Stay Out of the Kitchen

Catch the fish before it gets to the kitchen

Determined to stick with the simple stuff, I suggest we get a fried seafood platter, which is listed on the menu as the BF Combo.

"What's the 'BF' stand for?" Herb asks the waiter.

"Um, 'full belly combo' would be the polite version," the waiter says, with a respectful eye toward Carol.

St. Pete's Dancing Marlin: Where it's best to catch your fish beforeit migrates to the stove.
Deron Neblett
St. Pete's Dancing Marlin: Where it's best to catch your fish beforeit migrates to the stove.

Location Info


St. Pete's Dancing Marlin

300 Main St.
Houston, TX 77002

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Downtown/ Midtown


Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight. (713)227-1511

Pasta Diablo: $9.50
Oysters (half-dozen): $3.95; (dozen): $5.95
Clem's Colossal Shrimp (half-dozen): $10; (dozen): $20
Fried calamari appetizer: $6.95
Dancing Tuna Sandwich: $8.95
Clam pizza: $6.95
BF Combo: $17.95

300 Main Street

"And what would the impolite version be?" I ask.

"Big fucking combo," the waiter says, giggling.

You'd think it would be hard to mess up a fried seafood platter, but St. Pete's makes it look easy. The large piece of deep-fried catfish is a little warm, but the oysters, fried shrimp and french fries are all stone cold. Our table may have a nice view of Main Street, but it's blocked from the waiter's sight line by the bar, so after a few minutes of arm-waving, we flag down a passing employee and send the platter back to the kitchen for reheating. Our waiter returns with it promptly, apologizing profusely. "No problem," I assure him. But even when we try the fried food piping hot, we are underwhelmed. The gritty cornmeal breading tastes fine on the catfish, but it's too coarse for the tiny juiceless oysters and now overcooked shrimp. The twice-cooked french fries are no thrill either.

The food seemed so much better at lunchtime, I marvel. I guess simplicity is easier to appreciate earlier in the day. By now I am also getting annoyed by the little plastic cups piling up all over the table. The oysters come with cocktail sauce in a little plastic cup; the salad comes with the dressing of your choice in a little plastic cup; and the fried platter comes with tartar sauce in a little plastic cup. Real chefs don't serve sauces in little plastic cups, I fume.

Half the pizza goes uneaten, and nobody wants the fried stuff. But luckily, there is enough linguine in the pasta volcano to feed three people easily. So we pass the bowl around the table and take turns eating dinner. No one finds it particularly spicy, but the chocolate milk comes in handy after all. I have it for dessert.

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