Pepper Grove and Ladies Pass (Galveston Bay)

Mar 31, 2011

If Galveston Bay hasn’t been on your list of primo oyster appellations, that needs to change. Last week I tasted oysters from two different reefs within Galveston Bay, Ladies Pass and Pepper Grove. Both were fantastic: Mouth-wateringly salty, sweet and chewy, with lingering flavors of asparagus and green bean and a strong umami sea taste on the back of the palate. Take a look:


See that crinkled bill? That’s the sign of an oyster grown in a high-salinity environment, and it guarantees a good hit of salt. These were twice as big and twice as firm as most East Coasters, which I guess is what you’d expect in a Texan. They were the antithesis of what you often get in a Gulf oyster, which is a soft texture and watered-down flavor–those oysters are coming from the wrong side of the Mississippi River Delta and have been sitting in coolers for way too long. These snappy Galveston bivalves proved that Gulf oysters from the right spot can compete with any in the country, and can certainly outsize them all (making them the best cooking oyster by far). These oysters will be appearing by name in a few Gulf Coast eateries this spring, and possibly quite a few more this fall. One place I know will be carrying them is Houston’s Goode Company Seafood. Have you spotted them anywhere else? Please let us all know!

To download a PDF map of the oyster reefs of Galveston, click here.

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4 Responses to Pepper Grove and Ladies Pass (Galveston Bay)

  1. Deborah Gee says:

    Spotted the Pepper Grove at Reef. They were indeed delicious–needed no condiments.

  2. We’ve been rocking the Texas appellations at REEF since the Foodways Texas Gulf Symposium! We’ve had six different appellations so far and regularly carry oysters from 2-3 different reefs every day on the menu. Currently we have the Smith Pass and Resignation Reef on the menu and we’ll be rolling into Whitehead Reef and Elm Grove tomorrow!

  3. rowan says:

    Wow, REEF sounds like the place. Wish I was there right now (instead of in the middle of a snowstorm in Vermont). “Resignation Reef”–my new favorite oyster name!

  4. Robb Walsh says:

    Just came from a 12 Reef Tasting Event 4/2 Tommy’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar, Clear Lake, Texas

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