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Beasy's on the Creek

Summer seems the best season to supper at Beasy's on the Creek.

I came to this conclusion last Saturday as I sat with my husband, sister and one of our friends at a table on the restaurant's spacious deck. Grizzly Peak was visible in the distance, and Ashland Creek gurgled and gushed three stories below us. String lighting, white linens and soft jazz only added to the serenity of the evening.

Through large windows, I could see an equally elegant setting and a cozy, gas fireplace indoors. Nonetheless, I am confident ours was the best seat in the house.

In business since 1996, Beasy's is the namesake of prolific local restaurateur Beasy McMillan. McMillan sold the restaurant to his business partner, Rob Harvey, in 2002.

Except for the prices, the menu seems to have changed very little in the past decade. Harvey says he's added a few things, including scallops, a Caprese salad, clam chowder, barbecued ribs and lobster Thermidor.

The restaurant's full name, Beasy's on the Creek Texas Mediterranean Seafood, Steaks and Pasta, does raise questions, but the menu is fairly traditional and safe. Harvey says the name merely gives him carte blanche to put gumbo and ravioli side by side on the menu.

A co-worker suggested Beasy's was worth another look after she saw it scored a perfect 100 on a recent inspection by the county health department. This is an impressive record for any dinner house, she says.

Because it was a weekend night, I made reservations and was glad I did. The indoor dining room was empty, but almost all the outdoor tables were occupied. Our server showed us to a table at the far end of the deck and returned a few minutes later with ice water and a basket of soft Italian bread from La Baguette.

We started our evening with a bottle of Alexander Valley cabernet sauvignon ($28) and an order of spicy Pacific Rim crabcakes ($13.50). The appetizer came with two thin patties in a zesty but sweet, chili- and ginger-infused sauce with slices of cucumber and lemon and lime wedges on the side.

The cakes had a crunchy exterior around fresh Dungeness crab, green onions and herbs. As the cakes were delicate, we passed the plate around the table so everyone could have a taste. The delicious crabcakes also are available as an entree ($24.50) if two are not enough.

My husband jumped at the chance to sample three meats in one meal and ordered the Cadillac mixed grill ($29), and I chose the ravioli with lobster ($24).

All of Beasy's steaks are sourced from the Pacific Northwest and trimmed in-house. My husband ordered his sirloin steak medium, but it came medium-rare. His plate also came with a grilled chicken breast and three jumbo shrimp, lightly grilled and finished with garlic butter. Steamed broccoli and potatoes au gratin came on the side.

Harvey says the ravioli with lobster is one of the most popular dishes on the menu and is a variation of Cucina Biazzi's recipe. The dish was very rich with four plump, ricotta-stuffed dumplings and about six chunks of lobster in a sweet, lemony cream sauce. The citrus flavor was subtle but remedied with a squeeze of lemon, which came on the side.

All entrees come with either salad or gumbo. My husband and I both ordered the house "hearts of romaine" salad — romaine and crumbled blue cheese in a tangy vinaigrette. Next time, I'll order the gumbo, which a past reviewer recommended.

My sister ordered Beasy's "BackRoom" salad a la carte ($9.50). The salad lacked color and variety and was simply a few diced tomatoes and a pile of iceberg lettuce in a garlic-olive oil dressing. Blackened salmon, grilled prawns, fresh Dungeness crab and grilled chicken can be added to any of the restaurant's dinner salads for an additional $7 to $10.

Other entrees that piqued our interest included chicken Inca Inca ($18), a spicy dish made with jalapenos, garlic and lime juice; Tuscan chicken ($18), served on a bed of angel hair pasta and fresh spinach; and halibut ($30), grilled and topped with lemon-dill beurre blanc.

For dessert, there's white-chocolate cheesecake, creme caramel and bread pudding with a warm, whiskey-caramel sauce. If we were any less full, we would have indulged.

— Teresa Thomas