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Oysters DFW

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Where can I find the best oysters on the half shell in DFW? Reasonably priced

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  1. Probably S&D Seafood on McKinney or Pappadeaux on Oak Lawn. I had a dozen at Big Shucks the other day and was very disappointed in both their size and taste. Scrawny and, way too salty! A friend recommends Hook, Line, and Sinker but I haven't tried them there this season. A tip: Most of these places "rinse" them under running water now. So if you prefer your oysters unadulterated as I do, be sure and tell the shucker not to rinse them. Most places charge anywhere from $9.95 to $12.95 a dozen. I'm afraid they're no longer, "reasonable".

    3 Replies
    1. re: twinwillow

      Today I saw oysters at 99 Ranch Market for .49 each. I've never shucked an oyster before so I didn't buy any. Was this a mistake?

      1. re: Barbara76137

        1 -no clue as to their quality, but of all things you should be careful about with lowest bidder on seafood, raw oysters have the potential to harm you.

        2 - if you have an oyster knife its not hard! if you ever want to swing by TJ's i'll give you a free lesson.

        1. re: JonFromTJs

          Yes, Jon, I had a really bad experience with shellfish ages ago and couldn't eat clams, mussels or oysters for many years.

    2. I hoisted a dozen at Nate's in Addison a few days ago - large, well chilled, well shucked. I didn't notice the price.

      1. Depends. If it's gulf oysters you're looking for, I'd say S&D. I had a dozen there the other day that were very good. However, if you want Atlantic of Pacific oysters, which I frankly prefer all things being equal (which they rarely are), I'd suggest Oceanaire of McCormick & Scmick's. It's really just a question of what you want.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Mike C. Miller

          Sadly, McCormick & Schmick's has closed; one less place to get a good plate of oysters. A health food restaurant is reportedly going in it's place, to add insult to injury!

        2. As of late last fall, Red Tide had closed Texas Gulf oyster harvesting, not sure if that has changed at this point. The effect was that Gulf Oysters had to be imported from other states, like Florida, and drove the price up with probably a lower quality product, since they have to travel farther, etc. Otherwise, I think it's those strange, unnatural pasteurized oysters.

          Oceanaire typically has several varieties of east and west coast oysters (my preference on the half shell), and they used to do a half priced happy hour, which worked out to about a $1 or so a piece. Not sure if they are still doing that. Since Landry's bought Oceanaire I have had two dissapointing visits, hope that was just a fluke.

          8 Replies
          1. re: sike101

            There's nothing inferior about Florida Apalachicola oysters.

            1. re: Veggo

              Not that they're inferior to Texas oysters per se, although I've never been impressed with them, even at nice restaurants in FLA. My point is that they're shipped a farther increasing the time to plate. IMO, closer you are to the source the better when it comes to shellfish. So when Texas oysters are available, that's usually what you see at restaurants in Dallas.

              1. re: sike101

                ironically, oysters in the shell have the longest shelf life of nearly any seafood.

                ironic isn't the right word...its counterintuitive to what you'd think. As long as they are alive and refrigerated, oysters can be really really fresh when opened but out of the water a little while.

                1. re: JonFromTJs

                  Thanks Jon, you're definitely the seafood expert around here. Do you notice a difference between cold water and warm water oysters? I feel like I can tell a fresh oyster from one that's been sitting around awhile, albeit alive and cold.

                  I eat oysters on the half-shell anytime I can, especially when I travel. I have been told by shuckers and mongers, when in other parts of the country, that there are two reasons you don't see gulf oysters much outside the region: 1) people just don't prefer them, 2) they don't ship well, in part because of the seasonality of gulf harvests. Whereas you see East Coast oysters on the West Coast and vice-versa. I ate >40 different varieties of oysters last year throughout the US (yes, I'm a nerd, I keep a list), and never saw a single gulf oyster offered. I grew up eating gulf oysters, but only prefer them grilled or fried these days.

                  1. re: sike101

                    sorry, just now seeing this.

                    "Do you notice a difference between cold water and warm water oysters?"

                    hell yeah. colder water = better oyster.

                    cold water makes any seafood better. take swordfish. a sword from n. east waters has to store more oil and fat to stay warm, so you get juicier flesh.

                    same with oysters. cold water oysters have more fat and more sweetness.

                    "I eat oysters on the half-shell anytime I can, especially when I travel."

                    as well you should. IMO, an oyster is the best way to eat "locally"...oysters are more a product of their environment than any food. they are filter feeders, they take in the environment around them and spit it back out. a Buzzards Bay oyster, you are tasting Buzzards Bay.

