Goof Coast

Deep Ellum seafood restaurant can't figure itself out

Entrées are parked under the designation "supper." Blackened catfish with angel hair pasta, an entrée that mingles the New Orleans and Italian influences, arrives as a tangle of well-prepared pasta next to the two catfish fillets. The pasta is bathed in a lemon-butter sauce that sloughed off a strange sweetness--the kind that makes you wonder about the butter. The blackening on those catfish fillets seemed timid, and while portions of the fillet were sweet and flaky, the thinner stretches along the fillet's edges were rubbery.

Red beans and rice came with three pieces of juicy, chewy sausage with a skin that was grilled to an elusive crisp. The sausages were planted on a bed of red beans with a bay leaf protruding from it. The beans even had a little sweetness on the finish.

Spicy meatball and spaghetti was actually a pair of bland meatballs the size of bulldozer bearings. These massive balls were planted on a bed of spaghetti all bathed in a sticky, slightly sweet tomato sauce. The meatballs were desperately meaty (as opposed to swamped with bread fillers), and they had an evident but wimpy spice kick.

Flipped out: The everything-goes ambience at Gulf Coast extends to  the hit-n-miss menu.
Stephen P. Karlisch
Flipped out: The everything-goes ambience at Gulf Coast extends to the hit-n-miss menu.

Details

214-651-9533. Open 11 a.m.-12 a.m. Monday-Saturday. $-$$

Raw oyster cocktail (6): $4.95
Sautéed shrimp with artichoke: $7.95
Tomato vegetable soup (cup) $2.95
Fried crawfish tails: $7.95
Catfish po boy: $7.95
Spicy meatball and spaghetti: $7.95
Red beans and rice with sausage: $7.95
Blackened catfish with angel hair: $10.95
Monster bread pudding: $4.95

Closed Location

Catfish po' boy was also timid and utilitarian. This sandwich was nothing more than a pair of moist catfish fillets stuffed into a French roll smeared with mayo and cluttered with lettuce shreds. All the ingredients were moist, and they didn't taste like mud or a musty closet, but the flavors didn't do anything either. This sandwich was crying for a pestering, maybe with pepper sauce.

To conclude a meal at The Gulf Coast, it's probably best to sample Mundinger's root-beer float. Because the other option, the monster bread pudding with amaretto sauce, is too beastly for delicate taste buds. This creation is a gargantuan wedge topped with little slices of toast that are dusted with cocoa. It's dense, rubbery and doughy to the point of requiring a one-bite limit. Any more than that and the palate might rebel--and maybe the digestive plumbing, too. And no matter how alcoholic the sauce, it couldn't get any traction on this sponge-rubber heap, so there wasn't even a curtain of sweetness behind which to hide from its flagrant flaws.

Perhaps instead of retreading an Anglo-Saxon confection, The Gulf Coast might do well to stick to its New Orleans/Italian mongrel pedigree and do something deliciously rude to a tiramisu.

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