Catfish and Shrimp (Not Seafood)
Take a look around Austin. Do you find any sunny sandy beaches overlooking an endless body of water? I didn’t think so. So why do so many restaurants tout themselves as “seafood” establishments? Well, they improvise with catfish and shrimp. I’m not a fan of either. While some of you may agree with me and are searching for fish from an ocean, there are a few good catfish in these parts that will do in a pinch.
Deckhand Oyster Bar ( EB SH-45/Louis Henna Blvd & Parker Rd in Round Rock) did a great job with their Whole Seafood (Shrimp) Stuffed Flounder. The waitress gave me a sample of their catfish when I wrinkled up my nose while perusing the menu. It didn’t have that distinctive muddy flavor that catfish typically has. Go during Happy Hour (3-6pm M-F) to save a couple bucks, maybe have an extra drink or half-dozen oysters on the half shell? The gumbo is good too.
Fun Fish Fare
Fish Daddy’s Seafood Grill (I-35)not only serves up traditional American style fish ‘n’ chips, they make a darn good margarita. Head north on I-35 and take the Wells Branch Parkway exit, stay on the left of the frontage road. There is a movie theater just a little further up the road to round out the night.
Roaring Fork (downtown 701 North Congress Avenue or in north Austin on Stonelake Blvd) Paula Deen enjoyed a meal here while in town for Texas Book Festival last October, she loved the green chilies. Try the crab cakes or wild salmon! This is a great spot if you’ve scored tickets to the Paramount Theater right next door, or to nosh on aquatic delights before heading to 6th street to dance the night away.
Marisco Grill Mexican Seafood (6444 Burnet Road)another Mexican dive in an older neighborhood of north Austin, but don’t let looks fool you. Try the Vuelva a la Vida cocktail of octopus, shrimp, oyster, avocado, cilantro and spicy lime juice. If you’re into ceviche this is a MUST try! If you like Mexican food and want something other than beans and cheese on everything, Mariscos is where to go. Sure there’s shrimp and catfish, but you’ll also run into whole snapper fish on the menu. Update: This restaurant may be closed? Drove by the other day and nobody was there.
Freda’s (Hwy 183 NB & Pecan Park) Thursday is Ladies Night! Pop in for free salsa dancing lessons and a refreshment. If you’re hungry try the gumbo or the seafood stuffed avocado (seriously, I’m drooling right now). Freda’s is also a good place for Sunday brunch, all you can muster down the hatch for about $18 (adult). Prime rib, pork tenderloin, fresh omelets, pancakes, and seafood including that avocado I’m dreaming of. Did I mention crab legs? Now that’s a surf ‘n’ turf that will stuff you sober!
Make an Impression
Perry’s (downtown, Colorado & 7th) This is the best restaurant downtown to find fine dinning surf’n’turf. Perry’s offers a Hong Kong Style Sea Bass that is heavenly paired with a glass of their private label white wine. Salmon, Snapper, and Lobster are also menu mates with the Sea Bass. Everything is made with pride at Perry’s.
Truluck’s (downtown, Colorado & 4th or Hwy 183 @ Gateway/Great Hills) If crab is your muse, Truluck’s has your ticket. Monday is all you can eat stone crab! Visit during Happy Hour (4:30 -7pm) for the best prices so you can relax with a drink and slurp ceviche or munch on a salmon burger at half price.
Perla’s (1400 S. Congress south of downtown) For casual upscale seafood, Perla’s is the place to go. They won’t mind the flip-flops you’re sporting. Perla’s has a very diverse seafood offering and you can find oysters from both Canadian coasts here (bonus point from me)! Insane tuna tartar and scallop pozole soup.
Ho Ho Chinese BBQ (I-35 @ Parmer Lane) Abalone with sea cucumber and black mushrooms are only two of the treasures from the deep you can sample at Ho Ho’s. Live lobsters, giant crab, prawns, and Rockfish greet you at the door as you wait to be seated at one of North Austin’s best Chinese restaurants. Don’t let the Mandarin fool you, the Chinese eat an extensive array of ocean delights and Ho Ho’s will amuse your senses at an affordable price. Dinner is presented family style, so bring a friend (or more) and try something different.