Dude Food: Rockfish

5331 East Mockingbird Lane, #160

Dude Factor: 9, or "Tin Cup", on a scale of 1 (Message in a Bottle) to 10 (Bull Durham).

Sure, I love me some mom and pop independent joints, especially if they serve up some grub quality grub. But sometimes a dude just wants a little chain seafood.

Usually such cravings lead me to Rockfish, the moderately priced seafood joint tucked into Mockingbird Station (unless it's my birthday or something, in which case I'll drop a little extra dough for someplace fancy...like Pappadeaux.) In fact, it must be in my blood; I'm pretty sure I've spent 90 percent of family holidays eating at Rockfish since it opened a few years back (and at least eight of the remaining ten percent at Pappadeaux.)

I can't say I've been to any other Rockfish locations, but I imagine they all look pretty much the same, with an abundance of comforting, dude-friendly fishing décor including-but-not-limited-to bathrooms labeled "Inboards" and "Outboards" and the words "Oysters: Nature's Viagra" painted on the wall.

The 18 oz, ice cold schooners of domestic beer don't hurt, either.

On a recent trip I opted to start with the jalapeno corn fritters, basically the Rockfish version of hush puppies served with a side of Cajun-style remoulade sauce. The seafood dishes are actually quite acceptable for a chain joint a few hours from the coast, but it wouldn't be much of an exaggeration to say these little bastards are the best things on the menu. They also offer the requisite fried calamari and "The Bomb"--a jalapeno stuffed with whole shrimp, cheese and bacon. I absolutely refuse, however, to try anything called "Very Gouda Spinach Dip" no matter how good my mother thinks it is. After all, this is coming from the same woman who went to see Four Christmases last December because Marley & Me was sold out.

The entrees are separated into five roughly-defined categories on the menu--"Field", "Stream", "Fry Me", "Sandwiches" and "BTC," which is shorthand for, uh, something that means you pick the fish and the cooking style. (Build The Catch? Blackened, Tossed, Chargrilled? I have no idea.) "The Full Moon" platter is a guys choice, piled with fried shrimp, scallops and catfish. There's also something called the "Burger Club" on the lunch menu--an "Angus burger piled high with smoked deli-sliced ham, bacon, jack and cheddar cheeses"--but we haven't tried it yet, mostly because ordering a burger at a seafood joint pretty much automatically makes you an asshole, no matter how manly said burger is.

My favorite thing about Rockfish, however, is the two dudes I've seen working there for at least the last five years. Other wait staff come and go, but these guys are the "rock" of Rockfish (Ba-dum-bah!). One of them talks like a surfer (I'm pretty sure his name is Clifton and I'm guessing he's from California). The other guy looks a little like Kevin Costner (I don't know his name, but I generally refer to him as "Tin Cup") and likes to pull that whole "I'm your buddy so I'm gonna sit in the booth with ya while I take your order" thing. But somehow he pulls it off.

That's pretty much all I know, but if I ever write a buddy movie script based in a seafood joint, these dudes are definitely getting some royalties. If you pop in, bro down in their section and tell them Dude Food sent ya. You won't regret it.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.