By Phaedra Cook

Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at 7:22 a.m.

As Houston diners have become more sophisticated, so have their tastes. Just 30 years ago, sushi was regarded as adventurous and the vast majority of available oysters were the big, nonspecific ones from the Gulf.

Thanks to the educational efforts of organizations like Southern Foodways Alliance and Texas Foodways, appellation oysters(oysters with specific characteristics that come from identifiable reefs) from the Gulf are now highly sought-after. Houston’s hunger for raw seafood doesn’t stop there, though. We also are aware of — and want access to — other selections from the world’s vast oceans.

When it comes to raw seafood, Houston has never before had it so good. Here are ten restaurants (and one bar) that go way beyond just oysters on the half shell.

Brennan's of Houston recently started offering a seafood tower that, of course, features Creole- and Cajun-inspired flavors. The one shown here is actually the Petite platter, believe it or not.

Just because it’s a venerable institution doesn’t mean Brennan’s of Houston doesn’t notice what’s going on around it. The restaurant recently instituted its own raw seafood tower. It comes in two sizes. The Petite Tower is perfect for three people to nosh on before dinner, while the Grand Tower makes a good appetizer for four or five. Included are Creole-style blue crab ravigote; big, Cajun-spice shrimp; skewered chunks of lobster meat; West Indies crab claws; smoked catfish dip; and, of course, oysters on the half shell. People with smaller groups or appetites should look to the menu for smaller raw dishes, such as Creole yellowfin tuna crudo with pickled vegetables and "Crab Boil" peanut vinaigrette.

 See the full list here >>>