You can say what you like about the only REAL Cajun seafood is in Louisiana, but Benno’s is good enough to put that to the lie.
Benno’s on the Beach is an underground landmark for the Galveston Island. It has managed to survive many years and many hurricanes to bring some of the island’s best comfort-seafood to your table. It surprised us and we hope it will surprise you, too. Check out their full menu, including shrimp, oysters, crawfish, catfish, snapper, flounder, and daily catch specials.
We have been lucky enough to visit Benno’s a couple of times now. Christopher has already established a favorite plate there: The Cajun Platter. It features country fried oysters, grilled and Cajun spiced shrimp and tilapia, red potatoes, coleslaw, and several inches of baguette.
I keep trying different things, and this trip it was the fried crawfish. I wasn’t sure what to expect as far as volume, but I was pleasantly surprised by the mound that was delivered to my table. Not only where there a ton of tails (lightly breaded and spiced), there were unsalted French fries, jalapeno hushpuppies and coleslaw.
One of our cohorts went for the shrimp Alfredo. The first taste told you the dish started with half a stick of butter and some heavy cream. It was thick and rich with al dente pasta and sweet shrimp.
The other of our dining partners ordered the gumbo and boudin. The gumbo was described as having “tons of flavor without the hot”, and it was agreed by the gumbo eaters at the table that it was nearly as good as gumbos sampled in New Orleans. Likewise, the boudin was mild and flavorful on the front and spicy on the back end, as a good boudin should be.
The coleslaw that I’ve mentioned is surprisingly good. It has definite crunch, with the cabbage and carrot being shredded rather than diced to give it a nice mouth feel. The slaw sauce is mild and light, with a sweet hint of melon! it is an excellent foil to the spicier dishes.
Jalapeno hushpuppies, you ask? Why yes, that’s what they serve. These are traditional Southern style hushpuppies of cornmeal and onion, with a dash of Cajun seasoning and seeded jalapeno. They are not hot at all, and are great with all the seafood combinations available at Benno’s.
Just in case you need an extra dash or flavor or heat, Benno’s supplies Worcester sauce, Cajun Chef and Tabasco hot sauces, salt, pepper and ketchup at the table. Rolls of paper towels make up for napkins, and with some items on the menu, you will need more than one during your meal.
Seating is indoor and outdoor, right on the seawall, and every seat lets you see the surf on the Gulf of Mexico.
On the 1-5 scale, Benno’s on the Beach gets:
Cleanliness – 4
Service – 4
Quality of food – 5
Flavor – 5
Pricing – 4
Overall experience – 4.5
Benno’s on the Beach
1200 Seawall Blvd.
Galveston Island, Texas 77550
— Ann Cathey