Village Door – Drink, Dance or Sit Down and Eat
By Bruce Collier
September 29, 2011 Issue
I usually do a little research on restaurants before visiting
them, if only to check out their online menu. John Wehner’s
Village Door at Baytowne has a Web site, but no menu I could find.
I was not able to reconnoiter the restaurant before we ate there,
so I didn’t know what to expect. The Village Door built
its rep as a grownup place for live music, stand-up comedy and
late night dancing, and I was not certain what the policy would
be for children. The Tiny Diner is eight months old, and I can
understand an establishment having to be restrictive about allowing
I needn’t have
worried. Start to finish, the Village Door staff made the TD (and
her parents) very welcome, and I think she enjoyed her brief experience
with clubbing, though we left before any live bands appeared.
She likes listening to music, and the house was playing a mix
of recorded dance classics by Paula Abdul, Rick James, Michael
Jackson and the like. In fact, it looked to be Family Night when
we were there, with kids of all ages eating and even trying their
skill as impromptu dancers.
Initially, we sat outside
on the patio (close to the water) under an umbrella. It was a
cloudy evening with a threat of heavy rain. Our server, Carlos,
made us at home and promised that we had only to give him a nod
if the drops started falling. They eventually did, and he and
his fellow servers quickly and efficiently set us up inside. I
don’t think I ever saw him—or any staffers—slow
down the entire time we were there.
Village Door occupies
several stories, with stairs and an elevator. The main floor downstairs
has a full bar, tables, a dance floor and an elevated stage area
for the band. Upstairs are restrooms, a smaller bar, and a balcony
overlooking the downstairs. TVs are strategically placed, and
I noticed they were variously tuned to sports, news, sitcoms,
and even a symphony. Check out the décor for some slyly
worded “ads” for beer, coffee, and other items posted
on the walls.
Carlos brought us our
drinks and told us about the fish of the day, offering detailed
advice on what fish tastes best grilled, fried, or blackened.
We ordered an appetizer and he left us to check over the rest
of the menu.
menu lists appetizers, salads, baskets, pasta, sandwiches, entrees,
desserts and specialty drinks. All the dishes are on the hearty
side, and many bear music-themed names like Super Freak Steak
Sandwich, Electric Sliders, Love Me Tender Chicken Fingers and
Dock of the Bay Shrimp. We started with Guitar Strings—battered
and deep-fried green beans to you—served with ranch and
remoulade dipping sauces. They came out hot, crisp and loaded
with guilt-free vegetable goodness. They make it easy being green.
starters are sesame and pepper-crusted tuna with wasabi vinaigrette,
onion rings, steak quesadilla, fried pickles, popcorn shrimp,
boneless buffalo wings, salsa and queso dip and bread sticks.
My wife and I both
wanted fish, so she went for blackened grouper (her favorite)
while I chose grilled snapper (my favorite). Other fish of the
day were mahi and tuna. She got hers with broccoli and rice pilaf,
and I got mine as a sandwich with roasted potatoes. Both were
tender and juicy, nicely seasoned, with lemon and tartar sauce
on the side. My roasted potatoes were a colorful mix of white,
blue, and orange sweet potatoes, with herbs.
Other dinner choices
are fried chicken, grouper, shrimp, popcorn shrimp and oyster
baskets, shrimp and chicken pasta with alfredo or caper, tomato
and white wine sauce, grilled grouper with crabmeat, grilled chicken
breast, smothered chicken, seafood platter, ribeyes and sirloin.
Sandwiches include a 10-ounce hamburger, fish, steak or burger
sliders, and popcorn shrimp, chicken, fish or steak sandwiches.
There were three desserts:
ice cream sundae—Copa Cabana tiramisu, and Bananas Foster
ice cream cake. We got the latter to share. It came out a little
hard-frozen, but it thawed quickly and we managed to demolish
it. In case you didn’t know, Bananas Foster is bananas,
caramel, cinnamon and nuts. What’s not to like?
crowds may have gone back home, but Baytowne remains a fun and
pleasant place to walk, browse and relax. Whether you want to
bust a move or just relax with a drink and a bite, the Village
Door is open for you.