Captain Tom's in Houston
Sometimes a sign is all that's needed to get me excited about a restaurant.
Don and I have passed this goofy sign, (north of Houston) about 20 times in the past 15 years. Last week we spotted the sign along I-10. This time we stopped and had a closer look.
Actually the cartoonish catfish sign isn't nearly as eye-catching as the restaurant.
The boat-shaped restaurant makes me grin, every time I see it!
Love a Gimmick
We've eaten in a few restaurants with unusual shapes over the years. I love a gimmick or a theme! Captain Tom's has both.
We parked and followed the walk towards the bow of the boat. It actually looked sort of eerie as we approached. What were we in for?
Then I was distracted by the oyster shells on the ground. I took that as a sign of a serious seafood restaurant.
I hoped to see some oyster shucking inside the boat. I wonder how many they shuck per day at Captain Tom's?
Follow the Locals
"There's the door, on the starboard side!" I told Don. It's important to use your boating terms when dining in a boat-shaped restaurant.
The other diners approaching the restaurant were not playing along with the nautical theme. They appeared to be locals, not travelers. My camera snapping made it clear, we were first-timers.
Lots of Counters
We stepped inside the noisy place and tried to figure it out. There were no tables, just counters. We joined a long line of people standing along the windows, waiting for seats. (This photo was taken later)
There was a system, but we hadn't figured it out yet.
The main part of the boat's bow, was taken up with a huge U-shaped counter. Guests could eat their seafood and watch the busy guys in red shirts.
One very nice guy in red, noticed me looking confused and pointed to some vacant stools near the window. He said all the people in line, were waiting for seats at the center bar.
In the U
It was hard to see into the special U, since the occupied stools were close together. I was able to peek through later, when a couple seats vacated.
I could see why it would be fun to sit at the main bar/counter. So many of people appeared to know one another. The noise level was loud and festive. The energy inside the U was high, as the red guys rushed around grabbing beers from the ice filled sinks and delivering plates of oysters and fried fish.
I walked around the U to see if I could find any better seats. The atmosphere was fun, but a little intimidating.
Don and I generally try to avoid super crowded places... with this endless pandemic. I was hopeful we'd find a couple of stools, that weren't right on top of other diners.
We lucked out. I grabbed 2 stools that seemed to have a little more space around them.
Then we jumped back up to read the hanging menu. Before we had time to ponder, one of the guys in red hollered to us from the U. I hollered back, "Large shrimp plate and a cup of gumbo!" Even though we hadn't fully decided.
I wish we'd had it in us, to go for the full raw oyster experience. Maybe if it had been less crowded and we'd felt less rushed.
Instead, we shared a cup of gumbo and a large order of fried shrimp. I was surprised at how quickly our piping hot order arrived.
There was an unusual corn batter on the shrimp. I think this is one of the things regulars love about the place, but it seemed a little odd to me. The fries were good and hot, but we couldn't find catsup. We used cocktail sauce.
By the time we finished up, the nearby guests had departed. I took a quick, (not so flattering) photo of Don. It shows our prize spot in the bow, with a view of the catfish sign.
Trip to the Stern
Before leaving, I made a trip to the restroom in the stern of the boat. I approved of the nautical tile colors and porthole. I tried to peek in the kitchen on the way back. I wanted to see where the shucking was happening. No luck spotting the action.
I made sure to get a photo of myself with the sign in the background. Chances are this won't become a regular stop on trips home from New Orleans. I seized the opportunity.
I took one last photo of Don, exiting on the starboard side.
I must give hime some credit for letting me check out Captain Tom's.
The Port Side
Don headed to the car and I dashed off quickly in hopes of getting a photo of the entire boat.
It was actually impossible. I walked all the way around and this was the best I could capture. It looks like the boat is sailing on a sea of Oleanders!
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The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.