Captain Al’s Steak and Seafood finally has a home by the water.
For years, diners drove up Cowan-Lorraine Road to enjoy the restaurant’s steaks, seafood and appetizers and crabmeat salad. Then owner Stacey Magnusen and her brother, Albert Magnusen, grabbed the opportunity to move closer to town and secure more space when the building that formerly housed Guanajuato became available. It sits near the bank of Bayou Bernard and is handily located on Magnolia Street just off Cowan-Lorraine. Confession: I had never been to Captain Al’s, even though I’ve lived on the Coast since 1994. Go figure.
I went one recent sunny weekday for lunch. It was a little too warm for the nevertheless tempting, covered outdoor seating (there are floor fans), so I went inside to dine. I got there at 11, but business already was bustling with a mixture of business people, military and those who appeared to be either on vacation or off work for a few days. The Magnusens also now have a bar, which the previous location lacked.
The name is Captain Al’s Steak and Seafood, but I was having one of those days when I wasn’t craving a surf and turf platter. Truth is, I wanted a salad, but a filling one. My solution was the Ribeye Salad ($11.99), an 8-ounce ribeye diced over a garden salad. OK, so I decided I wanted a hint of seafood, so my server added a bit of crab on for a little extra. All of their dressings are house-made, I learned. I went with the spicy honey mustard. Oh, and a sweet tea with lemon to make it feel special.
There’s a basket of Captain’s Wafers (appropriate) on each table for nibbling while you wait. You don’t wait long for your tea, which was nicely Southern sweet. Then came my salad.
First of all, it’s huge but not intimidatingly so. I was pleased to see the steak was, indeed, medium rare, just as I ordered it. And the salad came with four — yes, four — containers of salad dressing, much more than I needed, but for those of you who like a lot of dressing, you won’t be disappointed.
Customers can watch their steaks being grilled over pecan logs in the very visible open fire pit near the kitchen. It adds to the fun of eating out and almost feels personal. “Hey, that’s my steak cooking right there!” you might say.
By the way, if you liked the seasoning on your steak and the house-made dressings, they’re available for sale at the register.
Cooler weather is supposed to be on the way. I might have to go back and sit out on the deck and enjoy life on the bayou, even if it’s just for lunch or dinner.
If you go
What: Captain Al’s Steak and Seafood
Where: 1458 Magnolia St., Gulfport (northeast corner of Cowan-Lorraine Road and Magnolia Street)
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday
Specialties: Steak, seafood, crab salad, gumbo, homemade dressings, Key lime pie