The Austin Chronicle

Quality Seafood

November 10, 1995, Food

5621 Airport Blvd, 454-5827

Mon-Sat, 8am-7pm When it comes to seafood, you want to get as close to the source as possible. In a perfect world, we'd be able to buy a fish straight off the boat, while it's still fresh enough to have a personality. Failing that, the near-perfect place would be a neighborhood fish market -- maybe one that serves lunch.

Bingo. Sometime since their opening in 1938, Eaves Brothers Quality Seafood got the bright idea to put a kitchen in the back, haul in a dozen tables, and cook the seafood they sell. Nothing fancy, just an assortment of traditional seafood (catfish, shrimp, oysters, hand-stuffed crab) cooked fresh and served with a minimum of side orders. The portions are sizable and the prices reasonable -- perfect for a midday meal.

Most of Quality's menu items come in traditional VFW dinner form -- hand-battered, fried, and served with slaw, hush puppies, and fries. The portions, in addition to being insanely fresh, show complete disregard for traditional restaurant portion control practices. The fried shrimp easily earn their "jumbo" designation, and are butterflied before cooking. The nutritionally virtuous can indulge guilt-free with juicy broiled turbot or blackened snapper dinners and a squeeze of lemon (same sides apply). The cooks work with fish all day and the experience pays off on the plate. On certain floating dates (call ahead), head cook Jeff Boyce cooks up a special soup in addition to their chunky seafood/okra gumbo and shrimp creole. If you're lucky, you'll be on hand for his sherry-spiked turtle soup, served about every other Friday.

-- Paul M. Johnson

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