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White River Fish Market

1708 N. Sheridan, Tulsa, OK - (918) 835-1910
Posted By Michael Stern on 12/9/2008 6:05:00 PM
A grateful tip of the hat to tiki and to Howard Baratz, who both recommended we stop at the White River Fish Market while traveling through Oklahoma. Howard described it at an "old-time Tulsa classic," in business since 1932. This well-worn combination raw fish market and semi-cafeteria style restaurant northeast of downtown is, in our opinion, a Roadfood gem.

What we mean by "semi-cafeteria style" is that when you enter, you step up to a counter where all sorts of raw fish are displayed. You place your order based not only on a posted menu, but on what you see in the case. Pay the man behind the cash register and find a seat at booth or table in the big, open dining room. Soon, your meal will be brought to the table by a member of the staff.

The choices are vast. Fried seafood is what the place is best known for: gorgeous whole flounders, catfish, perch, etc. The menu also lists broiled seafood, grilled seafood, a couple of seafood salads and a fish sandwich, boiled shrimp by the pound and raw oysters by the dozen. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, one very meaty lobster tail is available for $19.95. All dinners include a couple of crusty, pepper-laced hushpuppies and a choice of such side dishes as onion rings (excellent!), pinto beans, cole slaw (sparkling!), spiced rice, and baked potato.

We started our meals with a cup of gumbo and a bowl of red beans and rice, the latter actually two dishes, one with soulful pinto beans, the other with sausage, beef, onions, and rice in a spicy Cajun sauce.

We love the room tone in this rollicking lunch room (open for dinner, too). It's clearly the place where all sorts of Tulsa citizens feel right at home. Prices are low, the fish is impeccable, and all the side dishes are very soulful. That's a combination that adds up to a necessary stop for anyone with an appetite traveling along I-44.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

These crusty strips of catfish are accompanied by wicked-good sweet onion rings. The hushpuppies that are part of every dinner are barely visible in the background.
"These crusty strips of catfish are accompanied by wicked-good sweet onion rings. The hushpuppies that are part of every dinner are barely visible in the background."
Michael Stern





The beans come in their own separate dish when you order red beans and rice. Here, the rice part includes big hunks of sausage and beef, and some very well-spiced rice.
"The beans come in their own separate dish when you order red beans and rice. Here, the rice part includes big hunks of sausage and beef, and some very well-spiced rice."
Michael Stern


Fried whole flounder.
"Fried whole flounder."
Smith


Tuesday and Wednesday are lobster tail days. This big fella was unbelievably meaty, as dense and as full-flavored as a sirloin steak. Of course, melted butter comes on the side. With this dish, the hushpuppies were a rather odd companion, but nonetheless impossible not to eat.
"Tuesday and Wednesday are lobster tail days. This big fella was unbelievably meaty, as dense and as full-flavored as a sirloin steak. Of course, melted butter comes on the side. With this dish, the hushpuppies were a rather odd companion, but nonetheless impossible not to eat."
Michael Stern


If you want to try a variety of the available fish, the Ka-Bob is the way to go.  It includes sweet chunks of grilled tuna, salmon, halibut and mahi-mahi.
"If you want to try a variety of the available fish, the Ka-Bob is the way to go. It includes sweet chunks of grilled tuna, salmon, halibut and mahi-mahi. "
Cliff Strutz


The shrimp in this cocktail are plump and fresh.
"The shrimp in this cocktail are plump and fresh."
Cliff Strutz


I admit to feeling a little silly as I consider getting the gumbo at a restaurant in Tulsa. Then I notice that everyone ahead of me in line is ordering it. Not only is this very flavorful gumbo, but it packs some heat, too.
"I admit to feeling a little silly as I consider getting the gumbo at a restaurant in Tulsa. Then I notice that everyone ahead of me in line is ordering it. Not only is this very flavorful gumbo, but it packs some heat, too."
Cliff Strutz


Looking at this photo, I can practically hear the crunch these excellent hushpuppies make when you bite into them. Two are included with every dinner.
"Looking at this photo, I can practically hear the crunch these excellent hushpuppies make when you bite into them. Two are included with every dinner."
Michael Stern


The slightly greasy onion rings are lightly breaded. They were a hit with the group. There were more half pieces than complete rings, which made for easier eating.
"The slightly greasy onion rings are lightly breaded. They were a hit with the group. There were more half pieces than complete rings, which made for easier eating."
Cliff Strutz


The grilled sea bass is moist beyond belief!
"The grilled sea bass is moist beyond belief!"
Cliff Strutz


Here is the counter where you place your order. Note all the raw fish displayed in the case.
"Here is the counter where you place your order. Note all the raw fish displayed in the case."
Michael Stern


Just before lunch hour, there are still plenty of empty seats in the bright, airy dining room. By a little after noon, all were occupied.
"Just before lunch hour, there are still plenty of empty seats in the bright, airy dining room. By a little after noon, all were occupied."
Michael Stern


White River Fish Market has a great old neon sign in the parking lot.
"White River Fish Market has a great old neon sign in the parking lot."
Cliff Strutz


While the 'ambience' of this restaurant is not something of which fussy epicures would approve, we knew we would feel right at home even as we approached the front door.
"While the 'ambience' of this restaurant is not something of which fussy epicures would approve, we knew we would feel right at home even as we approached the front door."
Michael Stern



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