Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The Oyster Bar Too

For most of my life, I have been blessed with access to some of the best seafood available. Being the son of a shrimper, I have had all the shrimp, fish and squid that person could want on a regular basis. However, about 3 years ago, my father retired from shrimping and sold his boat the Valley Cloud. Now, seafood has become a more appreciated event for me. My wife Erica, does not care for seafood, so dining out at a seafood restaurant is not as often as I would prefer. Well as luck would have it, this past Saturday my 7 year old daughter Emma and I, decided that since Erica was busy, we would go out to the Oyster Bar to enjoy some fried fish.
Emma and I arrived at the Oyster Bar (Paredes Line Rd) during lunch time and were quickly seated. The decor at the Oyster Bar has never changed. It dining area is lined with booths and tables, along with stuffed or fake fish and crabs on the walls. My daughter loves the Oyster Bar, she says it is because she loves fish, but I think the fish and oyster themed place mats give her some amusement as well. The menu at the Oyster Bar has seen little change. They feature whole baby Snapper, Orange Roughy, stuffed and fried shrimp, crab, and oysters (of course), along with soup, stuffed jalapenos and other items. The only item that is not seafood is the chicken fried steak.
I ordered a cup of the seafood soup and the variety platter; Emma had the half order of fried fish with French fries. Within minutes my soup and Emma's fish plate had arrived. I quickly prepped Emma's plate for her with a little lemon and some ketchup, she dug right in. Hot and steamy, I quickly added some Tabasco, a dash of Worcestershire sauce and fresh lemon to my soup. It was excellent! The soup was served with a few shrimp, small pieces of white fish, and vegetables (mostly potato). I easily could have devoured another bowl. When my plate arrived it had two fish filets, two shrimp, two scallops and two oysters, all fried. The sides included a green salad (it usually comes with cottage cheese), and a baked potato. Our server provided us with a basket full of warm bread, loads of butter, sour cream and extra lemons. Needless to say, Emma and I were in seafood heaven. Overall, the experience was everything we wanted. My rating for our experience was 4 out of 5 stars. Why?
Number One: Flavor. I have had the soup at Oyster Bar for years and it is always good. The only exception is if you arrive in the afternoon. I have noticed that the shrimp in the soup can become tough and the fish dissolves into the broth. However, the flavor is always there.
Number Two: Consistency. The seafood is usually fresh. I have had a bad piece of shrimp at the Oyster Bar, though rare, it has happened. But I have enjoyed the oysters on the half-shell on many occasions and they have always been fresh.
Number Three: Although, my experience at the Oyster was great; there is plenty of room for improvement. Service can be slow and inconsistent at times. The menu could have more than one item for the non-seafood lovers. The kitchen sometimes run out of some of the popular items on the menu and the business hours are a little different (they close after lunch then re-open for dinner).

Like I mentioned the Oyster Bar is a good restaurant that manages to maintain a regular clientele. However, frying food is like shooting fish in a barrel; quality and consistency though can be much harder to accomplish.


Enrique said...

I want to add that the Oyster Bar could also help out parents by having a kids menu and a lunch menu.

Some one also questioned me about the price. Seafood is usually a premium price regardless where you go. I felt the price I paid was fair for what I received and not necessary to mention. The Oyster is moderately priced.

5:49 PM  
Angie said...

Wow, I need to go try this seafood, am not a fan of seafood, I can eat it once or twice a year. Maybe it is just pyschological since my sister is allergic to shrimp I think I can get sick too. Nah,,, I am just not a fishy person lol. Yet I will still go try one of these days, Maybe I will just try the chicken fried steak!

8:12 PM  
Tet said...

It's been years since I've been to the oyster bar. which one did you go to, the one downtown, or the one behind the Vermillion? I've never had the soup, but I've had the stuffed jalapenos, and they are the best I've ever had. But i agree, the place just needs a small makeover. Nothing drastic, to get it caught up with times. And i wish they had more stuff on the menu. but i'm just nit picking. once again, nice job!

10:40 AM  
Enrique said...

The Oyster Bar Too is the one located on Paredes Line Rd, behind The Vermillion. I agree that a makeover certainly wouldn't hurt the Oyster Bar. I have never had the Stuffed Jalapenos, but that is because they don't always have them in stock. I will have to try them next time.

Thanx for your comments.


10:59 AM  
Mayra said...

I Looooovve Shrimp! Even if I am allergic, I'll eat them...the pleasures outweighs the cons! My family can tell you, I'll willingly suffer for shrimp. I've only been to Oyster Bar once and that was when I was eleven...so yes...it was loooong ago. Yet perhaps I will go try it soon. My dad loves seafood so maybe my family will take him for Father's Day. He is a merchant marine and eats seafood as often as he can.

9:23 PM  
Anonymous said...

I used to love the oysterbar when I was a kid but recently (last November) I took my wife and her sister to dinner and my sister in law found a roach in her plate! The staff was real quick to take care of us but it just gave me the creeps. I understand that the building is old and hey this is Brownsville so you will get roaches, but I still havent returned. BTW just came across this site while trying to find a place to have dinner in McAllen. LOVE the site, if you ever need another poster let me know!

2:55 PM  
Enrique said...

Wow, thats a head up. I have zero tolerance for infestations or any type of health hazards in restaurants. The first an ultimate responsibility of any restaurant is to maintain a safe and clean kitchen. I would immediately report any such violations to a health inspector. Seafood restaurants already have high risk factors for sicknesses.
Thanks for your comment. And feel free to send any posts you wish to Zoogly@yahoo.com . I love to hear other peoples opinions, especially on restaurants. Thanks again

4:37 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home