Now’s a Great Time to Enjoy Seafood in Dallas

You're all grown up now. Maybe it's time to up your game from a Filet-O-Fish to something better from Son of a Butcher.
You're all grown up now. Maybe it's time to up your game from a Filet-O-Fish to something better from Son of a Butcher. Courtesy Son of a Butcher
If you don’t observe Lent, there’s a surefire way to know when the season rolls around. Mardi Gras parties may have gone missing this year, but you can’t miss that every fast food place in town is offering fish sandwiches.

A new one in the mix this year is Golden Chick’s beer-battered Alaskan cod, offered for the first time ever, as a fillet, on a sandwich or on a combo with butterfly shrimp. I tried the combo, and it’s pretty tasty. But if you don’t want to resort to fast food, try the Filet O’ Butcher slider at Son of a Butcher.

Of course, there are other reasons besides Lent to enjoy seafood this time of year, and there’s far more than sandwiches to enjoy. Crawfish are in season, and some of us will crave fish and chips on St. Patrick’s Day. If you’ve kept your resolution to eat healthier this year, fresh seafood options can offer some variety. If you didn’t make that resolution this year, there’s no reason not to start now.

Despite being a landlocked city, Dallas has great seafood restaurants all over town, not to mention a few unexpected places with fabulous fish options.

Aunt Irene’s Kitchen

3309 S. Malcolm X Blvd. (Fair Park)

The “daily mix” at Aunt Irene’s can vary, but it’s always going to include some flavorful seafood. Cajun-style seafood boils offer crab, shrimp, lobster and sausage individually or in any number of combinations. Boils also include corn and potatoes.

Fried fish and shrimp, gumbo and seafood pasta or potatoes are also top sellers.

click to enlarge Shrimp in garlic from Bulla Gastropub - KRISTINA ROWE
Shrimp in garlic from Bulla Gastropub
Kristina Rowe

Bulla Gastropub

6007 Legacy Drive, No. 180, Plano

It’s not too surprising to see seafood paella on the menu at this Spanish restaurant in Plano, but a few of the small plates highlight seafood too.

Salmon carpaccio is topped with crispy capers, cornichons, arugula, mini croutons and aioli while the sauteed garlic shrimp dish, gambas al ajillo, is finished with brandy and pepper flakes. Fresh lime and orange brighten the flavor of the shrimp and fish ceviche spiced up with roasted jalapeños and served with plantain chips.

click to enlarge While a crawfish boil is perfectly acceptable during Lent, you might want to leave your 'squeeze the tails, suck the head' T-shirt in the closet until after Easter. These beauties are from Flying Fish. - BROSE MCDOWELL
While a crawfish boil is perfectly acceptable during Lent, you might want to leave your 'squeeze the tails, suck the head' T-shirt in the closet until after Easter. These beauties are from Flying Fish.
Brose McDowell

Flying Fish

1838 Irving Blvd. (Design District), 6126 Luther Lane (Park Cities), 9600 Wharf Road (Cypress Waters) and additional locations in Plano and Garland.

If it swims, Flying Fish will fry it up for you, and that means catfish, shrimp, frog legs and even alligator. Grilled fish options include six varieties of fish topped with your choice of traditional, chimichurri or garlic butter seasoning.

The menu here is wide-ranging with everything from oysters on the half shell to po'boys to fish tacos. Your choices for boiled platters are snow crab, hot or chilled shrimp and crawfish when they’re in season, which is right now.

Hula Girl Poke

3015 Gulden Lane (Trinity Groves)

Although the flavors are complex, a poke bowl is a very simple meal, perfect for Lent or for healthy eating any time. At Hula Girl, you can order a signature bowl like the Hawaiian bowl or build your own with your choice of protein, rice, sauce and toppings.

Fish choices include tuna, salmon and spicy tuna with white, brown or bamboo rice as a base. Fruits and veggies like edamame, shiitake mushrooms, mango and avocado fill up the bowl while spicy mayo, Korean barbecue, ponzu or traditional poke sauce bring all the flavors together.

