Right before COVID-19 loomed, a local family opened Southern Coast Seafood in Arlington, which backfilled an old Mudville Grille location. It doesn’t get much fresher than the seafood-centric offerings found on Southern Coast’s menu. We’ve been to the newish spot several times now, and keep coming back for more.
The appetizers — they’re all good! We were impressed by the airiness of the gator fritters ($10), served with a sweet, tangy pepper jelly. The So-Co shrimp and sausage nachos ($12) are a massive mound of tortilla chips piled high with local andouille sausage, blackened Mayport shrimp, pimento queso, pickled Fresno chilies and salsa verde. While we gobbled these up, the fish and chip bites ($11) were our favorite. Order these. A twist on traditional fish and chips, fresh fish pieces meet uber-crunchy housemade potato chips, malt vinegar aioli, crispy bacon, slivers of scallions and pickled Fresno chilies for a kick.
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The fish tacos ($12) or seafood platters — available fried, blackened or grilled — are a natural starting point for seafood-seeking first timers. Platters are paired with fries, cole slaw, hushpuppies and the requisite cocktail and tartar sauces.
I have to say, Southern Coast’s poke bowl ($18) is probably one of the most visually pleasing dishes I’ve consumed lately. It is a medley of flavors, colors and textures. Perfectly cooked sticky rice meets shredded purple cabbage, julienned carrots, marinated sushi-grade tuna, cucumber, avocado, crispy wonton pieces, scallions and a gorgeous yellow-hued, soy-cured egg yolk. (My mouth is watering just typing this.)
My mom had the So-Co shrimp and grits ($18) and polished off her bowl like a true Southerner! Creamy pimento cheese grits topped with andouille sausage, Mayport shrimp, shallots and chilies has to be one of the most comforting dishes invented.
The bacon-sherry charred green beans are another of our go-tos. This note-worthy vegetable side accompanies the fresh catch (market price), which we also thoroughly enjoyed. The preparation — jasmine rice meets smoked mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and a lemon basil beurre blanc sauce — is the best part.
Don’t miss the seasonal dessert cobbler ($6). Our peach cobbler topped with rapidly melting vanilla ice cream and crumbly cobbler bits and fresh mint leaves truly felt like summertime in a bowl.
Caron Streibich is an avid food-lover who reviews restaurants every other week in the Dining section. Follow her dining adventures at Instagram.com/caroneats.
SOUTHERN COAST SEAFOD
1301 Monument Road
Type of cuisine: Southern/seafood.
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Prices: appetizers, $7-$13; soups, $4-$7; salads, $4-$22; handhelds, $10-$14; entrees, $18-market price; sides, $3; desserts, $6-$7.