We took a chance going to Fish Tales on a Saturday night without reservations. Fortunately we didn't have to wait long, and did so upstairs at the bar, with a beautiful view of a wintry Gulf sunset. We would have enjoyed an outdoor seat but it was too cold for that! Our wait was accompanied by a glass of undistinguished (“Stone Cellars”) Cabernet. The atmosphere upstairs was frenetic and the friendly servers were very hurried, so it was a relief to be called downstairs for our requested table. There is indoor dining upstairs but it was just too busy to be enjoyable.
We were seated at a table with another lovely view of the Gulf. The atmosphere downstairs was also lively, but more of a happy-family kind of energy complete with kiddos. Our waitress brought us another glass of a more interesting but overpriced Cabernet (“Snap Dragon”), which we paired with the Avocado and Crab Dip appetizer. It was enough for two: big chunks of fresh crab and avocado, with a generous plate of tortilla chips with salsa, pico de gallo, and corn relish.
I wanted oysters since I've heard how good they are this year. I could find only the fried oyster platter so I selected that. I received over a dozen of the delectables, on a bed of crispy French fries, with a very small cole slaw on the side. The oysters were small and very tender, breaded in corn meal, OK but a bit on the bland side. Slaw was great.
My friend splurged on the broiled seafood platter. It had several large shrimp plus one stuffed shrimp, fish of the day, and a few crawfish tails, accompanied by a delectable butter-based dipping sauce. The shrimp were tasty and the fish was melt-in-your-mouth and well flavored. The stuffed shrimp was particularly delicious and delicately seasoned. The platter included vegetable medley of green beans, carrot and squash, which were sautéed crunchy-fresh. Rice pilaf was fluffy and tangy.
Believe it or not, we had saved room for dessert, so we decided to share bread pudding. It arrived as a giant serving complete with crunchy cinnamon-butter sauce, topped with whipped cream and sliced strawberries. Pudding was dense with nuts and raisins. The sauce really made the dessert. I must admit that we also ordered chocolate-dipped strawberries which were delicious! Needless to say we did have to ask for a doggy bag.
Overall we were pleasantly surprised with the quality of the food, given that Fish Tales is actually part of the Landry's chain. The food was fresh and well-prepared. I do think they could have done better with the oysters. Service throughout the place seemed frenetic, as though understaffed. We thought perhaps it was because of the holiday weekend but our waitress assured us it is always that busy on Saturdays.
Fish Tales is a good family restaurant, especially downstairs. Outdoor seating upstairs would undoubtedly be fabulous in nice weather. The menu is varied, as are the prices, so there is something for everyone.