December 11 2020 – Jennifer Fuller
The little Texas town of San Leon runs right along the salty waters of the gulf with everything from million dollar homes boasting private iron gates and endless water views to good ol’ RV parks with cozy community pools and colorful beach chairs throughout. San Leon is a town where anyone can feel at home. Pier 6 Seafood & Oyster Bar has captured the essence of community by providing the perfect restaurant retreat for the sweaty sun-kissed fisherman craving a juicy burger to the happy couple celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary with a bottle of Dom Perignon. Pier 6 Seafood & Oyster House warmly welcomes everyone.
My husband and I visited this restaurant for the first time yesterday evening. I’ve read multiple reviews and all were positive and intriguing. Way down Bayshore Drive, just when you think you’re driving off the edge of the earth, take a left and there’s the narrow road leading to Pier 6 Seafood. Parking is plentiful! As soon as I walked inside I saw the rope wall so many have taken photos in front of – super cute idea! We were seated in the indoor area near the oversized waterfront patio. The restaurant is well lit with concrete floors, calming earth tones and live ivy’s hanging overhead. The kitchen is open to the dining area. I’ve always enjoyed watching the hustle and bustle of the kitchen crew.
Every time I try a new restaurant I make it a point to try a few different cocktails and several menu items. I like to get a good feel of the place and just dive right in. The cocktail and wine list had a lot of great options. We tried the green parrot martini with cucumber and Thai chili, a golden lemon drop martini with a boujee touch of shimmer, the festive mistletoe cocktail and I also popped a bottle of super smooth Caymus cabernet sauvignon. The cocktails were cold, colorful and fun! Since they were a little on the sweet side, I let my husband finish them after I took a few sips. The mistletoe cocktail was the exception; it was nice and tart from the cranberry juice and aside from my red wine, this was my favorite cocktail of the night.
Oyster house translated means - try a plethora of oysters - and we did! We had ice cold raw oysters, the streets of New Orleans combo which was oysters Rockefeller and oysters Bienville and the hot blooded oysters with sriracha and habanero butter. If you think there is such a thing as too many oysters, you’re wrong. We devoured every last one of those smooth meaty mollusks, some eaten with saltine crackers and others slurped down tasting every bit of the salty ocean water. Mmm delicious! These were some of the best oysters I’ve eaten and let me tell you, the temperature of the oyster has a lot do to with it. If my oysters are anywhere near room temperature, it’s a no-go for me. I savor the clean, crisp taste of an ice-cold oyster.
Our next starters were the tuna tostadas and lobster bisque. I’ve noticed tuna tostadas on more restaurant menus these days, so I guess it’s becoming a thing around here. OK with me because I’m a fan of tuna AND tostadas. The tostadas were light and fresh and came two to an order. The tuna was pressed and perfectly shaped to match the size of the homemade tortilla crisp and topped with greens, avocado, wakame and ponzu sauce.
Lobster bisque is also a must-try any time I see it on a menu. This smooth bisque was slightly darker than I was expecting and a little less creamy but the flavor was still rich. Some bisques could almost be more of a lobster chowder, loaded up with lobster meat and other bisques, like this one, are smoother with most of the meat pureed into the bisque. Both can be delicious.
For our main courses we ordered crab cakes, the cowboy prime ribeye oscar and the wood grilled yellowfin tuna. For our sides we chose the crab mac & cheese, rosemary roasted mushrooms and french fries since I heard they were made in-house. My husband’s steak came with blue crab au gratin potatoes and grilled asparagus. Chef came to our table and shaved a hefty dose of white and black truffles on the crab mac and ribeye. This special touch was fantastic – what a treat!
The crab cakes came three to an order and were a good size, not too small and not gigantic. The flavor was the usual lemon and dill. The flaky white crab meat was the shining star in this trio of cakes. The crisp greens on top were just enough to cut the richness of the crab cake allowing us to easily devour all three. The sliced medium rare tuna was just as delicious with a light lemony Asian flavor with a meaty texture closely mimicking chicken.
My husband’s steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare, sliced thick and nestled into the pool of creamy béarnaise sauce. The blue crab au gratin potatoes and crab mac & cheese were super rich sides and the truffles on top just added to each luxurious bite. I’m all for rich foods. I love flavor and fullness. I ate about four bites of the lobster mac and knew I had to stop there if I planned to try dessert! But first, the french fries. Oh these are dangerous. Why? Because they’re warm, crispy, perfectly salted and so easy to grab and pop into your mouth! I pushed the plate away and ordered two desserts – the cookie plank and the Nutella s’mores mousse.
I usually skip desserts unless I’m trying a new restaurant because I’m not a huge fan of sweets and would rather fill up on “the good stuff”. Well, let me tell you what – I was wrong in this case. I was a fan of desserts. The cookie plank smelled like warm melted sugar, hot, sticky and sweet, and was served hot in a small cast iron skillet with a scoop of vanilla ice cream smack dab in the middle, melting into those warm cookie cracks. BUT – what was inside the cookie plank is what did it for me – our server said there was white chocolate but I also tasted crunchy toffee pieces. This plank gives BJ's pizookie a good run for its money.
After this wonderful dinner, I had to visit the next day for lunch. This time I sat outside on the patio and enjoyed the view and sound of the water. I ordered a bloody mary, shrimp campechana, oyster chowder and a lobster roll. The bloody mary was good. I have no complaints about any of the cocktails I've tried so far.
The shrimp campechana was served with two romantically intertwined jumbo shrimp soaking in a chunky tomato bath of finely chopped tomatoes, cilantro, crab meat and lime juice. This dish was served alongside perfectly round, crispy seasoned house made tortilla chips.
Next I tried the oyster chowder. I just loved the rustic white seaside dishes and cloth white napkins with blue stripes. The chowder smelled like all the comforts of a seaside winter. Loaded with chopped bacon, perfectly cubed potatoes and whole bite-sized buttery oysters, this is worth ordering by the quart to take home to eat in front of the fireplace.
Finally, my Pier 6 Seafood & Oyster House experience comes to an end with the lobster roll. How great is it to find a place serving a delicious lobster roll ALL the time rather than chasing down a food truck to get your fix? My lobster roll came with a side of house made kettle chips and a lemon wedge. I squirted that lemon juice all over my sandwich, picked it up and opened wide. This thing was pretty. I mean, really. The roll was buttered and toasted and the filling was simple with a light slaw, light mayo, sweet tender lobster and fresh sprigs of dill.
Owner Raz Halili has done an amazing job of creating this restaurant retreat with spaces to enjoy like the large outdoor patio area with lots of seating, tables, wicker swings and large outdoor bar overlooking the view of endless waters. Rather than fighting the freeway traffic to get to downtown Houston, take the back roads down to San Leon for a relaxed, amazing dining experience.
Executive Chef Joe Cervantez is excited to be a part of this new restaurant. Cervantez is a graduate of the Art Institute of Houston and has more than 16 years of restaurant experience including working as executive chef at Brennan’s of Houston and Killen’s Steakhouse.
Pier Seafood & Oyster House
113 6th Street
San Leon 77539