Krio Bishop Arts

233 W 7th St., No. 100 (Bishop Arts)

Asian fusion can cover a lot of territory, but at Krio it means Asian-inspired Cajun food.

Cod, shrimp and soft-shell crab are served blackened, fried or in gluten-free rice flour batter or piled into a po'boy or bánh mì. Seafood boils of crawfish, snow or king crab, shrimp or clams come in three spice blends and four levels of heat.

Kyodai Handroll & Seafood Bar

2626 N. Josey Lane, No. 107, Carrollton and 16100 Highway 121, Building B., No. 200, Frisco

This Frisco restaurant popular for its hand-rolled sushi opened a second location in Carrollton in late January. In addition to sushi rolls, both locations offer sashimi and nigiri as well as other specials that change based on the day’s fresh seafood delivery.

Signature riceless rolls made with snow crab, king salmon and avocado include the king roll rolled in bluefin tuna and the royal roll wrapped with thinly sliced cucumbers.

click to enlarge Wood-grilled Atlantic salmon from Ida Claire - COURTESY OF IDA CLAIRE
Wood-grilled Atlantic salmon from Ida Claire
courtesy of Ida Claire

Ida Claire

5001 Belt Line Road (Far North Dallas)

Ida Claire is the perfect place to go for traditional Southern dishes like fried green tomatoes or chicken and waffles. The seafood options are just as tempting with shrimp and grits, crawfish corn beignets or a Gulf seafood dip with shrimp, crawfish, spinach, garlic, shallots and a three-cheese blend served with spiced potato chips.

For a simple Southern meal during Lent, try the wood-grilled Atlantic salmon served with blistered okra and broccolini, Fresno peppers, spiced yogurt and sesame.

click to enlarge Pescado tacos from Mexican Sugar - MARIAH DEMERY_@DFWFOODGIRL
Pescado tacos from Mexican Sugar
Mariah Demery_@dfwfoodgirl

Mexican Sugar

7501 Lone Star Drive, No. B150, Plano, and 3215 Regent Blvd, Irving

You probably come here for tacos or enchiladas, but the seafood versions are worth your attention. Lump crab enchiladas are served with poblano crema, roasted corn pico and queso fresco while mesquite-grilled salmon comes with Latin corn succotash and poblano corn.

Pescado tacos are made with adobo-marinated whitefish served with avocado spread, pickled red onions, jicama slaw, lime crema and habanero mango pico on hibiscus tortillas.
click to enlarge Chilean seabass from Ocean Prime - COURTESY OF OCEAN PRIME
Chilean seabass from Ocean Prime
Courtesy of Ocean Prime

Ocean Prime

2101 Cedar Springs Road, No. 150 (Uptown)

The fine dining at Ocean Prime might feel a little too luxurious for Lent, but the blackened Texas redfish served with corn spoonbread and jalapeño tartar sauce makes a perfect Lenten Friday meal. If you’re considering shellfish options, the sea scallops with parmesan risotto, English peas and citrus vinaigrette is another simple meal.

The shrimp sauté with Tabasco cream sauce and the jumbo lump crab cake on the appetizers menu are delicious any time. You can also get a smoking shellfish tower made custom with your favorite selections.

On Sundays, the $55 Surf & Turf meal includes an 8-ounce filet and your choice of shrimp scampi, crab cake or sea scallops plus the soup or salad and side of your choice.

St. Pete’s Dancing Marlin

2730 Commerce St. (Deep Ellum)

As you might expect, there are quite a few seafood options here, including fresh shrimp, catfish and oysters on the half shell. Sushi-grade yellowfin tuna is good on the appetizer crostini, cooked to order for the “Dancing Tuna Steak” or chicken fried if that’s what floats your boat.
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By day, Kristina Rowe writes documentation that helps users navigate software, and as a contributor to the Dallas Observer she helps people find their way to food and fun. A long-time list-maker, small-business fan and happiness aficionado, she's also been an Observer reader for almost 40 years.
Contact: Kristina Rowe