|13507 N. Hwy. 183
Austin, TX 78729
351 W. Taylor Ave.
Round Rock, TX 78664
REVIEW – Round Rock Location
The beauty of Austin dining is that it offers us so many choices and options when it comes to seafood. Last week we featured a decidedly upscale seafood spot with excellent food. This week’s review is about a seafood joint that’s unquestionably more downscale, yet, relatively speaking, every bit as good as its more highfalutin’ neighbor. Welcome to Pacifc Star Oyster Bar On Highway 183 at Anderson Mill.
Pacific Star has been around long enough to acquire a devoted clientele. And I am one of them. The food here is a combination of delights from the Gulf along with a blend of Cajun influenced Texas style seafood. The Oysters on the half shell may not be from the colder Canadian waters but they are likewise tasty and will not cost you a month’s car payment for two dozen. And the Gumbo has a nice dark roux with a serious kick to it. It is the perfect starter because it engages your palate with its complex yet complementary flavors. I also like the Fried Crab Fingers. Talk about moist, tender, and tasty, these little doo dads will fire up the proverbial pump for the heartier fare to follow. And the Shrimp Diablos, boiled in the classic style and wrapped with bacon and jalapenos, are always reliable and invariably good.
The entrees at Pacific Star come in combinations of fried, broiled, and boiled and they all work for me. The Fried Gulf Oysters are achingly crunchy and have that first bite flavor rush so characteristic of the genre. They are also amazingly un-greasy which also helps. The Jumbo Crawfish Tails are equally good. They are fried to a golden brown hue and just waiting to be dipped into the accompanying tartar sauce. The broiled stuffed Whole Flounder is another strong recommendation. Flounder is a fish low in fat with a light, sweet taste. The stuffing is a bonus but one that works very well. Then you have to try the Star’s version of Crawfish Étouffée. This Cajun classic has a rich roux that’s more like a bisque. It’s a lighter dish but the flavors are spot on. And make note that the crawfish tails are from Louisiana and not China. Not all can make that claim these days. And for sheer audacity, you must try the Crawfish Pirogue. This is an engaging mix of sautéed crawfish done with onions and mushrooms and topped with melted Jack Cheese. The name comes from the Cajun flat bottomed boat used in the Louisiana marshes and should not be confused with the Polish pierogi.
Pacific Star is one of those neighborhood joints where happy hours are really happy! Nobody is trying to prove anything to anyone else and the vibe is a great one. You just let this place kind of wash over you, like a gentle two-foot wave from the Gulf.