Eugene’s Gulf Coast Cuisine is named for the owner’s (Kyle Teas) father, Eugene. Kyle Teas was born and raised in Houston and grew up eating Texas Gulf seafood and wanted to acquaint more people with the cuisine and thus he opened Danton’s Gulf Coast Seafood Kitchen in 2007. When the Mockingbird Bistro space became available about a year ago, the restaurant moved and expanded the menu as well as the seating. They stress serving fresh and seasonal fish, many cooked with Cajun influence. The old school large place is in the River Oaks area with plenty of parking. The staff is super friendly and helpful but also very professional and efficient. In addition to their menu, they had nightly specials and discounts for happy hour snacks and drinks. The food was delightful and I would easily recommend this place as one to visit when in Houston.
We started with a round of cocktails while we looked over the menu. We found a wonderful deal on Raw Oysters on their ‘Happy Hour Menu’, so go early and enjoy them. They were served with a nice tomato sauce, lemon wedges, and a side of creamy horseradish to mix in as desired. The server also brought 2 types of hot sauce. The shucking was first rate – no grit and little shell invaded the lovely sweet Gulf oysters. The size varied but they were all great.
Most entrees came with 2 sides which could include a small version of one of their salads or a choice of vegetables. This makes for a full meal as the portions are on the generous side. We were there with friends and so I got to take pictures of several plates. One of the evening specials was Halibut Magnifique which was a blackened filet of halibut covered with crawfish étouffée, which was like the shrimp version on the menu except made with crawfish. The halibut was covered with rich, spicy, onion and roux base sauce. It was ordered with the small Wedge salad and spinach. The fish and sauce were very good. The Wedge was made with Iceberg lettuce, green onions, bacon, and tomatoes with blue cheese vinaigrette on the side.
Pecan Crusted Rainbow Trout was a large Idaho trout filet dredged in pecan flour, then pan broiled and topped with Bianca sauce. For sides, a small Caesar and onion rings were chosen. The fish was lovely and the onion rings were crispy and not greasy. The onion stayed in the light coating. The salad was made with Romaine lettuce, parmesan, and croutons tossed with a house made Caesar dressing.
Gulf Coast Snapper was topped with crab meat and served with sides of onion rings and spinach. The spinach was nicely cooked and seasoned. The onion rings as before and the fish was cooked nicely. It had a generous topping of crabmeat but could have benefitted from a sauce of some kind to tie it all together better.
Crab Au Gratin is a baked delight of jumbo lump crabmeat in a classic cheddar cheese sauce with white wine and green onions topped with parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Sides of okra and tomatoes and yams with toasted pecans were chosen for this one. The gratin was packed with large chunks of crabmeat and topped with tons of tasty cheese. It is a rich dish and worth every bite. The okra and tomatoes were well cooked, southern style, and fairly tasty. The yams were well seasoned with spices and smooth and yummy. The nuts added the needed texture and a perfect enhancement for the dish.
Pecan Ball with chocolate sauce was made with a scoop of Blue Bell homemade vanilla ice cream and then rolled in pecans and finally drizzled with homemade chocolate sauce. It was topped with a couple of fresh raspberries. The ice cream was dense and at a good temperature but I would have toasted the nuts a bit more to bring out their flavor. The chocolate sauce was very good but the giant ball needed a tad more to still be around for the last bites of ice cream.