One of the strange things about dining in Montgomery is the small number of places that have great outdoor seating. Sure, we have some pretty brutal heat in the middle of the summer. But much of the rest of the year is nice for sitting outside, even if you need a sweatshirt. We’re lucky to live near Sinclair’s and El Rey so we can take advantage of their nice patios. And sometimes we’ll get a drink at Noble’s, where the tiny fenced in patio transports you to a tropical paradise. Especially if the parrot is hanging out with you. Which is why we were so delighted to re-discover the Marina Bar and Grill.
I say re-discover, because one of us had been for lunch a few times last year and pronounced it bad. Not just okay, but straight ahead bad. At the beginning of the summer, the place re-opened under new management (the previous owner passed away), and we went with some work friends to give it a try.
It is damn hard to find the Marina if you’ve never been there before. Or even if you have. You have to drive through parts of Montgomery that seem entirely burned out, overgrown, impossibly poor, and improbably abandoned. You keep having to remind yourself that you are still in Montgomery. It’s really shocking. Once you get to the Marina (just past the place where the Montgomery Rowing Club keeps their equipment), you’re not even sure you are in the right place.
When we were there a few weeks ago, they had no sign. But inside it’s nice. The service is friendly, the tea is good, the beer is cheap, and you can sit outside! In the shade or in the sun! Near the river! And see downtown! There should be many more places that offer this kind of amenity. We know the Mayor is busy, but somebody should take the initiative to do some work on the other side of the river as well.
We are pleased to report that the food is greatly improved. The catfish sandwich was very, very good – one of the very best fish sandwiches in town. The shrimp po boy was also quite tasty. Not full of frozen and flavorless shrimp, like we expected. But it was on good bread and the shrimp were properly cooked and spiced. Tasty! Our dining companions pronounced their chicken salad sandwich and shrimp basket to be good as well.
The fries are crispy and salty and just what you want in a side. It’s nice to leave a lunch of this kind of food not feeling vaguely cheated, and we think part of this might have to do with the wonderful views and the beachside atmosphere. We are really looking forward to going back sometime and watching the sun set over our beautiful river.