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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Seafood, Southern
Counter service

Sun–Thu 11:00am–11:00pm
Fri–Sat 11:00am–midnight

Features Kid-friendly
Bar Beer, wine
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx

East Houston
13955 E. Fwy.
Houston, TX
(713) 451-3700

Northwest Houston
9651 FM 1960 W.
Houston, TX
(281) 890-8334

20525 Katy Fwy.
Katy, TX
(281) 829-6407
Captain Tom’s Seafood
The bounty of the Gulf and the swamp, served raw and fried

There are a few of these restaurants around town, each shaped like an old fishing boat; the landscaping even consists of discarded oyster shells. Inside, the only seating is a horseshoe of stools around the semi-open kitchen, making for some tight quarters (there are no tables), but it only adds to the experience. Whether at lunch or dinner, you might have to fight for a seat, and, although the capacity is around 70, don’t even think about bringing large parties.

There are two preparations at Captain Tom’s: fried and raw. Fried means it’s dredged in cornmeal, done (usually) to a near-perfect crisp (sometimes it can be overfried), and served immediately. Fried seafood is what the Gulf Coast is known for, yet it’s surprisingly hard to find in Houston—props to Tom’s for its sense of place. There’s stuffed crab (savory, moist), frog legs, fried shrimp (pungent), and some really good (if mushy) gumbo on the cheap. Whole flounder and catfish can be a little overcooked, but the bones do their job by keeping moisture in the meat. In a move we’d like to see more often, fried jalapeños come stuffed with succulent crabmeat. A visit here wouldn’t be complete without a michelada—get them to throw an oyster on the bottom for the original oyster shooter. Be careful with these...it’s easy to go overboard.

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