heels. It is a casual place. All of the wait staff were in shorts and some looked as if they may have visited the beach before coming to work. Understand, I'm not complaining, it is just a very casual place.

This was our first visit to La Playa. The decor is eclectic and very suited to Port A. The wait staff  is friendly and accommodating. It's small, holding about a dozen tables and booths inside, and three or four more on the deck. From reviews we read online, through various sites, the place is very popular and it's not unusual to wait an hour and a half for a table, especially on weekend nights. We tried to make reservations and were told that they do not accept reservations, but they don't get real busy until after 6:00 p.m. They opened at 5:00 p.m. and we arrived at 4:58 p.m. -- just in case.

As you may have figured out, if you follow this blog, I like to have a glass of wine with my dinner. Unfortunately, La Playa only carries one wine label in Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet. I ordered the Chardonnay. It's not a great label and I didn't catch the name. Rob had the house Margarita, and said it was good, but pretty weak alcohol-wise. They carry several tequilas and specialize in signature margaritas.

Hopefully, you have not given up on this place yet. I know it doesn't sound real promising so far, but stick around for the food. We had read in reviews that the Crabmeat Enchiladas were great and I was looking forward to them. Our server, Cindi, went through the specials, each sounding pretty amazing, but I wanted the Crabmeat Enchiladas. Looking at the menu I could not seem to pull my eyes away from them and their description -- three corn tortillas stuffed with sauteed lump crabmeat and avocados covered with creamy roasted poblano sauce. Well, Rob ordered them, after wondering aloud about the Crawfish Enchiladas! I ordered the Crabmeat Enchiladas anyway, hoping this would not make for a boring review, BUT Rob asked if they could substitute one of the enchiladas on his plate with a Crawfish Enchilada. Cindi said since they weren't busy yet she thought they probably could, and they did.
Mixed Enchiladas!

The plates arrived and they were beautiful. The enchiladas lined up creamy white between black beans and fiesta rice. The Crabmeat Enchiladas were so delicate. As I cut into them I could see that they truly were stuffed with crabmeat and beautiful with a little avocado layer between the meat and tortilla. The creamy roasted poblano sauce was light and a very nice compliment to the crabmeat and avocado as was the white cheese that topped it all.

Rob was nice enough to share part of his Crawfish Enchilada with me. Oh. My. Goodness! The Crawfish Enchiladas are stuffed with crawfish tails, red and green bell pepper and topped with a creamy chipotle sauce. Spicy and wonderful. Next time that's what I'm getting! Not that the Crabmeat Enchiladas were a disappointment, they weren't, I just liked the Crawfish better, because I like spicy. So, for you my faithful followers, I recommend the Crabmeat Enchiladas for those of you who like light and creamy and the Crawfish Enchiladas for those who like rich and spicy. Oh, and order one of the signature margaritas!

Cindi talked us into taking some of  "the best flan in South Texas" home with us. We ate it later in the evening. I had two bites and that was enough for me. I'm not really a flan fan (try saying that three times fast) so I don't feel qualified to comment on my experience. Rob said he liked it, but wouldn't consider it the best in South Texas. He feels that title should go to the flan at La Fogata in San Antonio.

Would we eat there again? Absolutely! The food was very good and and after perusing the take-out menu that I swiped, I'm thinking The Blackened Tuna Tacos, and the Enchiladas Camarones (shrimp) need to be tried. We do recommend La Playa, but go early to avoid the crowds and stick with soda, tea or signature drinks. Oh, and bring cash. They don't accept cards, but there is an ATM just inside the door. La Playa is on the higher end of moderately priced.

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