by Steven Doyle
Always on the hunt for something overwhelmingly delicious, a stop to study the local seafood tower scene in Dallas is a fantastic assignment that ferreted some pretty marvelous results.
A Plateau de Fruits de Mer, or the tower we are in search of is a seafood dish of raw and cooked shellfish served cold on a platter, usually on a bed of ice. The serving platter is generally held above table level with a stand and sometimes can contain multiple, elaborate tiers. This is both for visual effect, and because the shellfish are often served in the shell, or on the half shell, which causes them to take up a large area while containing only a bite or two of meat.
We found some very nice versions in Dallas. Although they are not particularly inexpensive, as would be expected, typically you may order several levels to feed a varying amount of people you are dining with. However, one might make an entire meal of such platter along with a special bottle of wine.
Enjoy this bit of extravagance which is appropriate for any occasion. See our list, in no particular order. Prices listed, otherwise the tower is market-priced.
TJ’s Seafood Market and Grill has an extravagant tower (115). This gorgeous display is brimming with king crab, shrimp, oysters, clams, mussels, jumbo lump crab, tuna poke and a myriad of sauces. Possibly the most diverse and fresh tower of this list. As we mentioned at the beginning, this might seem expensive, but this platter could easily satisfy a small group as an amazing starter.
Al Biernat’s restaurant offers choices when it comes to your seafood appetizers, and the tower proves our point. Look for cold towers both large and small offered at market price. But there is another option if you would like your seafood prepared differently in Al’s Classic Seafood Platter, which offers tempura prawns, calamari, and crab cakes for 21. per person. All these choices have us salivating.
The chilled shellfish platter at Oceanaire, located in the Galleria and in several major cities across the states, and is a gathering of shrimp, king crab, lobster, mussels, and oyster. Oceanaire is known for their amazing selection of oysters from all coasts, in fact, their bar is a veritable display of mollusks.
Pappas Bros Steakhouse has a dual choice of towers that start at 99.95 and is a beautiful assortment of oyster, shrimp, live Maine lobster and stone crab claws. Let it be known now that stone crabs are the food of the gods, and should be relished whenever offered.
Eddie V’s serves a festive duo level Shellfish Tower that contains Maine lobster, eight shrimp, eight oysters, and a serving of jumbo lump crab meat (73). The oysters are a chef’s selection from the coasts and are a perfect way to start your feast.
Del Frisco’s‘ has an eye-popping Shellfish Plateau that comes in a serving perfect for two (79.50), or a magnificent party-size tower (155). The towers include chilled Alaskan king crab legs, iced jumbo shrimp, and chilled crab claws. Add a lobster cocktail and jumbo Crab Louie for an upcharge. They also offer caviar service for the ultimate experience.
The Capital Grille located in Dallas’ Uptown district, they named their chilled appetizer the Grand Plateau (99) and is served with a smattering of jumbo lump crab, North Atlantic lobster, shrimp cocktail, and plenty of oysters on the half shell. A perfect touch of elegance.
Ocean Prime offers their “Smoking” Shellfish Tower which is customized to suit your table and is priced accordingly. Ocean Prime offers this beautiful room that is dressed to impress, and your tower will match.
Boulevardier in the Bishop Arts District that is a bit different than its counterparts. Look for a beautiful selection of twelve specialty oysters, twelve steamed mussels, six gulf shrimp, grilled baby octopus and six littleneck clams (84). We enjoyed this one with a large group of people and it was immediately devoured which necessitated a second. The crowd was excited through and through.
While dining at Ruth’s Chris in Uptown Dallas recently, we made an entire meal of the Seafood Tower that included Maine lobster, king crab legs and knuckles, colossal lump crab meat and jumbo cocktail shrimp served with both Sriracha-lime seafood sauce and cocktail sauce. Although intended to be a meal for one (and why not) it proved larger than we expected, so there was enough to share and make friends with our bar neighbors.