In Galveston Bay, Former Brennan's Chef Takes on Fresh Seafood

Get oysters hours after they're harvested at Pier 6 in San Leon.

By Timothy Malcolm November 5, 2020

The Prestige, a grilled oyster dish from Pier 6.

Image: Kimberly Park

A former Brennan's of Houston chef and a local oyster harvester have teamed up to open a restaurant smack on Galveston Bay. Its mission? Serve the freshest possible dinners anywhere on the Gulf.

Pier 6 Seafood & Oyster House is now open at 113 6th St in San Leon, about 40 miles southeast of Downtown Houston. The restaurant comes from the family-run oyster harvesting, processing, and distribution business Prestige Oysters, and Joe Cervantez, formerly the executive chef at Brennan's. Raz Halili of Prestige Oysters is leading operations at Pier 6.

Halili oversaw the complete gutting and rebuilding of the 5,000-square-foot Bubba's Shrimp Palace, with Coeval Studio handling the design. The result is a warm and well-lit dining room that can seat 170, including 30 at a wraparound oyster bar, plus 75 more chairs on a main patio, which can close up with floor-to-ceiling glass walls. The second floor includes a covered patio with lounge seating and a bar. Rope art, oyster shells, and fish-scale murals help create a seaside theme.

As for the menu, it takes on Cajun and Creole flavors while mixing in some Texan, East Coast, and Asian styles. There's whimsical and popular fare, like seafood corndogs, blue crab grilled cheese, and a Nashville hot chicken sandwich, that sit alongside a double Akaushi smash burger; cowboy ribeye "oscar" with blue crab au gratin potatoes; and more traditional Gulf-side entrées, like yellowfin with citrus glaze and blackened red snapper.

The interior of Pier 6.

Naturally, Gulf oysters play a major role at Pier 6, whether served roasted and table-side; spiked with habaneros; or on the half shell. Prestige will be sourcing most of the oysters featured at Pier 6, and the goal is to serve the mollusks no more than a few hours after being harvested. Look also for year-round Gulf shrimp and crab (seafood towers, anyone?).

“Creating a whole menu from scratch is a challenge—making sure it’s well balanced and that there’s something for everybody,” says Cervantez. “What’s really been the fun part is putting time into these dishes and making sure they’re thought out and well executed. We’ve practiced, tweaked, and adjusted.”

The Ladies of Libation were called in to develop the cocktail menu, which emphasizes drinks that go well with fresh seafood (think margaritas, seasonal mules, and frozens). 

Pier 6 is open from 5–9 p.m. Tuesday–Thursday, 5–10 p.m. Friday, 3–10 p.m. Saturday, and 3–9 p.m. Sunday. 

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