Category Archives: Seafood

Daddy Jack’s claws its way to tastiness

We had driven by the neon lights reading “chowder house” for years. Wedged in between other small establishments on the east side of Lower Greenville, it just took us a while to finally stop in. Finally, a recent Saturday night presented us with a free schedule and a reminder to check out Dallas’ Daddy Jack’s.

Assuming we would be pleading for an 8 p.m. reservation, I made a call in to the restaurant’s listed number around 5. Then again at 5:10, 5:30 p.m. After I pressed the final number, I got a busy signal. All we could hope is that the restaurant – which would prove to be as small as it appears on the outside – could spare one small table for two.

Not surprisingly, we had to delay before walking through the front door, which led to two swinging doors that folded out into the small, packed dining room.

A woman, who is clearly accustomed to being in charge of the front of the house here, told us it would be 45 minutes. As she took our name, I looked around for a bar, a place to sit, a place to loiter. Nothing. Our option, she said, was to go next door to the Crown and Harp, a name I only recollected as some joint that has karaoke.

We walked over to this establishment, which had to be just barely smaller than its restaurant neighbor, and had a couple of drinks. (They do proudly pour a worthy Lakewood Brewery wheat from the tap.)

Our woman from Daddy Jack’s came through about three times with her clipboard, requesting people to tab out and come to their tables at her restaurant. Finally, she made the same request to us.
Tables topped with white and red checkered tablecloths were in three, narrow rows across the restaurant. Our small table was in the middle of the center isle.
The crab fingers are very good, but average when compared to other plates in town. (Photo from Facebook)

The crab fingers are very good, but average when compared to other plates in town. (Photo from Facebook)

Our waitress was over fast enough, offering us a list of specials and the restaurant’s “famous crab fingers.” While sounding passionate enough about the paella, these little crab claws soaking in a butter were something this woman seemed to already assume we’d order. Of course, we did.

The small plate came out, presenting these oily little claws, limping in an oil that proved to have a welcomed, copious amount of garlic. But, any chef can throw a bunch of garlic in some oil and let crab claws sit. These were fine, but not the “most amazing thing,” as I heard our waitress also tell the table next to us. Maybe had their been less hype, there would have been less disappointment in this average appetizer.

What is worth skipping the crab fingers here for are the soups. The New England clam chowder is hearty with plenty of chunks of clam and aromatic with generous flavors of rosemary. The lobster bisque is smooth and just rich enough, seeming to get more savory with each spoonful.

For our main course, I asked our waitress if I should go with the special seafood paella or the plate of the small surf and turf. I neglected the fact that she recommended the pricier dish, but really, this wasn’t an average surf and turf. The small lobster tail was heavily seasoned but perfectly balanced when dipped in butter. The small filet was a cut of meat so tender that any person would be smart to order beef in this seafood spot.

The surf and turf comes in this larger size, as well as a smaller one. (Facebook)

The surf and turf comes in this larger size, as well as a smaller one. (Facebook)

While this plate was fine, another was superb. The lobster Fra Diavlo here starts with an ambitiously sized plate filled with linguini.

If it stopped there, it would already be too much food.

Then, there’s half a lobster, clams, mussels and shrimp. But what makes this dish one to crave is the spicy marinara in which it all drowns. It never runs out of flavor. If it were pasta and sauce alone, a diner would be in heaven. The added bonus of some shellfish helps; unfortunately, the lobster was a bit overcooked, clearly tougher than the lobster tail sitting on the surf and turf plate.

There was no need, but our persuasive – and incredibly friendly – waitress convinced us to indulge a few bites further. The key lime pie was worth it. A crumbly crust topped with a smooth, light tart was a perfect end to this evening.

