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Battleground Fried Shrimp

The Monument Inn continues an old tradition of dining on hallowed ground.

The two-story building that people remember as the San Jacinto Inn was built in 1927. The all-you-can-eat seafood spread and Bertha's biscuits were Houston favorites for decades. Bertha Sanders continued to run the kitchen until her death in 1952.

The Monument Inn opened in 1974 and has taken over the tradition of the big two-story all-you-can-eat seafood restaurant at the battleground.
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The first time I went to the Monument Inn, I ordered the all-you-can-eat seafood special. "It's a tradition," I explained to my dubious dining companion, who frowned on such a display of gluttony. She got a catfish poor boy.

Indulge in the fried seafood with the ­fisherman's platter.
Robb Walsh
Indulge in the fried seafood with the ­fisherman's platter.

Location Info

Map

Monument Inn

4406 Independence Parkway S.
La Porte, TX 77571

Category: Restaurant > Seafood

Region: Outside Houston

Details

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

All-you-can-eat seafood: $27.95

Shrimp salad: $9.95

Fisherman's platter: $18.95

Poor boy: $9.95

Fried shrimp (8): $12.95

4406 Independence Parkway South, 281-479-1521.

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The all-you-can-eat seafood special started with a half dozen oysters on the half shell. I don't eat raw oysters in the summer as a rule, but I tried a couple. They were skinny and tasteless, as summer oysters tend to be. Next came a big basket of boiled shrimp. I usually love boiled shrimp, but these were terrible. The tiny shrimp looked like they'd been frozen together in a brick and then pulled apart. There were mangled shrimp and soggy shells all through the basket. I picked out the best-looking specimens I could find. They tasted watery. (These are the shrimp I complained to the waitress about on my later visit.) My tablemate munched on her excellent poor boy and giggled at my comeuppance.

The waiter asked me if I wanted seconds on boiled shrimp or oyster, but I declined. Finally, the second course arrived. It was a huge platter of fried seafood. After two or three of the aforementioned fried shrimp, I forgot all about the lackluster first course. The fried seafood plate contained the same fried oysters, stuffed crab, and fried catfish I would later enjoy on the fisherman's platter — only there were a lot more of them.

I had to get the famous all-you-can-eat seafood special so I could describe the experience, but when I was done, I felt a lot of regret. At least half of the fried shrimp and oysters were left uneaten. You can't get a doggie bag with the all-you-can-eat special. I probably would have suffered a coronary if I ate it all, but I hated to throw all that delicious fried seafood away.

No doubt we are all a lot healthier since the fried seafood platter went out of fashion. But a visit to the Monument Inn is a great excuse to indulge in a little backsliding. Fried seafood is not only the best thing on the menu here, it's part of the whole nostalgic experience. But get the fisherman's platter, not the all-you-can-eat seafood special.

Regardless of the hit-or-miss menu, I'm glad I finally visited the Monument Inn. The battleground and the monument are a must for Texas history buffs. And the view from the restaurant is terrific. I could sit there all day long, watching the ships roll in and eating fried shrimp.

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