Austin: Quality Seafood

There are many things to like about Quality Seafood Market in Austin, not the least of which is its name. Like the almost warehouse-ian exterior and the basic, fresh-Gulf-fish-centered menu, the moniker is direct and pleasantly lacking in frills. “Good things here,” it says simply. “We’re not bragging, we’re just letting you know how it is.”

Here are a few other things to like: nicely-cooked fish, excellent shrimp, and a friendly, easygoing atmosphere. Not to mention the adjoining seafood market, which has some of the best prices in town if you ever find yourself inspired to dispatch some live crustaceans. (Also of note: the employees there are too professional to mock you for showing up with an excessively large cooler, asking ridiculous questions, and making horrified expressions as you make your selection.)

I recently tried out their fish tacos, which achieve a good balance of fish and slaw and come with a choice of nicely spicy sauces. I’m going to let you in on the secret combinations that worked for me: Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A flour tortilla + blackened mahi mahi + avocado pico de gallo, flour tortilla + fried catfish + verde cream sauce (+ Live Oak Amber draft).

Unfortunately, not all of the sides are worth writing home about. The fried okra is a little gummy and too thickly battered, and the garden salad is of the watery icebergian variety. The “macaroni” and cheese is actually spaghetti with cheese sauce, which may throw you off if you’re expecting something more traditional, but comes highly recommended by my three-year-old. But these things are easily overlooked if you’re a landlocked Central Texan with a hankering for fresh seafood, well-prepared.

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