Baja Seafood and Oyster Bar on Westheimer where Tommy's Steakhouse used to be is offering a grand opening special: all the oysters, shrimp and fish you can eat for $17. I think I could make a serious dent in the oyster supply at this place. The restaurant is owned by Bob Walsh and his family (no relation). Walsh used to have a seafood restaurant in Houston years ago, but he went off to Baja California to seek his fortune. There he got into crabs.
Ten years ago, when the crab supply petered out in the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland wholesalers started buying up all the big crabs in Texas and Louisiana for prices as high as $30 a dozen. As a result, the Gulf lump crab industry collapsed. The crab pickers couldn't get big crabs at a decent price. We couldn't afford our own crabs anymore. (We still can't.)
Walsh noticed that the swimmer crab of Pacific Mexico yielded beautiful big lump crabmeat. So he started a packing plant in Baja and became one of the founders of the Mexican crab-packing industry. Today, much of the giant lump crabmeat we eat in Houston comes from Baja California. It isn't quite as sweet as Gulf crab, but it looks good. I imagine Bob Walsh serves lots of it at Baja Oyster Bar.
If you want to eat that sweet Texas crab like we used to get, start doing your own crabbing -- or move to Maryland.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.