Daddy Jack’s
Location: 1916 Greenville Ave. in Dallas, 75206, 214-826-4910
Hours: 5:30 to 10 .m. Monday through Thursday, 5:30 to 11 p.m. Friday through Saturday, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday
Price: $$
Service: Extremely friendly and knowledgable
Ambiance: Intimate and dark, the low lighting seems to reflect a red atmosphere from the checkered tables
Attire: Dressy-casual
Payment information: All major credit cards accepted
Alcohol: Beer and wine

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Dive into Snider Plaza’s seafood

Casual seafood dining is less than abundant in our landlocked city of Dallas, making a menu like that of Dive Coastal Cuisine look appealing to many diners.

Chef Franchesca Nor has an excellent list of items on the chalkboard menu above the ordering counter. A number of people take their time looking at this hand-written list, which doesn’t seem extremely welcoming by most behind the register who quickly question if the customer’s ready.

The curry shrimp wrap at Dive Coastal Cuisine. Photo by Taylor Adams

The cool colors of white, teal and blue tones throughout cool a customer’s mood and reflect Nor’s Southern California upbringing. She is there much of the time, making the experience the best you’ll be able to get at the restaurant. This care is translated to many of her food items, including the mahi-mahi, prepared to a tender meat with flavor throughout.

The ahi tuna wrap is another satisfying meal on the menu, which has more than these two items making it a healthy one. Ginger slaw mixed in with cucumber, avocado and a mildly coconut rice makes the seared ahi tuna scrumptious in any bite of the wrap — it’s probably that chili ponzu sauce covering it.

One to avoid, though, is the curry shrimp wrap. They might as well leave out the unseasoned shrimp and make it a veggie-curry wrap. The rest of it is fine, filling the spinach tortilla with coconut rice, greens, cucumber and the sweetness of granny smith apples that pair perfectly with the curry. Disappointment ensues when biting into a chunk of shrimp. Even the extra sauce on the side won’t save this one.

A couple of sides really excel, giving hope to others on the menu. Though they look like nothing special, the mashed potatoes carry a richness in every bite that could make them worthy of an entire meal. The French green beans are the salty and simple perfection that they should be.

The mahi-mahi with mashed potatoes and green beans. Photo by Michael Danser

The little neck and clams come tossed in a perfected pesto and angel hair pasta. Grilled bread makes it an even more indulgent meal.

The menu also has a long list of salads and cocktails. Beer and wine are served, which are probably the better alcoholic choices. The twisted mojito is a drink too tart to sip. The different iced teas at the “iced tea bar” (a small counter to the right of the ordering counter) has refreshing options.

Though Dive offers plenty of options to keep diners on a diet, the sweet list is a decent one, with an ice cream-covered Heath bar that sounds interesting and a key lime pie that has become a staple of the joint (at least, according to the handwritten menu). Shortly after the restaurant opened, Nor tested the pie on her menu, working on the granola, ginger snap and graham-cracker crust.

As with many healthy dining options, it’s not a cheap dinner for two. It’s a place to go with the safe and simple items that are more likely to be worth the money.

The twisted mojito at Dive Coastal Cuisine. Photo by Taylor Adams

Dive Coastal Cuisine
Location: 
3404 Rankin St.  in Dallas 75205, 214-891-1700
Hours: 
Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Price:
$-$$
Ambiance: Indoor seating. A walk-up ordering counter makes it feel like a quick and easy dining spot.
Attire: Casual
Payment Information: Major credit cards accepted
Alcohol: Wine, beer and special cocktails

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Where are you getting your oysters today?

Aug. 5 is National Oyster Day © David Kay | Dreamstime.com

It’s National Oyster Day.

That means you know what you’re having for lunch or what your dinner’s appetizer will be. Where will you indulge? Here are a couple of options.

S&D Oyster Company is the first that comes to my mind, of course. There’s a reason it’s been around for 35 years (and it’s not just because Owen Wilson used to work there).

Aw Shucks (which really needs a comma) is a Greenville favorite–and will soon be one in Lewisville after it opened its doors last week.

Dodie’s serves raw oysters by themselves or with shrimp for a deal. (And if you are tempted by the Cajun items on the menu, go for it. Ellen Zielinski, a Baton Rouge native and picky Cajun eater, picks this as her favorite Dallas spot for the cuisine.)

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