Justine’s, located at the Golden Shores Marina in Herricks Bay, offers plenty of outdoor seating overlooking Sabine Lake. You can come by boat and dock at the marina or if it’s full blow your horn and they will happily send a launch to pick you up.
They have an extensive menu from the standard local southern dishes such as She Crab Soup and Fried Catfish to the more exotic Spicy Shrimp Curry and Crawfish Risotto. The special of the day was a Tandoori-Charred Rainbow Trout, with its delicate blend of ginger, turmeric and garam masala this was a treat to both taste and smell. Chef Maris Galloway served one of the best paella this reviewer has ever tasted. I added a lobster tail, an option with any entrée, to accompany the abundance of clams and mussels with chunks of crabmeat, chicken and sausage. There was the perfect amount of soccarat – the slightly toasted rice at the bottom of the pan, further proof their chef has mastered this dish.
The stuffing for the artichoke had a mix of parmesan and romano cheese, the small bits of prosciutto created a wonderful and unexpected flavor which elevatated the dish to sublime. The restaurant also served it without the prosciutto for their vegetarian guest.
I was joined on the occasion by my sister and her family, giving me the opportunity to try many of the dishes. The Miso-glazed Black Cod in Coconut Broth had just the right blend of sweet from the coconut and salty due to the miso. Not everything Justine’s serves is seafood. The small nibble I had of the Honey Apricot Pork Chops hinted at a bit of cinnamon. I wish I could tell you more, but my brother-in-law was not in a sharing mood.
Misha, my six-year-old nephew, is one of those eaters you have to coax to take every bite. He shocked us all when he stopped our waitress as she went by and ordered himself a second helping of the fried shrimp from the ‘Minnow Menu’.
While the food is sophisticated, the atmosphere can best be described as playfully casual. Although it is not actually in the confines of Justine’s, the Golden Shores Marine has a spacious game room for all ages with an arcade offering classic pinball machines, pool tables and even a ballpen for the little visitors. I expected the restaurant to be noisy with all the activity just beyond the main door, but it was not. However, many of the guest seemed to have trouble staying seated and roamed in and out, not what I would usually expect at these prices, but with the marina’s family fun attitude and the views of the water I can’t criticize the other diners for taking advantage of all the place has going on.
The decor of Justine’s is complementary to the rest of the marina and its color scheme is ‘bountiful’, with a happy assortment of pinks and blue and greens and yellow, oh my. In fact the only thing I recall being white were the plates. Justine’s has karaoke on Thursday nights. The Golden Shore Marina, which also houses a burger joint called The Castaways that has an open mic night on Wednesday, provides live music on an outdoor stage Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoon, weather permitting.