Gaido's Regaining Its Glory

Head Chef Casey Gaido
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

6 thoughts on “Gaido's Regaining Its Glory

  1. Mary

    This is great news. Gaido’s really doesn’t NEED to change, because they pack them in no matter the food quality. For many decades though, I have dreamed of a Gaido’s that is a destination restaurant, not a place to eat when destined for the beach. I am encouraged by this young man’s enthusiasm, training, tradition and venerable name!

  2. Kelli

    I grew up going to Gaido’s with my parents while vacationing in the summer in Galveston. And I always remembered that the food was absolutely exceptional. However when I visited a few years ago with my boyfriend and best friend, I literally sent my plate back twice. Finally I just told them to refund my money because the food was frankly inedible. I really hope that they return to their forgotten grandeur, it would be a shame not too!

  3. JK

    This an exceptional young man, with a great education (both UT and CIA). I have known him many years and he will do what he is promising. Check what they did under his direction after Ike!

  4. teresa

    If we want seafood, there is only one place to go! We usually go to Casey’s. We’ve taken so many visitors there, people who have traveled the world and they agree, the seafood is the best they have ever eaten. The grilled shrimp and au gratin potatoes are my favorite. Love the house dressing too.

    To the person above that sent her plate back twice…. you must eat at other seafood restaurants when you are not in Galveston. No, Gaidos isn’t like the chains, perhaps that was what you expected. I cannot imagine getting anything but the best from this place.

    AND…. I sure did not see Landry’s, Clary’s or any of the others stepping up to feed everyone right after Ike like Gaido’s did.

    Congrats on 100 years young!

  5. Judy Johnson

    Gaido’s is a must-do place for me when I’m in Galveston. I’ve never had a bad meal there and I’ve taken taken a guest who was unhappy with their meal. The shrimp bisque and the chunky blue cheese dressing are worth driving to Galveston, not to mention the seafood.

    In addition, shortly after Ike I was in Galveston. While there I noticed that Gaido’s parking lot was filled with white tablecloth covered tables. I learned they were providing dinner for the emergency personnel who were in Galveston. What an incredible, classy thing to do.

    Thank you Gaido’s for all you do. I’ll see you in June while I’m there.

  6. Linda Ott

    I am interested in a cookbook as long as the shrimp salad recipe is in it.


    Love Gaidos

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