Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Whoa!Totally #1: Captain Benny's

Who wouldn't want to eat a whole fried catfish inside a boat parked on the I-35 access road?

The answer is nobody sane. That's why Captain Benny's (I just call it "Captain's" and you should too) is today's Whoa!Totally.

Captain's has been around Austin forever-and-a-half, yet nobody ever talks about it, recommends it, or even remembers it. This is unconscionable because Captain's is totally awesome! They have some of the best (and cheapest!) seafood & gumbo in the city. I particularly recommend the fried catfish and the calamari, which satisfy fried-food cravings without making you feel like a complete grease bomb afterward. Such delightfully delicate cornmeal dust! Service is super-quick and no frills and if you sit at the bar in the boat part of the restaurant (which is a must) you can watch the staff shuck oysters while you eat.

Also worth noting: if you swallow your first raw oyster at Captain's they ring a ship bell and everybody applauds. I assume this still happens because the bell's still there, but I haven't actually seen it used since I was kid in the 80s. My mom & aunt used to take my cousin & me to Captain's once a week for happy hour, and every week I swore to them that I was going to eat a raw oyster (I wanted them to ring that bell for me soooo bad!) but I could never work up the nerve to do it.

My weirdest childhood memory of Captain's is the time my cousin insulted me by calling me a "sperm mouth." I knew what that meant (sort of...) but I feigned ignorance and went to ask her mom what "sperm mouth" meant. I wanted to get my cousin in trouble but I didn't want to be accused of being a tattle-tale. My aunt, of course, asked me where I'd heard those words, and I told her... but I didn't expect or enjoy the result. She flew into a rage and made me watch while she washed my cousin's mouth out with Dial soap. I'd heard the phrase "I'm going to wash your mouth out with soap" before, but I thought it was just an expression, not an actual threat! I felt horrible. My cousin felt horrible. My aunt felt horrible. Everybody felt horrible about the whole incident. Then, out of nowhere, my mom suggested we all forget about it and go to Captain's! It was, weirdly, the perfect suggestion, and my cousin and I started laughing about what tasted worse: Dial soap or raw oysters.

Don't let my weird story put you off; Captain's rocks! If you can second this, or have other reasons or stories about why Captain's is awesome, speak up.

No comments:

Post a Comment