Duke’s Seafood and Steakhouse is new to Watson, but there’s an old hand in the kitchen.
Duke Landry grew up in his family’s restaurant business, Don’s Seafood, and is a five-time U.S. Oyster Shucking Champion. Landry and business partner Rudy Chandler, a real estate developer, teamed up to open their establishment in an area with an ever-growing population but few large restaurants. Reports are the parking lot is packed most nights.
When you see the giant blue anchor on the facade, you’ll know you’ve arrived at Duke’s. Inside, there’s much to see in the open-air lobby. Mounted marlins, a giant ceiling fan and many nautical touches work well with exposed beams, salvaged cypress and brick accents. Straight ahead is the oyster grill and broiler, behind etched glass.
Oysters were where we started, with an appetizer of a half-dozen of the “Duke’d Up” variety ($8.99). The pepper jack cheese, bacon, and jalapeñ o peppers made each of these plump grilled gems piping hot and palate-pleasing.
Now’s a good time to mention that our server, Danielle, in addition to being friendly and helpful, had impeccable timing. As soon as we downed the last oyster, the house salads (which accompanied our entré es) arrived. Same story with the entré es.
The house salad offered a generous amount of mixed greens, grape tomatoes, purple onion, Parmesan cheese and croutons, alongside a dressing of choice. Thumbs-up on the homemade-tasting ranch and blue cheese.
We also can recommend the baked shrimp classic ($18.95). Seven jumbo butterfly shrimp, tails on, were filled with a nicely-seasoned, super-moist crab stuffing, and swam in what Duke’s calls Cajun butter. It’s kicked up with spices. Mixing in the mound of fluffy white rice, it was a flavorful pairing with the succulent shrimp.
The 12-ounce ribeye steak ($23.25), cooked to an exact medium rare, was everything one wants a steak to be: tender, juicy, and well-seasoned with spices reminiscent of a blackened seasoning. Duke’s drizzles on a little of that Cajun butter as well. Simply scrumptious. A stuffed baked potato covered in melted cheese also was satisfying.
We brought home a large-enough-for-two order of bananas Foster bread pudding ($5.75). Swirled with cinnamon and topped with sliced bananas, the decadent dessert was finished off with the traditional oh-so-sweet, rum-infused sauce.
Save room for this one.