After searching since Christmas of 1983, I have found it.
It's only 300 miles from my home in Fort Worth; therefore I shall return.
I have found a Texas restaurant with good catfish. It's called the Pipe Creek Junction Cafe. (9878 Highway 16 South, Pipe Creek, TX 78063 830-535-6767)
As a Mississippian, I was spoiled from an early age. People there know how to catch (or raise), clean, fillet, cook, and serve catfish.
In Texas, I think they confuse catfish with ground beef. Or Armadillos.
Don't tell me about yer "Catfish and Company" in North Richland Hills. It's not even close. Hold those fillets up before they're battered, and I bet you could read a newspaper through them.
Don't bring up the old Bill Martin's places that used to be just outside Tarrant County, where I think they served Mud Cats in Hush Puppy batter.
And for the love of all things holy, don't suggest the industrialized, freeze-dried mess they bounce off the platters at Long John Silver's. I once took some LJS leftovers home to the dachshunds, and they ate the stuff. But they licked their rear ends for 30 minutes trying to get the taste out of their mouths.
The Pipe Creek Junction Cafe does catfish right. The batter isn't too thick and isn't over-spiced. The fillets are thick, and are composed of an actual 1/2 catfish. (Restaurants and wholesalers screw up when they try to slice these sections in half, giving some customers the false impression that they're eating more fish. Actually, it just doubles the batter and no one is fooled except Yankees and people from Dallas.)
The go-withs at Pipe Creek are good (although it's hard to screw up corn on the cob and a baked potato). The staff seems to be all high school kids, and they leave you alone and let you read in peace while you eat. Refills on the all-you-can-eat catfish arrived promptly.
I don't think anything I ate came from a can, or spent time in a microwave, or had time to dwell under a heat lamp.
Great stuff. I'll be eating here again on my way home. It's on Highway 16 between Helotes and Bandera. The quest for good Texas catfish is over !
Now I have to find someplace other than Red, Hot & Blues with decent pork barbeque.
Picture from this guy at Flickr