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Oct 15, 2008 10:09 AM

[DFW] Looking for the perfect "Catfish Joint"

I'm not a huge fan of fried foods, but lately I've been craving fried catfish. I've been to 2 places in the last week and I couldn't rave about either - in fact, one was just plain bad.

Catfish Sam's in Arlington has wonderful fried catfish - non-greasy, big and meaty with a crunchy cornmeal exterior - no batter folks. Unfortunately, the sides were lackluster. And the hushpuppies were these weird tubular things that tasted like ...... nothing.

Catfish Co in Hurst is not worth a look. The catfish were more like pre-fab frozen fish sticks. The pintos were served at room temp and again - the extruded hushpuppies. What's up with those?

Over the years, I've been to Hook, Line and Sinker and of the 3, it's probably the best. It's been a while, but when I was last there, the catfish were pretty skinny (flat). If they could just serve the same meaty catfish that Catfish Sam's does, it'd be worth the drive for me (from Grapevine) for the sides and pups.

Anyone have any suggestions for good, big, meaty fried catfish filets with a cornmeal crunch, great, flavorful sides (pintos, slaw, fr fries, etc), and hushpuppies with some (green) onion and maybe a little garlic. Icy cold beer wouldn't hurt the cause!

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  1. If you don't mind the drive, the best place I've been to in a long while is actually in Princeton, about ten miles east of McKinney. It's named Catfish Heaven II. They have pinto bean soup that is wonderful. Their cole slaw is creamy and sweet. They have a salad bar that is crunchy and fresh and they have the most wonderful bread-n-butter pickles that have pickled jalapenos added. Mmmmm-mmmmm! My husband hates catfish so I haven't been in a while. My co-workers loved it and we went every Friday. The couple who owns and runs the place are ex-petroleum folks. I can't remember their names, but don't miss this place because it's a drive. Stop in to shop in downtown McKinney if you need more of a reason to go.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ltcannon

      I'm crazy about the fried catfish filets at Big Shucks. Personally, I thinks it's the best in town.
      Hook, Line & Sinker does very good catfish as well but, I really prefer the tarter sauce at Big Shucks.

    2. The Catfish House in Carrollton at Old Denton and Frankford. It's fantastic and most of the sides are really good. I am not a fan of the Hush Puppy as I always have to save my room for the fish so no help there but great Onion Rings Green Tomato Relish. Fries, cole Slaw etc. He also serves fantastic fried Oysters.

      1. Catfish Heaven II in Princeton is OUTSTANDING. We eat there regularly. My wife likes to go on Thursday for the all you can eat boiled shrimp, but I can't lay off the catfish. The beans are good, the pickles are killer, and the baked potatoes are old school.

        Places like Catfish Heaven are getting harder and harder to find.

        Wendy's up around Henrietta Oklahoma is good too.

        1. Thanks for the recs! My dog came from Princeton, so I know exactly where that is and I have a friend in McKinney, so I'll definitely have to try the catfish up that-a-way.

          I really thought there'd be many more places named. It kind of begs the question: Is good catfish in these parts as elusive as good BBQ is in these parts. Makes me wonder.

          3 Replies
          1. re: CocoaNut

            Not really there are other good catfish joints, it depends if you want all you can eat. For instance Big Easy in Plano does a decent Cat, but not quite the same since no Hush Puppies.

            I would also kinda recommend "The Duck In" all though I have not been there in years, friends tell me it's still good. It was the best in town for many years. Also just as a side note I saw the "Blues Brothers" ... perform there years ago with Donald Duck Dunn and Matt guitar Murphy...

            1. re: irodguy


              Duck In would be a much more reasonable drive from GV.

              Per their website:
              "They have decided to hold on to Nellie's catfish , tartar sauce, hush-puppies, and salad dressing recipe's."

              Doesn't appear to be anything pre-fab here!

              1. re: CocoaNut

                The Duck Inn in it's day was by far the best Cats around DFW. I have to remind myself to get over there some time. The last time I was there was when the old owners still ran it. I took a 93 year old friend of mine who had a lake house there in the early 50s. She told the story to the then owner about the owners have a "bad son" who went to reform school and was a trouble maker.... The fellow replied that would be he and that reform school got him on the strait and narrow. He must have been in his 50s at least. This would account for the fact that the "kids" retired. My 93 year old friend made it to 97 and never lost her Alabama down home charm.

          2. Try Catfish Cove on Belt Line Rd. in Mesquite south of 1-30 and Belt Line. It's family owned, loyaly frequented by oldtimers. It's been there forever! Excellent breading on the fish, comes with hushpuppies, choice of fries or baked potato, with old fashioned salad bar with slaw, potato salad, marinated carrot salad, pickled okra and green tomatoes, etc. It's definitely a red neck type place, like stepping back into the 50s & 60s. Some nights featuring live oldtime country music. It's always full, especially on weekends and very reasonably priced. "It's not over until the fat lady sings!"