NBecause only Fort Worth enters the rodeo season, and gets its first taste of winter weather (you can set your watch after that – rodeo equals winter in Cowtown), it’s also a taster in the middle of the oyster season. That’s right, January’s cold water means first-class oyster eating. No one can fail to have oysters on brine. . . I mean brain.
Although some have questioned the rationale of eating oysters at all in landlocked northern Texas, local food lovers are no longer limited to just oysters harvested in the Gulf of Mexico thanks to the cooling miracle. These days, oyster fanatics are treated to oysters that are flown in daily from the finest oyster beds and farms in North America.
Next time you feel like venturing out in search of these bald beauties, here’s Fort Worth’s 15 Best Oyster Restaurants:
Waters – Bonnell’s Coastal Cuisine
Not only do the oyster shells hang from the ceiling like works of art, this restaurant is the place for the freshest oysters that are flown in daily. The Dirty Dozen at Waters Texas brings an oyster flight like no other. We are talking about 12 varieties from Blue Point and Chesapeake Bay, Miyagi, Olympia and Samish Bay, which are flown in daily – and presented to chef Jon Bonnell’s tasting notes.
Pro type: This oyster treat only costs $ 19 during happy hour.
Chef Victor Villareal enjoys himself in his cozy Spanish-inspired fish restaurant on Race Street. It includes plating with the freshest oysters he can find. The oysters are simply served on ice cream or topped with a special mignonette sauce of the chef’s choice.
Recent deals on La Onda have included Foxley River’s, Savage Blonde’s from Canada and Hama Hama’s from Lilliwaup, Washington.
While cold water oysters on the half shell are always on the menu from Pacific Tables raw, I also fancy the chubby fried oysters. These oysters are topped with a light mix of shallots and greens and served with a grilled lemon. They are the ideal starter.
Lovers of Cajun-style fried oysters turn to Tributary Cafe on Race Street for the good stuff. You can enjoy the crispy oysters on a classic Po Boy sandwich with tartar sauce, pickles and all the trimmings, or as part of the larger seafood dish along with fried fish and shrimp.
You’ll need a few friends to throw on what Capital Grille calls the Grand Plateau. This $ 115 seafood feast is filled with jumbo lump crab, North Atlantic lobster, shrimp cocktail and fresh shucked oysters on the half shell.
The raw bar at this classic steakhouse will make your eyes water. It is filled with king crab and fresh seafood daily. The freshly squeezed oysters at Wicked Butcher are nicely arranged in rows and served with homemade cocktail sauce, horseradish and minus-8 mignonette sauce.
Eddie V’s Prime Seafood
This exclusive seafood chain always has fresh oysters ready. At Eddie V’s you can choose oyster oysters such as Bluepoint, Sea Kist, East Beach Blonde or Malpeque Bay oysters. Or you can head to the Gulf of Mexico. All oysters are served on ice with mignonette sauces and priced per. PCS.
J&J Oyster Bar
J & J’s is the oldest of the old school oyster bars in Fort Worth. It opened in the 1970s and is now located along the university near the museum district. J&J Oyster Bar is where I ate my first raw oysters on a salted biscuit with a touch of Tabasco. Thank you Dad for introducing me.
Regulars return for the crispy fried oyster basket, served with the buttery, sleek hushpuppies and fritters.
The most famous appetizer on B&B Butcher’s menu is really a mix of meats. These four fried oysters, called Carpet Bagger, are presented inside an oyster shell, but the fried oysters are impaled along with a slice of house-fried bacon and ribeye steak. Add a little Roquefort cheese sauce and a splash of siracha and you will be in the oyster heaven.
Known for its modern spin on ranch cooking, Michael’s Cusine serves a unique Ranch Oysters Rockefeller. It consists of six Texas Gulf oysters on the half shell, topped with an anise spicy poblano spinach cream and a bit of parmesan cheese. Then they are baked to a golden brown color.
This soon to be opened (early February) restaurant by chef Ben Merritt aims to be a seafood paradise on the Gulf Coast. The selection of grilled oysters at The Fitzgerald is awe-inspiring. Have them cooked in the traditional style with butter, garlic and parmesan; Kimchi Butter style with a little bit of spice and umami flavor; or cheesy bacon jalapeno style topped with Manchego cheese sauce, bacon and jalapeno.
Hatsuyuki hand roller bar
Always serving the freshest seafood, just cooked the Japanese way – where you can taste every item – you never know what the chef’s selection will be on the Hatsuyuki Handroll. A recent appetizer called the oyster trio featured a tour de oysters. From rich and pure Nova Scotia oysters to tasty and earthy Fisher’s Island oysters and mild and sweet Kumamoto oysters.
Located in Waterside, Tricky Fish serves fried oysters with a bit of a twist. They call it Fried Oyster BLT, which means lettuce and tomato, a classic tartar sauce and a hearty (and surprisingly) blob of sweet bacon jam. Believe me, it works. This Fort Worth restaurant also serves half-shell oysters if you prefer.
Bonnell’s Fine Texas
One of Jon Bonnell’s classics, his Oyster’s Texafeller at Bonnell’s Fine Texas, never fails. In fact, the longtime Fort Worth chef has shared his recipe far and wide over the years. It requires marinating the oysters in a buttermilk / hot sauce bath, the same as you would do before frying a chicken. Then coat with creole seasoning and fry them up.
The oysters are served on top of a mixture of Tasso ham cubes and wilted spinach, topped with fresh hollandaise.
Fort Worth celebrity chef Tim Love is camping with his New Orleans-style grilled oysters at his outdoor, patio-friendly Woodshed Smokehouse. Love serves the oysters with smoked, grilled camp bread, which goes perfectly with Woodshed’s relaxed courtyard atmosphere and crackling campfires.
You can order oysters per piece as an appetizer, or add a few to your meal.
After all, it’s oyster season. One of the best times in the foodie calendar.