November is the perfect time of year to indulge in seafood. It's warm enough that you can still sit outside if you want to, and cold oysters will still be refreshing, but it's cool enough to make you crave a steaming bowl of gumbo or baked oysters Rockefeller. Oh yeah, and nearly everything is plump and fresh this time of year.
Oyster season officially started on November 1, but forecasters aren't expecting it to peak for a few months, meaning the juicy bivalves will just keep getting better and better. We're just reaching the end of blue crab and rock shrimp season, but flounder and mackerel are ideal throughout the fall.
What better month to eat all the seafood you can get your hands on than November, while all of these differing seasons are overlapping? And where better to satisfy a seafood craving than Danton's Gulf Coast Seafood Kitchen, which we named the best seafood restaurant in Houston this year?
"Everything is pristine right now," says Kyle Teas, who co-owns Danton's with his childhood friend, Danton Nix.
On a recent trip to Danton's, I revisited some of our old favorite dishes...you know, just to make sure they're still the best. I was not disappointed.
The Crab Danton is a refreshing start to a meal, with big chunks of jumbo lump crabmeat mixed with green onions and tossed in a garlic rémoulade sauce. It's cool, creamy and slightly spicy thanks to the garlic and onions, but the delicate crab flavor comes through with every bite.
From there, I dove into all of the bounty the sea has to offer: Oysters Kyle, a serving of six fat, buttery oysters swimming in a garlic, lemon butter sauce rich with Dan's secret spice mix; Baked Oysters Dan, freshly shucked bivalves in garlic butter topped with lump crab meat, bread crumbs and Parmesan, then baked until bubbling; Chargrilled oysters sprinkled with smoky chunks of tasso ham; and finally, Danton's famous gumbo, what I would call easily the best gumbo in Houston. And I've tried a lot of gumbo in this town.
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What makes Danton's gumbo the best is the roux. Nix takes the time to let his roux get to a good, dark, smoky brown before adding in vegetables, shrimp, crab and whole oysters. It's velvety smooth, a little spicy and full of salty seafood flavor. All the oysters I ate were incredible, but after the gumbo arrived, I regretted that I hadn't saved just a little more room for a whole bowl instead of a cup.
Danton's also does some good old-fashioned Southern desserts like bread pudding and peanut butter ice cream pie, but the restaurant is all about seafood, first and foremost.
And on Mondays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., oysters are half price in the oyster bar, a dark leather and wood space designed to be a cozy spot for eating far too many mouthwatering mollusks. Right now during happy hour, gulf oysters are only $7 per dozen (and only $13.95 during regular dining hours). You absolutely cannot beat that price on quality, fresh gulf oysters anywhere in town.
So tell me, friends: How many dozen can you devour?