Steve's Gastronomic Home Page

Pelican's Restaurant

130 Shadow Mountain Dr.
El Paso, TX
(915) 581-1392

It is somewhat of a daunting task to operate an upscale seafood restaurant in the desert Southwest, and although Pelican's does not serve fish with the same degree of freshness that can be found on the coast, it does pretty well considering its location.

Having enjoyed some truly outstanding seafood in other cities, my expectations in El Paso are diminished not only because of the distance food must be transported, but also because of most restaurants' definition of "seafood." Many of the better restaurants, including Pelican's, offer a good variety of fish. The single most popular dish, though, and the one that seems to offer the most flavor, is fried shrimp. I have tried numerous types of fish, both at Pelican's and at other restaurants, but it is usually the shellfish that seems to be made with expertise that makes it come out the way that would be expected in a good quality restaurant. Pelican's may offer a good variety of fish on the menu, but I do not think they all live up to the quality I would expect in a good seafood restaurant.

Shrimp dinner
Shrimp dinner

Judging from the orders that come out to the tables, a large number of customers seem to view Shrimp as the thing to order at Pelican's. The fried shrimp I tried was less greasy and with larger pieces than I have found elsewhere, so I have to agree that this is one of the things Pelican's does best. Shrimp cocktail can also be ordered, but this is something I never order and rarely sample, so I am not sure how Pelican's compares with other restaurants.

Halibut special
Halibut special

Pelican's usually offers a "catch of the day" with types of fish that are not always available. The Halibut was fairly good, with an interesting green chile topping I tried on my last visit.

Although Salmon is frequently included in the "catch of the day" menu, the "fresh Alaska King Salmon" tasted more like "frozen Atlantic Salmon." The saving features of this dish were the seasoning and the fact that it was cooked very professionally. In general salmon is my first choice for seafood, but Pelican's seems to be much more adept at preparing other types of fish, particularly the mild white fish that is generally a big seller in El Paso. Pelican's certainly does not serve the worst salmon I have ever had, but other types of fish appear to be better choices.

Pelican's salad
Pelican's salad

A Salad included with all dinner plates comes loaded with ingredients such as broccoli, carrots, and green onions. I used to enjoy the "unlimited salad bowls" Pelican's served in the past, similar to a salad bar except that it was brought to the table. The salad is probably exactly the same as before, but it seemed better when I could choose to fill up on the items I preferred (usually the lettuce, green onions, and tomatoes). I used to think it was worth a trip to Pelican's just because of the salad, but that would not be as big a factor today.

Some of the Baked Potatoes I have been served tasted undercooked and as if it were cooked in a microwave. I also remember them coming with excellent toppings in the past, but now it seems to be mostly sour cream.

Oysters
Oysters Rockefeller

Oysters Rockefeller is one of the appetizers available, but I think is substantial enough to make a meal. I did not think the oysters were particularly notable, though.

Pelican's has a large bar that at times seems more popular then the restaurant (I especially thought this when smoking was allowed at the bar). Now I would say this affects the restaurant only in the sense of making it noisier and sometimes making the parking lot much more crowded.

If I enjoyed shrimp as much as fish, Pelican's might be one of my top choices in town (especially with the salad that used to be better but is still good). I am so particular about having fresh fish, though, that I am afraid Pelican's will never quite live up to my expectations as a full-fledged fish restaurant. It may be enough knowing that the fish at Pelican's is one of the healthiest meals that can be found in El Paso, but for great flavor it is probably better to look for something with a more local source.

RESTAURANT DETAILS

RATING: 18

Cuisine: Seafood
Cost: $$$
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Additional Location: 1780 N. Lee Trevino Dr.
Smoking: No Smoking
Alcohol: Beer, Wine

Most Recent Visit
May 22, 2008

Number of Visits: 10+

Best Items
Shrimp, Salad

Special Ratings
Shrimp:
Halibut:
Salmon:
Oysters:
Salad:



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