Boxing Day, as soon the fireworks subside, I usually embark on an ambitious diet plan. For the record, in early January 2018, my good intentions only lasted one day because Executive Chef Matt Boland, who ruined the plan with his new lunch menu at Gilligan’s Seafood Shack seaside at the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino.
A few things ruined my diet that day, not just one, but the chief culprit was the Lost Island Lobster and Crab Grilled Cheese, loaded with chunky lobster and crab salad, pepper jack cheese, and island slaw, on brioche Texas toast, with chipotle aioli.
And Texas toast meant that the brioche, a tasty butter and egg enriched French bread, was sliced at double the average thickness of most sliced breads.
It was a temptation I couldn’t resist, I love crab and I love lobster and the warm golden-brown crust of that fat sandwich was pure decadence with the spicy, gooey cheese in the center.
I shared a few menu items with Nunette Maduro, she is a skinny-mini, she can take it. True to the restaurant’s name, the Gilligan’s Seafood Shack menu now features a number of lobster and crab combos such as Lobster, Shrimp & Corn Fritters with a citrus chili sauce, the Millionaire’s Lobster Roll, with lobster and crab salad, celery, tarragon herb mayo, Dijon mustard, and a squirt of lemon on a buttery toasted bun; Crab Cake Burger BLT, with an old bay lump crab cake, bacon, lettuce, tomato, crispy onions, coleslaw, and a lemon herb tartar sauce with French fries.
The fries deserve a big mention on their own. They are real fries, made from whole potatoes, crazy delicious, they have never seen the inside of a freezer or been to any factory, the Belgians take credit for inventing the frites, but Gilligan’s Seafood Shack perfected them.
The menu also includes other notable dishes named after the characters of a legendary sitcom from the 60s, the year the resort was originally constructed, Gilligan’s Island, about seven tourists accidentally stranded on an island, and their failed escapes from it.
On my list to try one day, the Coconut Shrimp with mango sauce, I already know that the seared Ahi Tuna Salad with sweet chili orange vinaigrette on a bed of green is phenomenal, and have eyed the Grilled Salmon Salad, with a mango salsa, next.
Fish Taco? Of course, filled with crispy grouper and chipotle cream.
Our waitress revealed that Freddy’s Crispy Fish Fry with lemon dill tartar is the most popular lunch item, competing with the grouper sandwich, with a lemon dill sauce. Her eyes sparkled when she said that, apparently guests love the new lunch menu.
Anyway, and that’s just on the Sea Side of the menu. The Land Side is also filled with deliciousness: Castaways Chicken Sate, escorted by coconut peanut sauce and shrimp crackers, and the jaw breaking burgers, USDA half pounders, quesadillas, wraps, chicken wings, chicken sandwiches, pita pockets, salads, all served with chef Matt’s signature throw-caution-to-the-wind-let’s-just-make-it-as-delicious-as-possible attitude.
Great view, to match the serious food!
From the resort’s newsletter
MATT BOLAND, Executive Chef: It is with great pleasure that we extend a warm bon bini to the one and only Chef Matt Boland. Chef Matt opened up our prime steakhouse, Sunset Grille, in the year 2000 and he is now back as our Executive Chef. Matt will dedicate his talent to develop a fresh concept for Gilligan’s Seafood Shack, our seaside restaurant and continue to nurture and expand the steakhouse experience at the Sunset Grille, enhancing the already very welcoming environment with over-the-top delicious culinary offerings, infusing innovation, and producing cutting edge food.