Denis’ Seafood House, noisy but good

We drove in the gloaming to the Katy Prairie, saw thousands of blackbirds, cowbirds, and grackles on the wires in Katy, a lone red-shouldered hawk farther out, then hunted for somewhere to eat on the freeway coming home. Denis’ Seafood House, just in from Memorial City Mall, was the choice with only a half hour wait, something Houstonians are used to, but my parents and I are not.

If I’m going to be eating raw oysters now, I’m going to have an opinion of them, and this is my first thought. You should add nothing to them. This is a delicate, mild food, with subtle flavors and textures to be explored with your tongue, finding the molluscan crevices, and slight variations in flavor across and through the body. Breathe while exploring, and see how many briny, rich, soft tastes and smells you can distinguish. Maybe on some put the slightest drop of lemon, or hot sauce to be encountered as a surprise, not with every moment, just to counter the softness that is an oyster.

Why do they come with those tubs of red stuff and horseradish, way too much for anyone, especially the horseradish? If you don’t like oysters, why did you order them? These sauces would go better on saltine crackers, or maybe on a bad oyster. But they won’t protect you from a bad oyster.

What did I think of this place? It was noisy, too dark for my mom to read the menu. It was full of happy looking people, some holding hands across the table, just like the place last night. The wine was good. The fish choices made me think of what we’re doing to our oceans, the Pacific trash gyre, threatened fish species galore. Which if any should we eat? Catfish? The Monterey Bay Aquarium tells us. This restaurant did not, and even featured lovely tilefish which we should not be eating.

Was it good? Yes, it was. The redfish and trout were both slightly overcooked, and the sauteed spinach was too greasy, and the broccoli undercooked for me, but basically good. My mom loved her scallops.

We escaped back to the Katy Freeway with the help of the friendly valet who managed the wheelchair for us.


It’s not easy to get a photo of all the birds on the wires while driving!


Which fish should we eat?


It was packed!


A lovely oyster.


Forgot to photograph this redfish before eating half of it.


Scallops were too saucy for my taste.


About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis
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