A while back our lives changed here in East Dallas. Goodfriend opened and we had drinks and burgers. There was this rumor that a seafood joint was opening, as well. But, that would just be too good to be true, wouldn’t it? 15 years of East Dallas living with no decent bars and certainly no seafood left us skeptical. And then it happened. Things have never been the same.
20 Feet has received quite a lot of good press. Rated one of the best seafood places in town. And I will say that it’s only grown better and better as time has passed. It’s a very regular spot for us. Not only is the seafood fantastic, fresh and affordable, we always bring our own beer or wine. That puts it in the VERY affordable category, which is not where you usually find seafood.
Today, we tried the oyster shooters. Is that cute or what? And so delicious! $2 each? Seriously? That’s it? I didn’t realize you could get something this good for $2 until today.
As usual, we over-ordered. I had the coconut shiitaki mushroom soup. Delicious and mild. An excellent blend of flavors. It was their special soup of the day. So, you can’t always get this. I love trying their soups. I’ve never had one that wasn’t fantastic.
Hubbard went with the traditional clam chowder that is always on the menu. I have to admit that I probably had 10 bowls of this in a row before I could bring myself to order any other soup at 20 Feet. I love this chowder. The best I’ve ever had.
Another thing I find hard to resist is the Shrimp Scampi over Parmesan grits. I’m a grits girl. And the slaw on top with the little crunchy things… love it! (I don’t know what the little crunchy things are. Does it matter?)
Hub, being in that traditional mood today, had the fish and chips. We searched this town for fish and chips a few years back and never really found any we liked as well as Guthrie’s, which closed a long time ago. 20 Feet has the best fish and chips ever. Why? The fish is delicious and perfectly fried every time. But, those fries. The fries alone are enough reason to order this dish. They’re done with rosemary and thyme and cloves of garlic. I think of the garlic cloves as little presents when I find them nestled between the skinny fries. I’m not sure if I’ve ever left one for Hubbard. I like garlic even more than grits.
We didn’t get dessert today. But, Suzan has got to be the best pie maker in town. The chocolate cream pie and the key lime are so delicious. Try to be more sensible than we were today and leave room for pie. Or the strawberry shortcake which was the special today and I know I’ll be regretting not ordering as soon as I’m hungry again. Hmmm… maybe we’ll go back for dinner!
Posted in Restaurant Review
Tagged 20 Feet Seafood Joint, chowder, eating in Dallas, fish and chips, food, Marc Cassal, pie, seafood, shrimp, Shrimp and Grits, soup, Suzan Fries
I’ve been thinking about the food at Meddlesome Moth ever since we visited last weekend. I’m not quite sure what to say. It’s a little boring? The presentation is lacking? I guess the place itself is such a great venue that it’s really begging for better food. The service was perfect. Not too pushy. Exactly as attentive as I needed. It’s obviously well managed. There are about a million beers on tap. The beer list is fascinating actually. But, the food…
Shrimp and grits with jalapeno gravy. I love shrimp and grits. This dish was not what I think of when I think shrimp and grits. Grits didn’t have much flavor. Gravy was barely lifted up by the jalapeno, basically just a cream gravy. The shrimp may have been marinated because they tasted a little different than straight up shrimp. But, overall, it was not very flavorful at all. I was craving some garlic, onion or bacon or something. And look at it. Very monochromatic. Did I hate it? No. But, I was underwhelmed.
Hub had the fish and chips. Again, the presentation isn’t on the mark. The potatoes were limp and a little oily. The flavor of the fish was fine and I think the housemade tartar sauce was actually very good with nice herb note.
If we were served this food at a dive, I would be impressed. But, this is no dive. Far from it. This was our first visit. Perhaps the burgers, salads or sandwiches are better. I want to try one of the beer flights they have available. On this visit the thing I was most impressed with was the coffee.
I’ll get back to you if the story changes.
This weekend I made a recipe that my friend S found on the web. Hattie’s Shrimp and Grits recipe was published by D Magazine. If you haven’t been to Hattie’s, over in the Bishop Arts District of Oak Cliff, you need to go. The food is excellent and it’s an overall exceptional experience. Hubbard had never tried shrimp and grits and I had never made it. So, I decided to give it a go with the recipe.
There are a few things to remember when you’re cooking a chef’s recipe at home. Number one, said chef probably hasn’t written a cookbook for home use. Writing recipes is a very big deal. The best recipe’s are completely accurate and leave nothing to guess work. Number two, does the chef really want you to be able to recreate the dish exactly at home instead of coming into his restaurant to eat it? Number three, he or she cooks in a restaurant kitchen which is vastly different from a home kitchen. All this boils down to the fact that if you follow a recipe exactly as it is printed in the newspaper or magazine, you’ll often end up with something very different from what you had at the restaurant.
Hubbard loved this when it was done. He said, “It’s a lot better than I thought it would be.” He ate every bite. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture. But, I changed a few things from the original recipe. Grits. A recipe for grits with no salt added. Sorry. I just don’t believe in that. I know the chicken broth will have a little salt in it. But, I couldn’t help myself from adding a pinch or two. And pepper. I added pepper. And twice as much butter when I was sauteing the shallots. I also cut the recipe in half and we still had about a cup leftover. Grits are filling and we weren’t serving five. I also added about 1/2 a cup of freshly grated Parmesan and about the same of extra sharp Cheddar. I cut the thyme down to just a pinch and I added a pinch of oregano, too. It never tells when to add the herb. So, I just sauted it with the shallots. The grits were fabulous. I’m taking the leftovers to work for breakfast tomorrow. Crumble up a little bacon in them… fabu.
I did not cut the shrimp recipe in half. Hub and I can put away a pound of shrimp between the two of us, easy. My problem with the shrimp recipe is that it called for cooking the bacon and green onions together “until done”. Well, I kind of like my bacon to have turned brown before I pour a lot of liquid on it. The moisture from the green onions kept it from doing that. The bacon was diced, but I could still see a lot of white fat and that kind of disturbed me. Eventually, there was no choice but to throw in the shrimp or the onions were going to burn. The shrimp cooked about five minutes then I shook on a few dashes of Louisiana Hot Sauce because I think it tastes better than Tabasco. In went the liquids. Sure seemed like a lot of liquid to me. So, I pushed all the shrimp to the side and turned up the heat to reduce the sauce. The flavor of the entire dish was outstanding. Once it was done, I didn’t really notice the funky bacon any more. Though, I think I’ll brown it a bit next time before I add the onions.
So, with a few adjustments, this turned out as good as it is at Hattie’s. Still doesn’t replace the experience of being in the restaurant, though. It’s a sweet little place. Go.