Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House sits in the same building formerly occupied by Flamingo Cafe, one of this area’s first and best fine dining establishments. In fact, Boshamps is owned by the son of the folks who owned Flamingo. Great expectations.
My wife and our daughter Grace (the Tiny Diner) had dinner at Boshamps on a recent weekend evening.
For reasons unknown, TD has decided that she’d rather be called “Pinky and the Pony.” I just did. Back to the review.
Boshamps’ new owner has added to the original structure, constructing four decks and a covered patio bar. The main building has its own central bar, several dining areas, and a little five-table rear balcony with a view of the docks. The walls are paneled, with photos of fishing boats, metal wall hangings and muted tones. We were seated on the balcony, with a wisp of a breeze from the water.
Our server Nadean took a shine to TD, which always brings out my little girl’s best behavior. We ordered drinks, TD set to coloring and working puzzles provided by the house, and looked at the menu.
Boshamps offers appetizers, oyster bar items, soups and salads, dinner entrees, and sides. There’s a list of house cocktails, desserts and a kids menu.
It’s fall, oysters are in season, end of discussion. My wife and I split a half-order (six) of Oysters Bienville, baked and topped with shrimp, lump crab and Bienville sauce. The juicy oysters come steaming hot, with lemons and saltines. There’s plenty of shrimp and crab topping, and the tangy, buttery sauce was TD’s favorite part.
Other appetizer choices are raw or fried oysters, oysters Boshamp with caramelized onion, Alabama feta and housemade bacon marmalade, oysters St. George with seasoned butter and breadcrumbs, oysters Rockefeller with spinach and cheese, lump crab cakes, cheese grit cakes with shrimp and crab, spinach and artichoke dip, smoked tuna dip, fried green tomato with lump crab, crab claws, fried calamari, Alabama feta cheese dip, and fried Maine lobster bites.
The main course selections range from duck to chicken to steak, and from there to fish and shellfish. There are dinner salads, chowder and gumbo, and an array of sides like squash casserole, butterbeans, greens with bacon, maque choux, grits, mashed red potatoes and local vegetables.
They had duck confit cassoulet, with merguez and Conecuh sausage. Ordinarily my wife and I would flip a coin for something like that. However, she has just come off a no-seafood diet – I abstained out of solidarity – and we both wanted fish. So did TD/Pinky/Pony, who got fried grouper off the kids menu. My wife ordered snapper Destin (a specialty of the house, and a tribute to the old Flamingo’s menu). The catch of the day included swordfish, which I try never to pass up. I got mine grilled.
There was a mini-beach set up just under our balcony, with chairs, a hammock and toys. TD must have been hungry; she only asked once to go. She ended up not going, but appreciated the sunset and the harbor lights. Me too.
My swordfish came on a mound of cheese grits with a generous portion of thick, tangy okra and tomato maque choux. Okra may be one of the world’s weirdest plants but it tastes mighty good with tomatoes. The swordfish was lightly seasoned (it needs nothing) and I savored every meaty bite.
My wife’s snapper was loaded down with shrimps and lump crab, on mashed red potatoes with a side of braised greens, with lemon butter, bearnaise and honey-roasted nuts. Neither of us left a bite.
Other dinner choices were sauteed snapper with pasta, pan roasted grouper, cornmeal dusted grouper pecan, beef ribeye or filet, fried chicken, a burger, fried seafood basket, and Maine lobster mac and cheese. Menu items come with imaginative sauces, sides and garnishes, among them Tabasco sorghum, green tomato chow-chow, tomato jam, choriz, and house-cured pickled vegetables. The kitchen proudly serves locally sourced ingredients.
We saved room for dessert. That night it was mystery pecan pie (with a layer of cheesecake), white chocolate cheesecake, six-layer flourless chocolate cake, and the special, pound cake with a choice of fruit preserves. The three of us conferred, and the mystery pie won. It came with bourbon sugar ice cream and berries. TD let us have some. I’m glad she did. Buttery, rich and crunchy pecan pie is already good, but a layer of New York-style cheesecake on top is even more gooder (TD said that).