Second Helpings

Catfish Hunter, Part Two

The weekly Chronicle feature "Second Helpings" offers readers the opportunity to sample tasty, bite-sized restaurant listings compiled from new and previous reviews, guides, and poll results. This week's entries were written by Chronicle Food Editor Virginia B. Wood. When you need quick, reliable information about Austin eateries, check here.

Dot's Place
Dot's Place (Photo By John Anderson)

Dot's Place

11385 Orchid Ln., 255-7288

Monday-Friday, 11am-2pm; Friday, 6-8:30pm

We've always been big fans of the divinely crispy whole fried catfish on the bountiful lunchtime menu at this far North Austin down-home cafeteria, but we're sometimes distracted by other items. That's not a problem on Friday nights, however. On Fridays, Dot's opens for a $9, all-you-can-eat catfish feast, complete with perfectly fried catfish, hush puppies, fries, and all the trimmings, plus an assortment of her marvelous pies and cobblers.

Mr. Catfish

1017 Springdale Rd., 927-6666

Monday-Thursday, 11am-9pm; Friday, 11am-11pm; Saturday, 11am-10pm

850 E. Rundberg, 997-7878

Monday-Saturday, 11am-10pm

The Springdale Rd. location of this family-owned restaurant proved to be so successful, they expanded to include a new outlet a couple of blocks east of I-35 in 2001. We stopped in one day for lunch and found the place packed with hungry neighborhood business folks, all chowing down on catfish dinners with the traditional trimmings of fries, hush puppies, and cole slaw.

Quality Seafood

5621 Airport Blvd., 454-5827

Monday-Saturday, 10am-6:45pm

The small cafe in this retail seafood emporium could be one of the best-kept secrets in town. Where could the fish possibly be any fresher, except maybe the coast? The turtle soup, gumbo, and oyster po-boys are just divine, and the fried fish dinners, catfish included, are wonderful, too. Food prepared to eat-in or takeout.

Hoover's Cooking

2002 Manor Rd., 479-5004

Monday-Friday, 11am-10pm; Saturday-Sunday, 9am-10pm

6701 Burnet Rd., 453-3002

Monday-Friday, 11am-4pm; Saturday-Sunday, 8am-4pm

One of our favorite meals at this friendly home of true Southern cooking has always been the catfish plate with fries and a side of the perfectly spiced jalapeño creamed spinach. Lately, we've discovered the delights of the catfish po-boy, piping hot fried catfish fillets on a baguette dressed with mayonnaise, lettuce, and tangy pickles. Just delicious.

Threadgill's

6416 N. Lamar, 451-5440

301 W. Riverside, 472-9304

Monday-Saturday, 10am-10pm;

Sunday, 10am-9pm

Fried catfish dinners at Threadgill's have been a popular menu item as long as the restaurants have been open in Austin. Several years back, a Cajun/Creole influence found its way into some of the dishes here, and since that time, we've also developed a fondness for the bronzed catfish. This dish features tender, sweet caftish fillets coated with a Cajun spice mixture and sautéed in butter in a very hot skillet. We like it squirted with some lime juice and a little homemade tartar sauce on the side for dipping.

Pappadeaux

6319 N. I-35, 452-9363

Sunday-Thursday, 11am-10pm;

Friday-Saturday, 11am-11pm

The loud, boisterous Austin outlet of the wildly popular Houston seafood chain seems to do a booming business at all times. Catfish items here include po-boys, dinner plates, and combos with shrimp or other seafood. It's also possible to order the fish fried, blackened, or chargrilled with a variety of side dishes, a la carte.

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