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Now open: Turf N' Surf Po' Boy

Matthew Odam
modam@statesman.com
The downtown spot makes its home in a weathered ship container.

Second Street at Congress Avenue. Hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. For Web information, visit austin360.com/themo.

If the faint smell of saltwater infiltrates your head as you walk by Second Street and Congress Avenue, no one could blame you.

Turf N Surf Po' Boy, the 10-day-old addition to the downtown trailer scene, is housed in a rusty old ship container that looks like it was sitting on a beach for the past several decades before being dragged along the blue highways and into Central Texas.

But the crusty and rusty exterior belies the fresh flavors coming out of the trailer.

Owners Ralph Gilmore and Priscilla Garcia profess a strict commitment to organic and local ingredients, which they've used to create a menu for a restaurant four times the size of their space - which is a good thing for anyone looking for some Gulf Coast boardwalk-meets roadhouse Americana fare.

Representing the 'turf' side of the menu are a half-dozen free-range chicken sandwiches, a sinful fried pork chop sandwich, burgers that can be customized with more than a dozen toppings and more.

I'm not sure whether our inspiration came from the surfboard attached to the trailer or the gravel underfoot calling to mind crushed sea shells, but we ordered lunch from the large list of 'farm-fed' seafood offerings. Tangy, creamy and messy in a good way, the shrimp salad po' boy ($9) was light, fresh and delicious. The fried catfish po' boy ($8) featured fish that was breaded and fried to crunchy perfection, the insides steaming and succulent, and the dressings of spring mix, tomato and tartar sauce were fresh if not a bit unruly. Doubling down on the fried side of things, I ordered the seasoned fries ($2.50) that came topped with cilantro, lemon and sea salt.