There are some things that seem to have always been there as I grew up in the Houston area. Living in Shore Acres as a child, the bounty of Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico provided most of the meals for us. We loved to eat out as a family and that included driving into Houston to eat delicious fresh Gulf Coast seafood at Christie’s. I remember fondly the location in the Medical Center near the Shamrock Hotel. Providing seafood to this area for decades (before I was born), the first foodservice venture by this immigrant family was established by Theodore Christie (born in Istanbul in 1885). He started selling Fish Sandwiches on the waterfront in Galveston in the little food stand he founded in 1917. The sandwiches were made with Speckled Trout in those days and thankfully, trout were plentiful, as after he moved his business to the Medical Center location in Houston, he was selling 10,000 sandwiches a week.
The famous Christie’s Fish Sandwich started it all
He also invented a couple of other things while he was at it… the Fish Stick (which became wildly popular nationwide in the 50’s) and then the locally famous Christie’s Fisherman’s Platter, a combo of various fried Gulf Coast seafood, which was copied everywhere.
An Old Postcard from Christie’s
Theodore’s son, James Christie moved the restaurant to the Westheimer location in 1979 (Thank you very much as it’s a few blocks from our home) and made it into the local institution it is today. James, Alexandra and their daughters Maria and Kathy are constant influences maintaining the good family name and the quality of the food. James will be quick to tell you that there will never be an overcooked shrimp on his watch.
A few years ago, I was at The Palm (across Westheimer from Christie’s) and I asked the waiter what kind of fish he had fresh that day. He pointed out the window and said “We’re a steak house. If you want seafood, go to Christie’s like I do.”
Flounders are served broiled, blackened or stuffed with crabmeat.
Flounders are big deals here on the Gulf Coast and flounders are why we go to Christie’s. They get them in fresh on Thursday and they are broiled, blackened and stuffed until they are gone. They usually are available through Saturday night and when they’re gone… they’re gone until next week. Sometimes regulars planning to go to dinner on the weekends call ahead to make sure that they are still available and even ask to reserve them. They’re so big, they hang off of both sides of the platter.
We enjoy the oyster bar area, as I’m a news junkie and the big screen TV quietly keeps cable news going during the day. They sell so many oysters that you know that they are always going to be fresh.
There’s not an ounce of pretense at Christie’s and if you are worrying about what you’re wearing, you’re the only one. Oh yes, they still sell the famous Fish Sandwich (adorned with lettuce, tomatoes and their signature sauce)… but today it is made with Red Snapper, due to limited availability of trout. Outstanding – crisp, hot and fresh! You can almost hear the breakers….
Oysters Rockefeller are the starter of choice at Christie’s.
On our last visit we had the Broiled Flounder (as always) and Oysters Rockefeller served without aplomb, which the Christies serve topped with crisp bacon strips and the perfect amount of spinach to our liking. We ordered the Fish Sandwich to photograph, thinking it was going to be too much to eat. It WAS too much to eat, but we ate it anyway. And it took me back to my childhood. Thanks for the memories.
Christie’s Seafood and Steaks
Houston, Texas 77057