Don't Sleep on Shell Shack
It was almost a year ago when we first announced that Shell Shack was coming to the little d, moving into the space that previously housed Dani Rae’s. They’ve been steadily winning over the hearts and bellies of Denton, creating a fun dining experience with a hand washing and drying machine that will blow your mind.
Serving up golden fried goodness, Shell Shack has plenty of delicious appetizers to start out with. Crawfish tails, Catfish bites, and the savory and sweet Crab Tater Tots are perfect options if you’ve already given up that New Years resolution to not eat fried food. Their cocktail sauce is on point, and their tartar sauce may just be better than my grandmother’s.
Some other appetizer options include spicy and tangy garlic grilled shrimp, calamari that includes tentacles and rings, and my absolute favorite, the buffalo shrimp. I don’t know what they put in that sauce, but the heat was perfect and the shrimp were juicy and flavorful.
The boil works in 4 steps. First, you pick your seafood with the options of King Crab, Crawfish and Dungeness Crab to name a few. Once you settled on your proteins, you pick your flavor, pictured below is the Kitchen Sink and it woke up our taste buds with the depth of flavor. Next you pick the heat, with options ranging from No Heat to Diablo. You can choose to add in some extras like corn, potatoes, or sausage to have a truly mouthwatering boil experience and be prepared - you are going to get a little messy. Bibs are provided, and the wait staff will even help you put one on!
In addition to the staff being super attentive and friendly, the owner, Dallas Hale, was kind enough to stop by and show my mother the ropes when it comes to mastering the claw crackers. Hale has seen this venture through from “craft to concept”, and was excited for the opening of the Denton location, it brings him closer to his favorite taco joint, Mi Casita.
For those just looking for some good ole’ fried catfish and hush puppies, fear not because you have come to the right place. The catfish is lightly breaded, fried to a light golden brown and served over a bed of seasoned natural cut french fries alongside a few yummy fried cornbread pups. The fish has great flavor, the fries are hard to stop eating and the hush puppies are crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.
With any good boil, you’re going to find yourself up to your elbows in all the tasty seafood juices, spices, and sauces, but Shell Shack has you covered. They have a hand washing station from the future. You get some soap and water to wash off the your arms and hands, pop your hands into this dryer, and you come away with a set of squeaky clean paws.
Now that you are cleaned up, you should hope you saved room for dessert. You’ll have to flip a coin to pick what you will treat yourself too - all the options are out of this world. The homemade Carrot Cake taste made from scratch, because it is. All the Shell Shack metro locations have been getting their Carrot Cakes from the same small business bakery for the majority of their current time doing business, and have every expectation to continue doing so. The Carrot Cake is served with a scoop of Salted Caramel Gelato that balances out the sweetness of the cream cheese. The Ultimate Chocolate Cake is layers of chocolate ganache stacked between layers of chocolate cake and chocolate mousse, drizzled with a chocolate and a caramel sauce and served with a scoop of Hazelnut Gelato.
Not going to lie, this place isn’t the easiest to get to if you’re going South on 35, but bust a U at Mayhill and come back down the service road for easy access and plenty of parking. Shell Shack may be another business making its way up the highway to Denton, but their seasoned seafood certainly doesn’t disappoint.
Shell Shack is located at 2303 S Interstate 35 E, Denton, Texas, 76205. They are open daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., with the kitchen closing at 1 a.m..
Happy Hour is Monday through Friday from 4-7 p.m., and all open hours on Sunday.
Photos by Samantha Balderas.
Header design by Kylie Phillips.