                    "I have been told by shuckers and mongers, when in other parts of the country, that there are two reasons you don't see gulf oysters much outside the region: 1) people just don't prefer them, 2) they don't ship well, in part because of the seasonality of gulf harvests."

                    agree. Gulf oysters are great, but most oyster pros consider them below the premium oysters from NE and NW. and no, they don't ship as well for simple reasons...the water may be cold enough for oysters, but the air might not. Sept can be hot as shit in the Gulf. if an oyster gets stuck on the tarmac, i'd rather it be in Boston than New Orleans.

                    and there just isn't the demand for them. People in Dallas will pay a premium for a Malapeque, FIshers Island or Barnstable. Or they'll pay a great cheaper price for a gulf oyster. But no one in Boston is paying a premium for a fresh shipped gulf oyster when the local oysters would be basically the same price.

                    I love gulf oysters. Sometimes i'm just in the mood for them. But the best oysters in the world have more complex flavor. Various combinations of sweet, mineral and briny. Gulf oysters aren't as complex IMO.

                  2. re: JonFromTJs

                    I'd be interested to hear an answer to this, too. Even in colder waters areas, I tend to follow the traditional advice of only eating oysters in cooler months. When you're talking about an oyster from Nova Scotia or Bodegas Bay, is that really an issue?

                    1. re: Mike C. Miller

                      I've never eaten oysters from Bodega Bay but, I've eaten (Hog Island) oysters from Tomales Bay only a few miles away and they're excellence never seemed to vary from season to season.

                2. re: Veggo

                  Apalachicola's were great in the hey-day...rated right up there with those juicy LA oysters.
                  But then again...you could get a bushel for about $15.00!!

              2. I've heard now that the current "red tide" has been on the wain, Texas gulf oysters are becoming more available.

                1 Reply
                1. re: twinwillow

                  red tide is "over" texas gulf oysters are 100% available.

                  the first ones i've tasted this year are good not great.

                2. great resource for all this oyster talk: http://www.oysterguide.com/

                  also there is a good iphone app: oysterpedia.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: JonFromTJs

                    Many thanks for the informative link. It's like the encyclopedia of oysters. I've bookmarked it for future reference.

                  2. Unfortunately, one of my favorite oysters from Northern California, the delicious, plump Kumamoto oyster from Tomales Bay's Hog's Island Oyster Co. is against the law to be imported to Texas.
                    Certain unnamed sushi bars used to bring them in anyway but, they were heavily fined after found out.
                    They are only one of a group of "outlawed" oysters unavailable in Texas due to ridiculous laws designed to protect the Gulf oystermen.
                    Damn shame!

                    JonFromTJs ~ Could you expound on this law?

                    1. Becker's Seafood in Shed 2 at the Dallas Farmers Market has delicious, freshly shucked oysters on the half shell. But, they're a buck each! Very good, though.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: twinwillow

                        Thanks for the heads up on Becker's. I haven't been down to the FM in a month or more, are they new? What else are they selling?

                        $1 each, shucked, is not too bad. I follow Bourdain on this, you usually get what you pay for when eating raw seafood.

                        1. re: sike101

                          They've got a good selection of a little bit of everything.
                          The best thing is their fresh, extra large under 12, head on shrimp from the Texas gulf at $11.95 LB. Mind you, they're only open Thursday-Sunday. It's not TJ's but they are very well priced and everything is very fresh! Especially if you go on Thursday. We like to go there when we crave BBQ at Pecan Lodge. Their fresh, not pre-frozen smoked salmon is very good at $18.99 LB.
                          Their best selections are on Thursday or Friday. All their prices are very competitive.

                          Whatever go's unsold on Sunday is usually frozen for sale at a hefty discount the following week.

                          1. re: twinwillow

                            Since I'm still unemployed and broke, should I hit the FM later this week?

                            1. re: Barbara76137

                              If you can amortize the cost of the gas it takes to drive to Dallas and back to Ft. Worth, I'd say yes.

                              Wising you the best...... Me.

                      2. Pappadeaux - $6/doz, Thur only - I think only through March. Posted as TX Gulf Coast. (I had the (baked) Oysters Pappadeaux yesterday and they were quite large - good, briny flavor. Didn't ask, but would imagine it's the same oysters that are served on the half)

                        Also, mudbugs - $7.95 1-1/4 lbs, selected days of the week.

                        1. FYI: Central Market has wild Maine Belons/flats for their Passport France month. I picked up some yesterday and they're excellent. I don't recall ever seeing them in Dallas, restaurants or fish markets, I'm guessing because they apparently have a brief shelf life. These were as good as any I've had on the East Coast, super briney, not for the casual oyster eater. $2/pc.

                          1. Try Big Fish in downtown Grapevine. They have a high turnover, so very fresh product. Reasonably priced, nice and fat.