Restaurants / Openings

Balboa Surf Club Brings Fresh Seafood, Sushi, and Great Service to Houston’s Post Oak Plaza

From The Owners of il Bracco, This Destination Spot Impresses

BY // 03.18.24

Houstonians don’t have to travel out of the city to get a taste of the sea. Founded in 2018, Texas-based Western Addition Restaurant Group brings American seafood favorites straight to the Bayou City with Balboa Surf Club.

The group behind Uptown favorite il Bracco is focused on creating restaurants that welcome guests through inspired décor, graceful service, and delicious food. Balboa Surf Club does all that, and more.

Balboa Surf Club5
Balboa Surf Club features a large covered patio that runs the length of Post Oak Boulevard.

The Restaurant

Balboa Surf Club is situated in Post Oak Plaza, on the corner of Post Oak and San Felipe, occupying the former Masraff’s space. The location underwent a complete renovation and is sure to delight longtime neighborhood diners with its fresh feel and vacation-ready vibes. An abundance of natural light, live plants, and colorful art create a relaxing, playful, and timeless atmosphere that whisks you away to another time and place.

The 7,200-square-foot space has 127 seats in the dining room and features intimate booths, a full-service inside bar, and a large covered patio that runs the length of Post Oak Boulevard. Balboa Surf Club was designed by award-winning Texas architect Michael Hsu Office of Architecture, in conjunction with Mary Lucille Quick, VP of Design for Western Addition and principal partner of MMaison. Elevated and interesting design details abound, such as port windows, rich millwork, and artfully placed skylights. Design inspiration for the space draws from the Brazilian brutalist style, seen in the towering facade and dramatic entryway, and the ’70s surf bungalow, as evidenced by the abundance of tropical plants and handmade, colorful tile. 

The 1,200-square-foot patio, heated in winter and cooled by fans in the summer, hosts tables for al fresco diners, as well as lounge seating around a hand-poured concrete outdoor fire pit. The jewel of the space is a 60-foot infinity edge fountain running along the exterior, hushing Post Oak traffic and offering the sense of a tropical getaway.

Art for the restaurant is from the Quicks’ personal collection and was curated especially for the space by Mary Lucille. Original works and limited-run prints from notable artists include Matt Kleberg, Alexander Girard, Frank Stella, Irving Penn, and Elizabeth Murray.

Balboa Surf Club menu favorites including Miso Salmon, Spicy Tuna, and Baja Seafood Cocktail

The Menu

Balboa Surf Club’s menu is as notable as the restaurant’s design and aesthetic. Open for lunch and dinner all seven days a week, Balboa Surf Club offers upscale seafood dishes with a focus on high-quality ingredients and made-from-scratch cooking that elevates an approachable menu. Quality, freshness, and attention to detail are at the heart of everything Balboa Surf Club does. Sushi rice is prepared fresh every 45 minutes, tortillas are made in-house and then fried into tostadas to be served warm alongside made-to-order guacamole, and every aspect of their burgers is handmade along the way.

Standout starters include Crispy Oysters with Flower Street vinaigrette and lemon, Coconut Shrimp, toasted coconut battered rock shrimp with a spicy mayo sauce for dipping, and a Corn Chowder with jumbo lump crab, potatoes, bacon, and shiitake mushrooms. 

Hearty entrée salads, perfect for lunch or dinner, include the Seared Tuna Niçoise, with seared #1 ahi tuna, new potatoes, green beans, and Kalamata olives and tomatoes; The Moroccan, made with rotisserie chicken, Medjool dates, herbs, roasted carrots, pistachios, and French feta; and an Iceberg Wedge with warm blistered tomatoes, herbs, bacon lardons, and Pt. Reyes blue cheese, which is available at lunch as the Prime Wedge with the addition of USDA Prime filet.

Balboa Surf Club4
A thoughtfully curated sushi program boasts premium seafood and unique flavors at Balboa Surf Club.

A thoughtfully curated sushi program boasts premium seafood and unique flavors, such as the Thai Shrimp Roll with jumbo gulf shrimp, carrot, green papaya, Fresno chilies, and cashews and the Salmon Roll with Patagonia salmon, avocado, apple, and ginger.

Crowd pleasers include a classic California Roll, Rainbow Roll, and Spicy Tuna Roll. Quality and freshness are evident in the simple, yet decadent Nigiri Plate with dressed #1 ahi tuna, salmon, and jumbo scallops on seasoned rice. Adventurous diners may add Santa Barbara Uni. Do not miss the selection of luxurious handrolls, including the King Crab Handroll, made with an Alaskan King Crab leg and wrapped in seasoned rice and crispy nori.

A selection of go-to sandwiches for any time of day includes offerings like the El Pescador featuring pan-fried grouper, pickles, and tartar sauce on a house-made bun. A Cheeseburger, made with house-ground chuck, jack cheese, pickles, lettuce, tomato, onion, and Channel Island sauce; as well as a Tuna Burger, offered at lunch, made with #1 seared ahi tuna, avocado, and jalapeño coleslaw on a toasted bun.

The menu also features substantial proteins, for meat and seafood lovers, such as the jumbo lump Crab Cake served with lemon dill sauce and French fries. Nantucket, wild-caught, Grilled Scallops served over creamed corn, with salsa verde, as well as two USDA Prime steaks, a Center Cut Filet, and the Post Oak Ribeye, are cooked over the Texas Post Oak woodfire grill.

Regardless of your order, Balboa Surf Club’s bar is here to help you pair the perfect drink with your entree. House cocktails include Uptown favorite “The Bracco” – a frozen greyhound with Aperol and fresh grapefruit made famous at sister restaurant il Bracco. It also has classic cocktails, such as a Rum Dum – with Mt. Gay rums, fresh lemon, and egg white or a Vesper martini – stirred, not shaken – with Bombay Sapphire, Tito’s, and Lillet Blanc. The Gold Rush with Michter’s, local honey, and fresh lemon is also extremely popular. The bar menu is rounded out by a thoughtfully curated, extensive (yet approachable) wine list with interesting finds, as well as big names — a feature that Western Addition restaurants are known for. 

Of course, all good meals end with dessert. Amongst the house-made offerings are a decadent Coconut Quatro Leches Cake and a Miso Caramel Sundae with dark chocolate and chopped macadamia nuts.

Whether you’re looking for a date night, family night, or girls’ night, you can’t go wrong with a reservation at Balboa Surf Club.