First Look

First Look: Chelle’s Seafood Kitchen and Their Glorious Stuffed Turkey Leg

Angie Quebedeaux
A brined and marinated turkey leg stuffed with Asian sticky rice.
A new — and yet, somewhat familiar — seafood kitchen recently opened in Richardson with a menu that perfectly blends the unique flavors of the East Coast and Asian cuisine.

Prior to COVID-19, this was one of two locations for Tasty Tails locations, a popular Cajun and Creole spot. And during the pandemic, they did a ton of community outreach, specifically by offering meals to the healthcare community for their long hours of critical patient care.

In late summer 2021, owner and executive chef Michelle Pepping decided it was time for a change. She closed that location of Tasty Tails and rebranded it as Chelle’s Seafood Kitchen, transitioning it from a spot that primarily offered Cajun boiled and fried seafood to a menu heavy with East Coast-style seafood dishes with an Asian twist. She also added some more variety including oysters, wraps, tacos, burgers, wings and pasta entrées.

(The Tasty Tails on Belt Line Road has a separate owner, is still open and nothing there has changed.)
click to enlarge Fish tacos with mango pico de gallo - ANGIE QUEBEDEAUX
Fish tacos with mango pico de gallo
Angie Quebedeaux
Pepping was born and raised in New Jersey and has been in the restaurant business for many years. Her extended family is from Louisiana, and she has spent a significant amount of time learning the art of both seafood and Asian cuisines.

For starters at Chelle's, try the chick-arrones ($8.99), which are not the chicharrones you’ll find at your local gas station or supermarket. These are highly addictive tender chunks of chicken with crispy fried skin served with a sriracha sauce.
click to enlarge Firecracker Shrimp - ANGIE QUEBEDEAUX
Firecracker Shrimp
Angie Quebedeaux
The Firecracker Shrimp ($10.99) is similar to what you would find at your local Chinese restaurant with a sweet chili sauce — that is, until you dip it in Chelle’s special (and secret) Asian sauce, which gives the crispy wonton-wrapped shrimp an unexpected kick. The sauce alone is worth another order of shrimp.
click to enlarge Asian Dressed Oysters - ANGIE QUEBEDEAUX
Asian Dressed Oysters
Angie Quebedeaux
Chelle’s Asian-dressed oysters, available by the half or full dozen, are topped with Thai chili peppers and a fish sauce vinaigrette. Chargrilled and Rockefeller oysters are equally as divine. The oysters are cooked to perfection and come loaded with their respective toppings along with slices of bread for dipping into the savory sauces.
click to enlarge Garlic noodles with chicken - ANGIE QUEBEDEAUX
Garlic noodles with chicken
Angie Quebedeaux
One of their most popular entrées is their garlic noodles ($8.99), a savory, simple and succulent family recipe.

Don’t miss out on the East Coast boil options here either. An order comes with head-on boiled shrimp, snow crab legs, blue crab, clams, mussels and lobster. Try the garlic butter to go with, or Chelle’s own house-made seafood sauce. Corn, potatoes and sausage can be added to any order.

Chelle’s regularly offers seasonal specials, which are chef-created dishes inspired by whatever is happening locally at the time. For example, earlier this year they had a Texas State Fair-themed menu.

Now through the month of December, they're offering a turkey leg stuffed with Asian sticky rice. The legs are marinated, brined and roasted for six hours then stuffed with sticky rice, shiitake mushrooms, Chinese sausage and topped with crispy onions and scallions. This dish is East meets West and they fall madly in love. But it’s more than that: It’s a dish the owner grew up eating, so it’s personal and poetic in the sense of what you look for in a great restaurant. There is love, passion and great food here.

Customers can also order the turkey leg stuffed with macaroni and cheese.

You'd be remiss not to check out their happy hour, which includes $2 single wells, $3 frozen drinks and double wells, $4 draft beers and  house wines and $5 select appetizers.

Because Pepping believes in giving back to the community, she has an “Eat Good Do Good” program in which they select a certain nonprofit organization each quarter and donate a portion of their sales. You can find information on their website about the organization being sponsored and provide an option for you to make a separate donation.

Chelle's Seafood Kitchen, 100 S. Central Expressway, Suite 21 (Richardson). Open 4-10 p.m. Monday - Thursday; 11:30 a.m. - 10 p.m. Friday - Sunday.