Western Addition, the restaurant group behind the Post Oak Plaza Italian restaurant Il Bracco, has opened a new restaurant in the same area, and the result is Balboa Surf Club, a stunning oasis with a seafood focus.
The restaurant, which inhabits the former Masraff’s space on the corner of Post Oak Boulevard and San Felipe Street, has gone through a complete renovation that attempts to channel a 1970s surf bungalow with Brazilian brutalist architecture, but in some ways, can make a diner feel like they’re in a swanky tree house, thanks to the incorporation of natural wood and millwork, live plants, and plenty of natural light.
Award-winning Texas architect, Michael Hsu Office of Architecture, and Mary Lucille Quick, Western Additions vice president of design, dreamed up the restaurant’s design, outfitting the 7,200-square foot space with a dining room complete with 127 seats, including intimate emerald green booths, many of which are illuminated by skylights, plus an eye-catching full-service bar that proves to be a hotspot to dine. The outdoor covered patio, which faces Post Oak Boulevard, is another dining and hangout spot, prepared with furniture for all of Houston’s finicky weather, including fans and heaters, a fire pit, and a fountain for a calming effect.
Named after Balboa Island, an island off of the coast of California, Balboa Surf Club’s menu also sticks to the Pacific-inspired theme with a seafood-heavy menu featuring dishes like wild-caught Nantucket grilled scallops, jumbo lump crab-loaded corn chowder, crab cakes, miso-glazed salmon, and halibut tostadas. Sushi, made in the open-air sushi kitchen with rice prepared every 45 minutes, is also a main fixture of the menu, with standout rolls like the Thai Shrimp Roll, a combination of jumbo Gulf shrimp, carrot, green papaya, Fresno chilies, and cashews — all served with a homemade ponzu sauce.
Though seafood is the focus, the restaurant strives to cater to all diners, with robust salads, burgers, and steaks that are butchered in-house daily — a fusion of American dishes that is reminiscent of Hillstone restaurants, formerly Houston’s, which Western Addition president and CEO Robert Quick once managed while working with the Hillstone Restaurant Group. Its bread, tortillas used to make tostadas, and desserts like the Coconut Quatro Leches Cake are also made fresh in the in-house bakery.
And like its neighboring sister restaurant, Il Bracco, Balboa offers a wide selection of wines, as seen in its picturesque glass wine room located in the back of the venue, plus cocktails, like the Rum Dum, made with Mt. Gay rums, fresh lemon, and egg white; and the Bracco, a frozen Greyhound cocktail made with Aperol and fresh grapefruit that’s served at all Western Addition establishments.
Founded in 2018, the Western Addition Restaurant Group has headquarters in both Houston and Dallas, where it opened the first Il Bracco in 2019 and Bobbie’s Airway Grill earlier this year. The restaurant group opened the Houston location of Il Bracco in 2022.
Balboa Surf Club is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. 1753 Post Oak Boulevard, 77056.