Features editor Brenda Shoffner visits Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House and shares her experience.
DESTIN — Valentine’s Day brings with it the tradition of featuring in this space one of the fine-dining restaurants in our area.
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting and writing about several of them over the years. Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House joins that elite list.
Most fine-dining restaurants open only for dinner, usually 5 p.m. occasionally as early as 4 p.m. or as late as 6 p.m.
Boshamps is one of the few that is open for lunch starting at 11 a.m., which is a huge plus for enjoying the stunning views of Destin Harbor visible from nearly every table.
That said, they have separate lunch and dinner menus. We arrived about 2 p.m., so the dinner menu was not available to us. Our server said it started at 5 p.m. You can find it online at www.boshamps.com.
Although I had had my heart set on the grouper pecan available only at dinner, in the end, it truly didn’t matter. Our meal was excellent from start to finish!
We started with the Boshamps side wedge salad, which comes in two varieties. One, which I had, is composed of baby iceberg lettuce, honey-roasted nuts, grape tomatoes and cheddar cheese and bacon marmalade with ranch dressing.
The other versions, which my husband had, comes with baby iceberg lettuce, roasted nuts, grape tomatoes, blue cheese crumbles and bacon marmalade with blue cheese dressing.
“I don’t know exactly what flavors are at work here,” he said, “but this could be the best salad I’ve ever had.”
In 39 years of marriage, I’ve eaten a lot of meals with my husband and even I was surprised by his praise of the salad.
Boshamps offers many “For the Table” appetizers including cornmeal fried okra spears, spinach and artichoke dip, smoked yellowfin tuna dip, blue crab claws, Maine lobster bites and baked pimento cheese.
Other salads offered are the Boshamps “Shaker” Salad served in a Mason jar, a hot Louisiana crawfish salad and an Angus tenderloin salad.
Selections from the oyster bar include cornmeal fried oysters, raw “nekkid” oysters, oysters Boshamps, Bienville, St. George and Rockefeller.
You may also choose their signature corn and crab chowder or seafood gumbo.
For lunch, Boshamps serves a variety of “sammiches,” the menu calls them. They range from a Boshamps po’boy with your choice of fried shrimp, oysters or crawfish to pulled pork sliders.
You’ll also find a fried grouper sandwich, fried chicken sandwich and, yes, even a burger, which I’m sure is excellent but the so many other amazing options were more tempting to us.
My husband and I chose our entrees from the Baskets & Plates.
He went with the Boshamps Basket, which comes with a choice of fried catch of the day, oysters or shrimp. He went with grouper on my recommendation although snapper also was available.
When it arrived and he’d eaten half of it, he thanked me. The tender fish was perfectly fried and tasty especially accompanied by the green tomato chow-chow tartar.
The basket’s hush puppies were crispy on the outside, moist on the inside. Hand-cut shoestring fries jazzed up with a spicy seasoning were tasty but called for another glass of iced tea. And the Southern slaw provided a cooling element to the dish.
Because my husband isn’t a big slaw fan, I asked for a taste of it and liked it a lot. He, by the way, also ate nearly all of it, which is definitely unusual.
For my entree, I chose the Docks Catch of the Day platter, which came grilled, fried or blackend. I went with grilled and was delighted I did.
When it was placed in front of me, I knew instantly I would love it.
A beautifully grilled grouper fillet crowned the dish. Complementing the perfect piece of fish was a healthy serving of Spanish Mahon cheese grits, which was delicious.
Around and under all of it was okra-tomato maque choux that built up a bit heat with each bite.
Okra turns up as a running theme through Boshamps’ menu, making appearances either as the star or side in several dishes.
Boshamps offers an impressive list of additional sides, such as squash casserole and barbecue butterbeans, but we didn’t feel the need to add any of them to our already excellent and plentiful meals.
Instead, we couldn’t leave without giving in to the tempting desserts we had seen on the menu.
I chose Mrs. Cynthia’s Pound Cake with vanilla fleur de sel (ice cream), chantilly cream and either peach conserve or strawberry jam. I went with the peaches.
It was plated with ... an orchid! Although it looked like a piece of art, that didn’t stop me from diving in. It was refreshing and lighter than you might think. A wonderful, sweet finale.
My husband had the Mystery Pecan Pie, which our server explained had a layer cheesecake baked into it. He said it was unlike any pecan pie he’d ever had, which seems to be the point.
It was plated with a dollop of ice cream, fresh fruit and also an orchid.
Boshamps has a special menu for children that offers fried fish fingers, corn dog, cheeseburger and chicken fingers.
Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House offers seating in several sections including the bar, where there is a television, as well as outdoors.
Views of Destin Harbor are gorgeous, whatever the weather or time of day, and Boshamps has them in abundance.
In fact, where we were seated, we had harbor-view windows on one side and a wall-length mirror on the other side, so it created the illusion of having water on both sides! Very cool. I tried to find a way to photograph it, but failed. You’ll have to use your imaginations or, better yet, go yourself.
The only drawback we encountered was a high noise level during a busy lunch time. The interior is all hard surfaces, so there’s nothing to absorb sounds. It quieted significantly as the crowd departed.
People of all ages and combinations, from young families and couples to solo diners and large groups, seemed to be enjoying themselves and their food.
We were seated promptly although during the spring and summer a wait is normal.
Our server, Julia, arrived a few minutes later. She asked whether it was our first visit, answered our questions and made sure we had everything we needed throughout our meal.
Dishes arrived in a timely manner and at proper temperatures; salads cold and crisp, entrees hot and fresh.
A FINAL TASTE
Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House would be a wonderful place to share a special meal with your valentine whether it’s lunch or dinner.