We finally got a table on Wednesday, May 12, a month and two days after Acme Oyster House opened in Montrose. We’d tried twice before, but massive crowds meant three- and two-hour waits, respectively.
In fact, according to Eater.com, “Acme Oyster House… was so overrun with customers during its first two days of service that the restaurant was forced to close down temporarily in order to restock.”
My question is, “What the hell could anyone have been waiting for?”
Acme Oyster House has been open in New Orleans since 1910, and has operated successful outposts in Louisiana, Alabama and Florida for years. They’ve got game.
I presume the early crowds knew that and came to enjoy the good food and service to which they’re accustomed elsewhere. I expected it as well, although I was an Acme virgin.
But even if none of that were true, a new restaurant today must shine right out of the gate if it hopes to have repeat customers spending hard-earned money there. A month is plenty of time to work out the kinks. Especially if they’ve done it five times before.
Acme Oyster House in Montrose shone like a burned-out light bulb. Like that oil spot in your driveway. Like winter in Pittsburgh.
Maybe we ordered wrong (I doubt it). Two of our party of three didn’t eat oysters. The one who did shielded her half dozen as if she were in prison and said, “Yeah, they’re pretty good.”
Acme Oyster House, that’s all you’re getting here. My friends shared the Captain’s Platter, with enough fried oysters, fried shrimp, fried filets, soft shell crab, craw puppies and mostly French fries, hush puppies and Coleslaw for two. (Except they only got slaw for one.) Every shrimp was tiny, every filet did yoga and every bit of it was fried in old oil to the point of burning.
I got Red Beans and Rice, Jambalaya and Seafood Gumbo. I didn’t like the Jambalaya quite as much as I like leftover Zatarain’s from my own kitchen. At least that can be zapped back to life.
Red Beans and Rice was an average rendition if you leave out the spice. But the gumbo was inexcusable. There is no way this watery, bland soup with Rice Krispie-sized seafood pieces could ever compete with the richly flavored, comforting gumbos found at scores of Houston restaurants.
Acme offers a cocktail called the Coconut Cucumber Margarita. Supposedly it’s made just as it sounds. Having recently started experimenting with cucumber tequila myself (do it) I ordered it.
I was presented with two different-looking cocktails. Our fun server, trying as hard as she could, had to explain it somehow. There was a fight between bartenders on the proper way to make this cocktail. Didn’t they know the recipe? Couldn’t a manager have intervened? They both sucked, by the way.
Friends, take this with a grain of sel gris. I cannot imagine Acme is still operating like this. Maybe when Tillman… .