If you grew up in North Texas, there’s a good chance you’ve been fishing at one of the lakes here. If you actually caught something, there’s an even better chance that you were told to throw it back into the water.
But thanks to innovations in harvesting and shipping so-called “sea fruit” from across the Gulf Coast, the selection of Fort Worth seafood has grown beyond local possibilities. Nowadays, you don’t need to own your own net and deep-fryer to catch and serve the catfish, grouper, tilapia, rainbow trout, oysters, shrimp, and crawfish that Flying Fish offers on its menu. The Flying Fish is a Texas-Arkansas chain created by the Flying Saucer-8.0 family of restaurants, although they’re doing their best to hide their corporate roots. The Fort’s Flying Fish, located across the street from the venerated Railhead Smokehouse BBQ, is a humble, pale-bricked bungalow with a “Now Open” sign out front.
Inside, the tables are covered with red-and-white-checked tablecloths and bottles of ketchup, horseradish, and hot sauce. The walls are lined with photos of customers that include the complete stats of their fishing careers, including the length and weight of the biggest muthah they’ve caught. It’s all laid-back but also a bit premeditated. Ultimately, “fresh” isn’t a major factor here, though it is relevant. Except for Flying Fish’s plump, delicious (and seasonal) oysters on the half-shell and some grilled dishes, almost everything is deep-fried. Most baskets come with long fries and crumbly hush puppies. Thanks to a light, cornmeal coating and a minimal grease factor, the sides satisfy the urge for tasty and hearty — and semi-spicy — bar food.
Take the combo basket of six fried shrimp and six fried oysters. A couple of the oysters were so small, they were fried into non-existence, but the shrimp were tail-on delicacies that took several bites apiece to finish. The fried crawfish po-boy — served with a thin slather of mayo on a soft, thick French bun — was also excellent, with the fried and breaded mudbugs falling out of the loaf as you picked it up. The Flying Fish is definitely worth a visit if you have a hankering for something trapped in a net and then submerged ’til tasty in boiling oil. Some of us prefer our maritime adventures that way, anyway.
2913 Montgomery St, FW. 817-989-BASS.
11am-10pm daily. All major credit cards accepted.