|10903 Pecan Park Blvd.
Austin, TX 78750
Welcome to Freda’s Seafood Grille on Pecan Park just off the intersection of 620 and Research. Freda’s is named after the owner, the feisty and diminutive Freda Cheng, sister to Chinatown honcho Ronald Cheng. She sold a thriving Chinese restaurant in Georgetown to open this beautifully constructed place. The opening was a little bit bumpy, but Freda’s has evolved into one of North Austin’s best and most consistent fine dining restaurants.
The theme is seafood with a a bit of a Cajun influence. I always get the Crab Cake to begin. This is pristine blue crab covered in Panko breadcrumbs, and served with a very mellow lemon Beurre Blanc sauce. Another appetizer that always goes down well is the Agave Nectar Shrimp Cocktail. The confluence of flavors that you get from the agave nectar, chipotle and avocado cocktail sauce is immediately rewarding. You can actually use a spoon with this one, and I recommend not missing a drop. I am also very partial to the Crab Stuffed Mushrooms. The mushrooms are marinated in Pinot Grigio and stuffed with a ample filler of taragon crab salad in a balsamic reduction. This is a great examples of how opposing flavors can work to perfection in the right dish. Oysters on the Half Shell are almost obligatory at Freda’s and they are reasonably priced at $14.95 per dozen (compared to what you’d pay downtown at Eddie V’s).
The seafood entrees at Freda’s are diverse and pretty damned tasty. I’ve yet to have a pierce of fish that was even slightly “off,” and that’s critically important. The Pecan Crusted Tilapia is a great place to start. The thing that really sets this dish apart is the craw fish pesto creme sauce, a lovely Cajun influence. The Crab Stuffed Salmon is another keeper at Freda’s. The Atlantic salmon is grilled and then stuffed with blue crab and baked with a very tasty basil aioli. The flavors unfold slowly on the palate with this dish. A nice oaky Chardonnay would be a good match.
The Blackened Catfish is a great way to showcase this southern tradition. The fish is seared over high heat sealing in the flavors, and then enhanced by a spot-on craw fish étouffée. Last time I had this I gave my server an almost completely clean and decidedly empty plate. And if you love shrimp, the Crab Stuffed Shrimp is a textural and palate pleasing treat. How could one go wrong with huge shrimp stuffed with blue crab, and deep-fried to crispy perfection?
Carnivores are not ignored at Freda’s. Not by a long shot. They serve up some serious and very reasonably priced aged Angus steaks. The 14oz Ribeye is my top recommendation. Nicely marbled and almost bursting with characteristic flavors, this cut will satisfy even the most demanding steak fan. And you must, on some visit, try the sumptuous Bourbon Pasta with Blackened Shrimp. This dish captures the essence of New Orleans, and reminds me of something you might get at Pascal’s Manale. The beautiful mix of Andouille sausage, mushrooms shrimp and crawfish served with a Cajun creme sauce over al dente pasta is irresistible. It is a must-order for me.
Another plus at Freda’s is the hospitable and well-informed servers. Our last waitress, Anna, with her wit and understanding of the customer-server relationship, totally enhanced the meal.
So if you live North, good for you. If you don’t, still good for you. Freda’s is well worth the drive.