Bay City Grill
5675 Hwy 43
Satsuma, AL 36572
Poor Lucas got the short end of the spring break stick. The Alabama School of Math and Science vacation was a week earlier than everyone else’s, so there was no way to take all of the boys on a spring trip at the same time. Katie and I were too busy to take any real time off ourselves, so this was a year of hanging around the house.
I felt bad about him having little to do, so I started the week with a memorable trip to Biloxi for lunch at Mary Mahoney’s. This familiar old haunt is a favorite of mine, and despite not having been in four years or so, I still thought they nailed it. It was a perfect father/son outing I doubt we will match anytime soon.
Later that week, I found myself in a position to review a restaurant, and Lucas was more than willing to go along. So was Rob. We three musketeers — or, more accurately, three little pigs — traveled north to Satsuma amidst more road construction (’tis the season) and landed at Bay City Grill.
It’s a popular spot with a full parking lot and a building where the front door looks like it may actually be the back door. Of course, Lucas and I second-guessed our way through the back like idiots and snagged the last indoor table as we waited on Rob to get there.
This place has lots of fans as evidenced by the crowded dining room, mostly appearing to be regulars, so our hopes were high. While waiting on Rob, Lucas decided on the loaded Philly cheesesteak fries ($9.89). We knew Rob had given up potatoes for Lent, so we hoped to make these disappear before his arrival. The crinkle-cut fries were topped with grilled sirloin, green peppers and onions and covered in cheese. The description says there is hot relish in there too, but we couldn’t really get that out of the dish. Overall, they were pretty good, just lacking something. They seemed a touch dry, but edible for sure. Maybe they needed more cheese or dripping juice from the meat. Once the toppings were gone, these turned into pretty decent fries with ketchup.
Rob strolls in and we order chicken wings ($11.99 per dozen). They served them with ranch but were happy to oblige when we asked for bleu cheese. Of the six different styles, I thought it best to try Buffalo sauce. Boy, was I right. These wings were really good and could be competitive next to all of your favorite Mobile wings. They weren’t excessively hot, just present with the heat, and had a tremendous flavor. Not only were they a nice size, but they were cooked right, too. Not a one was left behind, and the sauce found its way onto leftover fries.
Known for their hamburgers, Lucas was quick to jump on a Mahalo burger ($8.49): grilled pineapple and bacon on top of Swiss and American cheese with tomato over a teriyaki-glazed burger. He liked it OK and afforded me the last bite. We both agreed there was too much pineapple, and we perhaps would have been better off with a mushroom burger or something similar. It just didn’t come together as well as we’d hoped.
Rob knocked it out of the park with his catfish basket ($8.49). I’m more of a whole catfish kind of guy, but the center-cut strip he gave me was cooked and seasoned as it should be. I felt the flake of the fish was just right, and it was neither dry nor oily, cooked at the right temp for the right amount of time by a person who really knows the fryer. Normally served over a bed of fries, Rob smartly substituted a side salad with bleu cheese dressing.
Since Rob stole my first choice of catfish, I had to reroute my path. My eyes scanned the menu in panic mode, and I blurted out the first thing that made me think twice. The Reuben ($7.99) seemed like a good idea at the time. We needed to report on the Bay City Grill sandwich game, and hey, I’m as much of a fan of sauerkraut as Germans are fans of stringing along vowels.
My sandwich came out on marble rye, impressive if you want to tone down the sting of the seedy bread. The result was very mild and flat, not very sour or rye-like at all. There was a good portion of meat on the sandwich that seemed fresh from the meat slicer, but not much was done to it. It was warm but not hot, and the whole sandwich could have benefitted from toastier bread and perhaps steamed or grilled guts. The scant amount of dressing and sauerkraut didn’t help.
There was nothing offensive about it, but also nothing daring, and the whole thing just sort of fell flat. I ate all of the first half of the cross-cut sandwich and didn’t bother boxing up the second.
If I were to find myself back in Bay City Grill again, I would probably try the chili cheese fries. I would definitely get the wings. For a hamburger, I would play it closer to traditional. Maybe a club sandwich would be a better choice for lunch than something hot. While I have some complaints, the menu is so large you can’t expect them to knock everything out of the park. We found redemption in wings and catfish.
Despite my complaints, I would advise them to not change a thing. Your parking lot is full. Your servers should be happy. Satsuma seems to love you. I’m just looking for something that would make me want to drive the distance to Exit 19. This isn’t it.
This page is available to our local subscribers. Click here to join us today and get the latest local news from local reporters written for local readers. The best deal is found by clicking here. Check it out now.