A grateful tip of the hat to Roadfooders Tiki and Howard Baratz, who many years ago each separately recommended a stop at the White River Fish Market while traveling through Oklahoma along Interstate 44. 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 indeed a Roadfood gem.
When you enter, step up to a counter where raw fish are displayed. Place your order based not only on a posted menu, but on what you see in the case. Pay the person 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.
Fried seafood is what the kitchen is best known for: gorgeous whole flounders, catfish, perch, etc. The menu also lists broiled seafood, grilled seafood, smoked 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, lobster tails join the menu. 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.
Many regulars start their meal with a cup of gumbo and a bowl of red beans and rice, the latter actually two dishes, one with pinto beans, the other with sausage, beef, onions, and rice in a spicy Cajun sauce — practically a meal unto itself.
The White River Fish Market is a place where Tulsa citizens from all walks of life feel right at home. Prices are reasonable, the fish is lovely, and side dishes are soulful. That’s a combination that adds up to a necessary stop for any seafood lover passing through.
Note: There is a 2nd location in Broken Arrow, at 1105 E. Kenosha St., 918-449-0347.