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THE ULTIMATE FOOD LOVER’S GUIDE TO HOUSTON
From the Editors of My Table Magazine / Second Edition – 2011
The exterior doesn’t look like much, and the inside is so excessively nautical that Joyce’s could easily be mistaken for a Galveston seawall tourist trap-that or the live action set for “Spongebob Squarepants.” But that just makes it more fun to eat in one of Houston’s best-kept secrets. Joyce’s blends culinary traditions of the Gulf Coast, Southern Louisiana and Mexico and the result is blackened catfish enchiladas and oyster shooters on tortilla chips with a chipotle aioli. Raw oysters, grilled fish tacos, gumbo, crab-cakes with a sauce of poblano peppers and New Orleans-style barbecued shrimp made with Shiner Bock beer all seem to be menu naturals. If you’re unfamiliar with the location, know that this reliable Tanglewood eatery is set back from its San Felipe address on Winrock.
HOUSTON CLASSIC SEAFOOD
Recipes from Favorite Restaurants / Erin Hicks Miller – 2011
“You would be hard-pressed to find a homier restaurant in Houston, but don’t be fooled by the unpretentious, neighborhood atmosphere. From New York’s Saveur magazine to Texas Monthly, the Houston Chronicle and the Houston Press, this unassuming establishment has garnered high praise and has remained a favorite in the city for fourteen years.”
Oyster Lovers Unite: Five Places to Eat Oysters This Valentine’s Weekend
By Robb Walsh – 2009
…”this blue and turquoise nautically themed hangout is a great destination for oyster lovers.”
Whine & Dine / By Mary Vuong – 2009
“Gabe Gelb’s favorite entree at Joyce’s Seafood & Steaks (6415 San Felipe) is an off-the-menu broiled flounder. ‘But the highlight of lunch or dinner is the airy bread pudding, made with white chocolate and Jack Daniel’s. For a dessert aficionado, (it’s) incomparable!’”
The Pacific Ocean Grill / By Robb Walsh – 2006
“The seafood gumbo I had at Joyce’s was darker than beef gravy, dense with fresh shrimp and just-cooked oysters, and peppery all the way to the back of my throat. Pipping hot, it was better than a fuzzy blanket on a cold and rainy afternoon.”
“I had ordered the lunch special called ‘half po-boy & cup of soup’ and asked for half a catfish poor boy and seafood gumbo. It sounded like a great combination.”
“A fresh poor boy roll was dressed with lettuce and tomato and topped with a large crusty chunk of hot-from-the-fryer catfish. It was small for a whole sandwich but extremely generous for the half it was supposed to be. I anointed the golden-colored batter with the entire contents of the bowl of tartar sauce that came on the side and then I splashed some Tabasco sauce on top of that. The catfish emitted little plumes of steam when I picked up the sandwich and tried to bite it. I nibbled around the edges while I waited for the fish to cool off. The poor boy was spectacular.”
Key Lime Pie – 2006
Yow! is the first, uninhibited response to the rush of citric tartness embedded in Joyce’s monumental wedge of Key lime pie. It’s everything you want from this classic dessert: the energizing lift of lime; the mellowing creamy richness; the sweet cookie-crumb raft that makes the whole thing possible. And, of course, it is made in-house rather than thawed from a fancy freezer box, like too many modern pretenders. This pie is plenty for two to share, and it makes a fine, oh-so-regional finish to one of Joyce’s Louisiana-inflected fried-seafood plates.
What’s Cooking / By Steve Kursar – 2005
“Joyce’s Seafood & Steaks is tucked away behind the Whataburger on Winrock. You’ve probably passed it a million times and never notice it. It’s one of those secret places that locals like to keep hidden and to themselves.”
“A popular entree is the lobster and shrimp enchiladas, a dish that was created one evening long ago because too many lobsters were accidentally delivered to the restaurant. The dish has gone on to become a signature special that never leaves the menu.”
“And for dessert, Joyce’s has one of the best Key Lime pies. It’s tart with a thick graham cracker crust and it’s a perfect ending to a delightful meal.”
Raw Weather / By Robb Walsh – 2004
“For dessert, we ordered our third dozen.” ” The two dozen oysters the four of us ate as an appetizer were without a doubt the best part of the meal. So what was the matter with following up our grilled fish and steak dinners with a dozen more? And what else would you expect at a restaurant called Joyce’s Oyster Resort?” “Joyce’s raw oysters are outstanding. They’re select oysters that have been kept ice-cold, and they’re served within seconds of being shucked.”
“Not only is Joyce’s Seafood and Steaks one of the best seafood restaurants in the city, it’s also a wonderfully relaxed place.”
The Saveur 100 Favorite Foods, Restaurants, Recipes, People, Places, & Things – 2003
#20 It’s a modest little place in a shopping center near the Houston Galleria, with a coffee shop counter and fishnets on the sea blue walls. But there’s Macallan at the bar at Joyce’s Seafood & Steaks (which used to be called Joyce’s Oyster Resort – a name we frankly liked better) and Jordan chardonnay on the wine list, and the menu offers everything from fresh Gulf oysters to crabmeat-stuffed jalapenos, mahi mahi with poblano sauce, and blackened catfish enchiladas – a dish that seems to blend a least three culinary traditions. God bless Texas!
Best of Houston / Best Cajun Restaurant – 2003
Joyce’s is a rarity: a high-end restaurant with great Cajun food. There’s lots of grilled fish and a couple of steaks on the menu, but the Louisiana cuisine is the real attraction. The awesome shrimp poor boy is made with shrimp that have been butterflied and dipped in a spicy batter before being deep-fried and dressed on a crusty roll. The gumbo is made with an inky dark roux and lots of seafood. And the New Orleans-style barbecued shrimp come swimming in the richest butter sauce you’ve ever tasted — with lots of French bread on the side for dipping. The restaurant was formerly known as Joyce’s Oyster Resort. They change the name because too many people assumed oysters were all they served. Luckily, they still dish up the same oyster stew, oysters Rockefeller, and oysters on the half shell as well as a serious fried oyster platter.
2001 / 2002 Houston Restaurants
…”the place to go” for “New Orleans-style BBQ shrimp”; there’s also a new chef who’s adding some “yummy” entrees to the roster, like soft-shell crabs with ‘six-pack sauce’ and ginger-almond grilled tuna.
The World Your Oyster? Try Joyce’s for a Sea Change / By Teresa Byrne-Dodge – 1998
“The owner’s friendly attitude percolates down to the staff. The folks who wait tables are happy to see you and helpful. Forgive one more reference to that old television sitcom, Cheers, but this is that kind of neighborly watering hole where you feel welcome. Your certainly are’t expected to draw you own beer, but you know what I mean: Joyce’s Oyster Resort is comfortable, full of folks from the neighborhood.”
Joyce’s Oyster Resort’s a Pearl of a Seafood Place / By Alan Truex – 1996
“For a city so close to the coast, Houston is not blessed with a plethora of good seafood restaurants. It’s sad that frozen shrimp and fish are served so often in places specializing in seafood. Fortunately, that is not the case at Joyce’s Oyster Resort.”
“Joyce’s combines comfortable, cozy nautical ambience with attentive service and delicious food for prices that are surprisingly restrained. You will not find better frying in this city – or in Lafayette, for that matter.”
“This is a jewel of a place.”