I had a stunning crab salad and an elegant red snapper in lemon butter at Gaido’s last week. I also met the new head chef, Casey Gaido. Casey is a recent CIA grad and a fourth-generation member of the founding family. Now that Casey is in charge of the kitchen at the hundred year old seafood restaurant on Galveston’s seawall, he promises that the once-legendary cooking will return to its roots.
“In 2006, you wrote a review in the Houston Press titled “Fish on Its Laurels” that I read every week,” Casey told me when I met him. I was embarrassed. It was obviously a bad review, but I didn’t remember what I wrote. So I reread it when I got home. I faulted Gaido’s for being so inconsistent. On one visit I thought I had died and gone to Galatoire’s–and on the next my dinner guest remarked that the place felt like a “gone-to-seed country club.”
Casey’s latest project is a cookbook celebrating Gaido’s 100 year anniversary. Once you read the book, you realize that the young chef has really tuned in to the legacy of former Gaido’s chefs like Wade Watkins and has set out to do justice to their memories. This is a restaurant with a tradition that’s comparable to the old Creole palaces of New Orleans. Gaido’s has flirted with greatness in the past, but I have a feeling the place is about to recover its title as the grande dame of Texas seafood restaurants and roar onto the national stage. Go eat there and tell me what you think.
Here’s a recipe from the new Gaido’s cookbook:
Cy’s Demise (Grilled Oysters)
San Jacinto Butter
2 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced yellow onion
4 tablespoon white wine
16 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
12 oysters on the half shell
4 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
San Jacinto Butter
Saute the garlic and onion in the white wine in a saute pan until very tender.
Combine mixture with butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a blender. Process to purée.
Melt the San Jacinto Butter in a small saucepan.
Brush the oysters generously with the San Jacinto Butter until coated all over.
Sprinkle the cheese over the oysters.
Grill the oysters for 5 to 10 minutes until the butter bubbles. Watch closely to ensure cheese doesn’t burn.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
MAKES: 1 dozen oysters
SOURCE: Gaido’s Restaurant