Living on the Virginia Peninsula has its definite benefits. One of them is access to wonderful seafood. I love crab legs and lobster. My husband loves just about any type of fish. We could eat seafood every day of the week.
There are numerous restaurants on the Peninsula that focuses only on seafood. Some of them are quite good while others are mediocre to poor. Bill’s Seafood House falls somewhere in the middle.
Bill’s is a local restaurant chain that has a couple of locations in Newport News. The one we went to is located on Warwick Boulevard in Newport News, Virginia, adjacent to a strip center and near to historic Hilton.
Bill’s Seafood House is by no means a fancy restaurant. It is family-oriented, very laid back, and quite simple. Neither the outside nor the inside is spectacular to view. They are meant to look somewhat like slightly upscale fishing shacks on the outside. Inside, the décor is simple, minimal, and carries out the “sea” theme.
The restaurant is comfortable looking and welcoming. It is set primarily with tables and chairs that can be arranged and rearranged into different configurations. Seating is not too close together so that every party has a feeling of at least partial privacy.
Our hostess met us promptly at the door and seated us right away. The table was obviously well worn but it was clean and set attractively. The chairs were comfortable. We attended in the evening so the light was subdued with candles on the table.
As we perused the menu our hostess presented us, we gazed around to see how the public seemed to be enjoying their meals. There were several couples eating alone, ranging in age from their late 20’s to their mid 60’s. There were even more families eating together with children ranging in age from about two to around 18. There was also a large birthday party of middle-aged individuals who were obviously having the time of their lives.
We waited about 10 minutes before our waitress made it to our table. However, in all fairness the eatery was pretty well packed and she appeared to be servicing a large section of the dining area. She took are drink orders while we settled on our meals.
As we often do, my husband and I chose a large seafood platter to split. We settled on the Deluxe Seafood Platter, which included shrimp, fish, oysters, scallops, and stuffed crab. It also came with two vegetables and hush puppies for $14.99.
It was about 45 minutes before our meal arrived and by that time we were starving. The food was warm, but not overtly hot. It was tasty but I have had much better and the portion sizes were smaller than we were accustomed to from other seafood places.
The shrimp was no better than frozen out of a box but my husband loved the oysters and I thoroughly enjoyed the scallops. The stuffed crab was okay, although not my favorite. The fish was, however, delightful. The hush puppies were scrumptious and the vegetables – – baked potato and coleslaw – – were average.
All in all, the meal was average, home-cooked style seafood that I could easily make myself. I found it disappointing but my husband enjoyed it. I thought the service was a little slow but that was more due to the fact that there weren’t enough servers rather than the quality of the service provided. With all of that in mind, I’ll be fair and give Bill’s Seafood House three out of five stars.
Here is a cross section of Bill’s menu.
Shrimp Cocktail – $3.99
Oyster Cocktail – $4.99
Clam Chowder – $3.99
Fresh Tossed Salad – $2.49
Oyster Stew – $4.99
Seafood Platters (served with hush puppies and two vegetables):
Deluxe Seafood Platter with fried shrimp, fish, oysters, scallops, and stuffed crab – $14.99
Regular Seafood Platter with fried shrimp, fish, oysters, and stuffed crab – $12.99
Small Seafood Platter with fried shrimp, fish, and oysters – $9.99
Individual Seafood Dinners (served with hush puppies and two vegetables):
Deluxe Oyster Dinner – market price
Small Oyster Dinner – market price
Deluxe Fish Dinner – $8.99
Regular Fish Dinner – $7.99
Small Fish Dinner – $6.99
Regular Stuffed Crabs – $8.49
Small Stuffed Crabs – $6.49
Clam Strips – $6.99
Crab Cakes – $8.99
Broiled Dinners (served with hush puppies and two vegetables):
Flounder or Trout – $8.49
Scallops – $12.00
Scallops, Shrimp, and Crabmeat – $14.99
Stuffed Flounder – $12.99
Snow Crab Legs – $18.99 (1/2 pound)
Crab Cakes – $8.99
Blackened Tuna – $9.99
Pepper Jack Shrimp – $9.99
Shore Food (served with hush puppies and two vegetables):
Ribeye Steak – $14.99
Chicken Strips – $5.99
Pork Barbecue – $5.99
U.S.S. Dinners (Senior Citizens Only):
Popcorn Shrimp, clam strips, and crab cake – $5.49
Soft Crab (in season only) – $5.99
Carrot Cake – $1.99
Key Lime Pie – $2.49
Cheese Cake – $2.49
Bill’s Seafood House also provides takeout orders for an additional cost of $.50 per item. They have banquet facilities available and offer gift certificates for sale.
This wouldn’t be my first choice of seafood restaurants. I don’t know that I would recommend it to my friends, but it is by no means a bad choice. It all depends upon what you are looking for in your meal and in atmosphere and ambience. If you want to be pampered, this isn’t the place to go. However, if you prefer feeling at home, then Bill’s definitely fits the bill.