First Bite: Low Tide Finds Brick-and-Mortar Home in Spring Branch
An eatery specializing in seafood has put down roots in Spring Branch. Alli Jarrett, who owns Harold’s in the Heights, debuted Low Tide Kitchen & Bar at Finn Hall in downtown Houston. It closed during the pandemic, but now Jarrett has reopened it as a brick-and-mortar at 2030 Bingle. Jarrett drew inspiration from the Lowcountry cuisine of South Carolina, where she grew up, and from living on the Gulf Coast. So Houstonians should find Low Tide’s offerings comforting and familiar. Houston Food Finder was invited to try some of the dishes and drinks.
The fried Oyster Nachos appetizer was one of the favorites of the visit. The heat of the hot sauce was tempered by butter and the blue cheese cream spread on the housemade tortilla chips. The size of the oysters was thought out. They were meaty, but compact enough to keep the fried oysters from becoming soggy. The main flaw with this dish was the presentation; the large plate made the serving size look significantly smaller than it was.
Overall, the dishes we tried featured gentle seasonings that were often balanced, but on occasion could have been kicked up a notch. One example, the Crawfish Dip and Chips was rich, cheesy, and — once combined with the crispy tortilla chips — full of texture. However, it would have benefited from a touch of heat or heavier seasoning. With its diverse textures and colors, it was also one of the most visually appealing dishes of our meal.
The Inlet Shrimp and Grits, which had a unique look and feel, featured lightly sautéed shrimp immersed in a generous pool of stock, along with bacon, mushrooms, onions and plenty of garlic. Despite those full-flavored ingredients, the corn flavor of the stone-ground grits still stood out.
No visit to an American coastal restaurant is complete without a fried seafood platter. The Martha and Mary Duo pairs fried catfish and shrimp with French fries, corn dodgers (essentially fluffy hush puppies) and coleslaw. The batter has a nice crunch to it, and the sauce drizzled on top adds a burst of acidic flavor.
For guests who are not in the mood for seafood, Low Tide has a good selection of tacos, burgers, sandwiches and chicken dishes. Additionally, there is a seafood bar with raw and charbroiled oysters, seafood towers and Lowcountry-style boiled shrimp, sausage and corn. On weekends, Low Tide offers brunch beginning at 9 a.m., with a menu that includes beignets, Crabcake Benedict and more.
For us, at least, the customer service at Low Tide stood out. As a rule of thumb, you should give brand-new restaurants a bit of grace, but during our visit, the waitstaff was friendly and spot-on.
The restaurant offers a judicious selection of beer and a full cocktail menu. Most of the drinks feature soda and/or ginger-based ingredients, while two cocktails are coffee-based — all of which can be acquired tastes. One cocktail, the Arrogantly Shabby, a blend of tequila, banana liqueur, sweet cream, caramel and cold brew, drank like a sweetened, iced coffee with a tinge of alcoholic bite. The oversized pineapple garnish seemed disruptive to an otherwise pleasant concoction. The other cocktail, Crabtrap, combines mezcal, cold brew coffee, mint and basil turbinado syrup and raspberry.
Considering how recently it opened, the attentiveness of the staff and execution in the kitchen, Low Tide shows lots of promise. Hours are Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
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