I love oysters! My Take on Gilhooley's
Thanks to Robb Walsh's book, "Sex, Death and Oysters," I may actually die from raw oyster eating before I realize I have an immunocompromised illness. I have eaten oysters in France, Ireland and the East Coast of the US, and of course tons of Gulf Coast oysters, all as a result of reading his very entertaining book.
So for the past 5 or so years, I've been again eating raw oysters in the winter, which I previously avoided. I finally traveled to Gilhooley's and had the smoked oysters, Robb's number one dish in "Houston."
Perhaps I like them raw best, and those raw oysters at Gilhooley's were smaller, saltier, and more flavorful than we get in Houston. And at $7.50/doz, an extreme bargain. The oysters Gilhooley? Awesome, yes, but not the best dish in Houston, unless you prefer cooked oysters, which I don't. San Leon, last bastion of smoking in food areas. The waitress was smoking. No kidding. Maybe that's why it took 40 minutes to get 6 fried shrimp. And that was supposed to be 3 fried oysters and 3 fried shrimp. Side of shrimp cole slaw was fantastic, filled with chopped shrimp, side of hush puppies turned into pickled green tomatoes, even better. Left happy except for the smoke filled clothes, all the way back to "Houston."
A field trip, like going to the zoo.
222 9th St, Dickinson, TX 77539
I was down there Saturday afternoon along with a group from the Houston Chowhounds (the Yahoo group / mailing list). Between the eleven of us, we devoured roughly 15 dozen oysters of various sorts, including raw, oysters gilhooley, oysters shrimphooley, oysters roasted with salsa. My comments:
- service was prompt - we sat on the patio, our server didn't smoke (at least in our presence), though she did at times seem a little overwhelmed with our demands. Everyone relaxed and didn't grumble if a beer took an extra five minutes to show up though and we all had fun.
- the raw oysters were good, but I'd have preferred it if they didn't scatter ice cubes over the top of the oysters. The melting ice dilutes the yummy oyster liquid. I'd prefer the oysters to be served on a bed of shaved ice, like many/most places do it.
- the oysters gilhooley were by far my favorite. I could've probably downed another half dozen of those. No additional seasoning or sauce necessary.
- the salsa oysters were for those who don't like the taste of oysters :)
I also got to sample a couple of bites of their boudin links - tasty. I'd probably order that again.
None of our party or in the enclosed patio dining area smoked, so our clothes didn't smell like smoke until we gathered around the outside open fire pit for pictures.
I will return, though the 40 mile (one way) drive is a bit daunting.
Right, the ice cubes. I would normally complain about that, but I understand they pull those oysters out of the water behind the restaurant and slap them on a plate without cooling first, so I imagine that cube is the quickest way to cool it a bit. I promptly knocked them all off. I also wish they provided horseradish with their red sauce for those of us that like a lot of it.
The water behind the restaurant is Galveston Bay, and the reefs are at least several miles out. The oysters are kept on ice or refrigerated at all times to keep them from going bad. Even though the oysters are from Misho's in San Leon, they hit the restaurant at best no more than a day or two after harvested. There is no exuse in putting ice on a cold oyster, it is totally superfulous and dilutes the product as mentioned before.