Holding an oyster half shell in the air, angling it so that I could tip it directly into my mouth, I paused and looked at my husband, “People do this,” I said, part question and part statement. Because I was doing it. No way would I abandon one drop of the miraculous place where the sea meets fire and mingles with Cajun spices and butter.
Krio is an Asian-Cajun spot in the Bishop Arts District with a seafood-focused menu. Owners Dan Bui and Connie Cheng, against all odds, opened this restaurant in the middle of the pandemic summer. Our food critic Brian Reinhart visited them shortly after opening and lauded their “confident” soft shell crab bánh mì.
From the get-go, Krio has been busy, but lately, they’ve seen a drastic uptick in business.
“Sales have doubled, and we can't complain,” Cheng says. “Although, it has been very tough hiring for all positions. I know all of my fellow hospitality friends are in the same boat. Understaffed, but pushing through. Everyone needs more hands on deck.”
Despite staff challenges, which wasn't noticed on a recent visit, their chargrilled oysters are a frontrunner in terms of the best plates to get while there.
“Oyster sales are great,” Cheng says. “We have definitely upped our pars when it comes to the Gulf and specialty orders. Right now, we go through at least 1,000 Gulf and 500 specialty oysters, Northeastern, per week, and we always sell out.”
They have two different types of oysters displayed on the ice near the bar; one from Prince Edward Island and the other from Nantucket, Massachusettes. Mine were Gulf oysters.
The chargrilled oysters are liberally doused in Parmesan cheese, butter and Krio's signature garlic bomb spice. Cooked over a flaming grill, the result is more than worthy of slurping. Paired with a Tiger Lager and sunshine, it's nothing short of perfect.
A dozen of these oysters ($28) are served in a giant silver bowl covered with about a dozen slices of charred French baguette. Technically, one could use toast as a vehicle for the oysters, but I feel that’s an injustice.
Let the off-white disks linger as the stack of oysters dwindles. Eventually, the bread gets a bath in warm butter, spices and juices from the oysters. Baptize that bread in the bottom of that bowl, saving you from having to tip that giant silver bowl into your mouth. Not that I wouldn't; this is just more elegant.
Krio is at the eastern edge of the traffic quagmire that engulfs most places in the Bishop Arts District. If you're lucky, you can grab a parking spot in the gravel section in the lot across the street at The Local Oak. Also, the DART Streetcar stops in front of the restaurant and costs $1 to ride, seven days a week from 5:30 a.m. to midnight.
Krio, 233 W. 7th St., Suite 100 (Bishop Arts District). Open 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 4 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. Brunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Closed on Tuesdays.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.