Review: Banana Dock's Cafe - Mobile, AL

Over the holidays, my siblings and I took my mother to the Banana Docks Cafe. I had long wanted to try this locally owned seafood place since I moved back from Nashville in '98. You see prior to moving to Tennessee to become a rock and roll super star I had live in an apartment across the street from Banana Docks, only it wasn't Banana Docks then. It was a late night rock club perfectly placed so that I could drink to excess without placing the public at risk by drinking and driving.

Much had changed. Gone was the plain cement floor and minimalist decor (in other words unpainted cinder block walls). Someone had turned it that dingy old dive into something somewhere between a Tiki hut and a beachside eatery, only without the beach.

Our group split an appetizer portion of the Docks famous Hand Battered Onion Rings made with red onions. They were delicious especially dipped in the house Remoulade.

One sister ordered the Caesar salad with blackened Gulf Grouper. She was quite happy with her choice. My mother, the guest of honor, ordered the chicken salad on croissant which she only ate half of. I was to benefit for her eating too many onion rings by taking home the rest of the sandwich. It was one of the best I have ever had. It wasn't sweet which is rare in the South.

My brother ordered the fried seafood platter and though satisfied with the freshness and portions of the dish was not found of the flour-heavy batter preferring more cornmeal for his seafood. My other sister got the fried oyster Po' Boy, a staple around these parts and judging by her silence was quite happy with her choice.

I ordered something a little out of the ordinary (as I am apt to do). There on the sandwich menu was an Oyster BLT. Crisp lettuce, thick cut applewood smoked bacon, ripe red tomato and a handful of crispy fried oysters all on a croissant. It was terrific. I would never have thought the croissant would have worked with the other ingredients but it did. As my side I tried a cup of the soup-of-the-day, Brunswick Stew. It was nice, more tomatoey (if that's a word) than BBQie (dito) and full of potatoes and meat.

The menu includes many of the usual Third Coast delicacies like fried dill pickles, West Indies Salad and award-winning seafood gumbo. They also have some dishes particular to Banana Docks like the aforementioned Oyster BLT and Thai shrimp salad. The service was quite good especially considering that they were a little understaffed. The five of us left full and more importantly with another great memory of time spent with family. Oh yeah, and I had scored half of that chicken salad croissant for a snack later.

Banana Docks has a very popular champagne brunch each Sunday packed with omelets and seafood. You can find them in the Westhill neighborhood at 36 Hillcrest Road or call 251-342-2775.
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