Shoal Shocked

The Lighthouse doesn't quite work

Just then we notice a chef walk by. Our server introduces him to us as Javier Pérez, the new Lighthouse executive chef. Our server explains that Pérez was executive chef at Nicholini's. Indeed, on his chef's coat is embroidered "Nicholini's" next to his name. We wonder why The Lighthouse doesn't give him a Lighthouse chef's coat instead of making him borrow the one from his old job, but we ask him about the snail sauce instead. Pérez explains the sauce is a typical wine/veal stock reduction. Then he mumbles something about gristle and pork fat. We wonder about this, too.

But our perplexity is diverted when the crab cakes arrive. After sampling the cakes, we wonder if there are little knives to go with the little snail forks because these cakes seemed more like something to spread on crackers than something to eat with a fork. The Crab cakes came with shoestring potatoes that looked like potato chips with a waffle pattern. These were stale. After they take our plate away, we wonder why no one tried to spread the crab cakes onto the potato chips to see if that made anything taste better.

The Lighthouse fancies itself a seafood and steakhouse supper club. But it's mostly a steakhouse. Virgil Block, the Rowlett businessman who opened The Lighthouse, named the seven USDA prime Midwest, grain-fed steaks on the menu after his seven grandchildren. We order a medium Lauren's petite filet mignon and a medium-rare Brittany's bone-in rib eye. Lauren arrives well-done, so we send it back. Brittany is a little overcooked, too, but we decide to work with her. Brittany has an off, sour taste, which grew to resemble blue cheese the closer you got to the bone. Very spooky.

The Lighthouse's tower on Lake Ray Hubbard makes it easy to find, but don't bother looking.
Stephen P. Karlisch
The Lighthouse's tower on Lake Ray Hubbard makes it easy to find, but don't bother looking.


972-463-1210. Open for dinner 5-11 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday; open for brunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. $$-$$$

Escargot: $9.95
Crab cakes: $8.95
Laurenís petite filet mignon: $22.95
Brittanyís bone-in rib eye: $27.95
Herb-crusted Chilean sea bass: $26.95
Mixed seafood grill: $26.95

9900 Lakeview Parkway, Rowlett

The seafood wasn't named after anyone. This didn't help much. Mixed seafood grill had sea bass, salmon and jumbo shrimp. We doubted any of these items kissed a grill, although they very well could have necked with microwaves. There were no singe marks, and the fish textures were spongy and mushy. The shrimp was dry and rubbery. A tail was catapulted across the table and disappeared into the supper club darkness when we tried to cut it with a fork. We never found it. We wonder if anyone else did.

Herb-crusted sea bass arrived with Alaskan crab claws on a bed of garlic-whipped potatoes, spinach and mango chutney. It was hard to tell what was what. The fish resembled the potatoes, and the chutney resembled the fish in its garlic-whipped potato mimicry. The fish was spongy and soggy. The crab claws were mealy and overcooked. Someone at our table wondered why they didn't just serve fish out of Lake Ray Hubbard. Then someone else at our table mentioned offal and storm drains.

We didn't need to order dessert, because Lauren arrived just as our plates were cleared. We all took pieces of Lauren, savoring her perfect medium hue and the bitter grill singe covering her surface. After devouring Lauren, we were too bewildered to try The Lighthouse apple crunch.

So we go back to Club She. We order Echelon Pinot Noir by the glass just to see what we get. We wonder if Southpaw and Saxman can cook, too.

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