Into Shelley’s Belly: The Tuna Sandwich and Lucky Dog at St. Pete’s Dancing Marlin

A battered marline, blue and kingly (right); exterior of the Marlin (left) photos by Matthew Shelley

Go for the tuna, stay for the tuna.

I spent the better part of half of last month examining the migration habits of the Adama bird, and have thusly determined that there will be no more crustless jiffy and jellies for this gentleman. The most affably anointed of you will offer more than a soupçon of foggy skepticism any time I discuss food criticism, and yet I battle on.

Naked and thirsty in a hunky alley in Deep Ellum, a sudden tickle came between my toes. I lifted my head from my foggy narcissism and noticed a lively blue brick wall calling to me from yonder.

Though I may be the last to the party, St. Pete’s Dancing Marlin let me into its awe-encompassing arms with a gentle and unencumbered full body squeeze. The beautifully rambunctious interior solidified my joy with a hefty greeting from the man at the bar, who most certainly owned a boat. “Sit where you like…that’s what Rex would tell you,” he said. Rex worked his hands behind the bar, unable to attend my seating needs at the moment, yet still giving a friendly hello and welcome. Musty animal magnetism aside, Rex was gentle and friendly, astute and ever available.

The Dancing Marlin is surely a place most of you know and most likely patronize as regulars. The spacious and raucous interior befits any man and his mates, families, friends and parties alike. Aptly decorated with marlins galore, sea-loving portraits and marine trinkets to titillate the most studious fisherman, this place has the touch.

The Rudolph’s Meat Market lucky dog swallowing my plate

And so we go into my belly, probing the culinary depths of man’s animal instincts concerning his oceanic needs. I started with the calamari. The sumptuous sea meat was delicately flavored and partnered with a delightful red sauce for a deep dipping. The beer list was formidable as well and ready to please all tastes. Being a bit of a snobbish beer fop myself, I found just what I needed on the extensive list of brews. I also heard rumors of a hot dog to rival the best. Though my skirt retained its position, the meaty masterpiece — to which I added chili, onions and cheese — was a red-eyed beauty. Covering every inch of my plate and encouraging a big finish, the Rudolph’s Meat Market Lucky Dog tantalized and fulfilled.

On to the obscure object of this mission. The Dancing Tuna Sandwich tingled deeply my soul’s delectation. Robust and bright, the sandwich carried its weight in wampum. Drizzled with a cilantro-olive glaze and cooked to perfection, this tuna is legit. With a full and buttery grilled bun, handsome tomatoes and lettuce, I indulged beyond my means. The sidekick of pasta salad was also no slouch. The finely chopped bell peppers and subtle sauce were a lovely companion. The hearty tuna inspired me. To what, I yet know not, but I am confident in its delivery of personal excellence to my future. Thank you Rex, and thank you St. Pete for your Dancing Marlin and outstanding tuna. I shall return with feathers and gifts adorned with the jewels of my people.

The dancing tuna sandwich, poised for ingestion.

Rex, honing his “come hither” stare (right); calamari and beer



  • Michelle Saunders

    Really funny! Matt should write more!

  • Grady

    Use simpler words less flambouiant, St. Pete’s is the Best restruant in Dallas

  • Grady

    And Rex is awesome

  • Brenda Revett

    I wish I was there right now sitting there getting served any of these mentioned dishes. But Dallas is out of my comfort zone for taking a drive to dine…but my mouth is telling me I am missing a good mess of delicacies. and I would love to visit with Rex whom I don’t think I have ever met yet his Mom and i are good friends from way back.