On our quest to seek out the “finer dining” gems along the south Texas coast we present GLOW, the second restaurant reviewed in as many weeks located in the town of Rockport, Texas.
Chef/Owner Karey B. Johnson showcases locally caught seafood in a restored boathouse just off the water in this fishing and vacation town. “Our role at GLOW is to present the ingredients in a simple, elegant way that showcases the essence of the dish. We wouldn’t want to muddle the flavors,” she explains. “They speak for themselves.” Along with über fresh seafood, Karey also brings in meats such as antelope from Broken Arrow Ranch in the Hill Country and local goat for a featured slow-braised cabrito and masa dish.
We began our night with a popular appetizer of Crab and Shrimp Cakes. What at some restaurants can be a frozen, deep-fried mess, actually stood out here. They are loaded with Texas shrimp and crab, a little garlic, chopped green onion, ginger, dredged in panko and sautéed in butter. The shrimp adds a nice sweetness that balances well with the Vietnamese influence of ginger, lime, and sriracha. Another lovely choice was a salt and pepper stir-fried local squid with red chile, green onion, mint and cilantro and served on a bed of crispy greens.
Also on the appetizer menu, which evolves into something different each time we dine, are Albondigas. These wild boar meatballs are made with chipotle and tomato and topped with house made ricotta. In addition, there are crispy Bandera quail legs, fried and served with a lime dipping sauce.
As for main courses you’ll find around four choices of seafood dishes and two to three meat options. Our absolute favorite is the Rockport Stew. It’s a rich, delicious tomato based broth with lemongrass and ginger and heaps of local (OK, how many times can we say “local”?) shrimp, crab, squid, and Sheepshead. Soak up any extra using the grilled crostini or kick it up with the accompanying sriracha rouille.
Not in the mood for stew? Then don’t pass up the Gulf Snapper. It is simply pan-seared and served with whatever local vegetables are best at the time. A nice pairing is couscous, giving the impression of pearls from the sea. On another visit the fish was poached in seawater and chorizo was added.
The limited, but well executed, sides include Frandolig Fries with sea salt self-harvested just around the corner and Arugula Salad with Tomato vinaigrette. Don’t pass up the Grilled Aubergine, however. The eggplant is nicely charred and topped with red chilies, shallots, and mint crème fraiche. The harsher temperatures of Rockport give it a sharper, more concentrated eggplant flavor.
GLOW impressed with the drink offerings, too. They stock the bar with easy drinking, worldly selections, many first-rate Texas wines, and several cocktails such as the “Pedro”, a margarita with jalapeno, and “Offshore Breakfast”, which mixes gin with orange marmalade.
Karey grew up around food and has been working in restaurants since the age of 15. She did time in New York at the legendary Sardi’s and ran a successful catering company in London for eight years before choosing to move back to Texas with her family.
Karey says, “The coast here is so beautiful, and more and more people are vacationing closer to home these days, so this is a great chance to slow down and absorb what’s happening here and stop and enjoy life. That’s what this area has to offer, and sometimes people forget about that.”
We won’t forget.GLOW 1815 Broadway, Rockport, Texas 361-727-2644 GLOW Facebook