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Lafayette Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations


dischutz
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  • 1 month later...

Off the beaten track? Try a place called D.I.'s

It is in the middle of nowhere, between I-10 and U.S. 190 on La. 13. You take I-10 West from Lafayette, get off at exit 97, Evangeline, LA.

Follow LA 13 into the fields, this place is at least 9 miles off of the Interstate, but it is on the same highway. The Shrimp stew is simply wonderful. Nothing fancy, mind you, the food is typical fare, no "polish" at all. Just up my alley.

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Go to Ole Tyme Grocery on St. Mary's for fantastic po-boys (probably not what you meant by great Cajun food but well worth the trip!). Prejean's has really good Cajun food, but it's not really off the beaten track.

Are you just going to Lafayette for a few days and are looking for a typical experience there, or is your intent a bit different? If I know a bit more it'll help me think of a few more places.

Anne E. McBride

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  • 1 year later...

I will be going to lafayette at the end of the month. Can anyone give me some tips on where to stay and eat. Thanks

Gorganzola, Provolone, Don't even get me started on this microphone.---MCA Beastie Boys

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Thursday the 29th returning to Shreveport, sunday may 2nd. I will be attending a wedding saturday, but Im not sure what time. Yes to a vehicle, and other than the wedding, I can do whatever, whenever. I am even willing to stay and travel up to 20 miles.

Gorganzola, Provolone, Don't even get me started on this microphone.---MCA Beastie Boys

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The area 20 miles around Lafayette is some of the most intersting eating you can find, in my humble opinon. Let me issue the disclaimer... I was born there. It's home. I'm partial to it.

If you've never been to the area, there are a few not to miss places.

Downtown Lafayette:

Don's - Downtown Lafayette: Not to be confused with Don's Seafood Hut on Johnston, although they are owned by the same family, and the food is very good at both places. It is a more upscale place, but it won't make your MasterCard melt. Good for dinner with friends, or lunch if you'll be dining alone.

Jefferson Street area - Downtown Lafayette: The whole area is going through a resurgence. Lots of bars, but far enough from the ULL campus for it not to be completely filled with students. A few restaurants have made their way down there since the city council put a moratorium on the bars. I haven't been there recently enough to guarantee anything. It has changed an awful lot. Antler's has been there for nearly 30 years, and is a great choice.

Campus area:

Old Tyme Grocery makes the best po-boys in town. Near Our Lady of Lourdes hospital.

Louviere's on General has the best plate lunches in town. Not much help on the weekends, but if you get there early Friday, it's worth your while.

Judice Inn - On Johnston, right across from the brand new megaplex Grand Theater. (The theater is the size of a WalMart). Judice Inn has been there since the directions to the place said to "go 3 miles south of town toward Abbeville". Best hamburgers in town, and I'd argue for best in the state.

Borden's Ice Cream, also on Johnston just north of campus. A real live ice cream shop with the artdeco stuff and everything. Who needs a marble slab?.

East Lafayette:

Pinhook Road:

Blue Dog Cafe Good food, great art (It's owned by George Rodrigue of the Blue Dog paintings fame). It's kind of touristy, and has a New Orleans influence. Which isn't bad.

Cafe Vermilionville - A solid second choice. The food is fine, but a little nondecript for the area.

Chris's PoBoys nearly ties with Old Tyme as best poboy, and is on Pinhook, as well as the recenty remodeled Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. Ruth's Chris will melt the MasterCard. But it's gooood.

Zeus is a cool little greek/Middle Eastern place that says "Lunch To Go orders ready in 15 Minutes or a FREE glass of water!" :biggrin:

Evangeline Thruway:

Gator Cove is a solid choice if you are on that end of town. Seafood, but they are proud of it.

Nash's in Broussard is a seafood/Italian combo, but it's run by a third generation New Orleans chef, Nash Barreca.

North Lafayette:

How can I put this delicately... I wouldn't. Let's leave it at that. Once you get outside the city limits, there are options, but none that really outweigh the safety factor. You are on your own there.

South Lafayette:

Dominated by probably the largest mall between Houston and Baton Rouge, and the chain restaurants that proliferate around them. If you find yourself in this area, you will have to get off the main drags (Johnston Street and Ambassador Caffery), but pickings are kind of slim if you want to avoid chain places.

The one major exception - Woods and Waters(on Johnston Street, just south of the mall). A great selection of in-season wild game, really nice seafood, plus the regular beef and chicken things. An outstanding concept, and well executed.

Vermilion Parish:

If you go 5 or 6 miles south of the mall (on Johnston Steeet - which is USHwy167), into Vermilion Parish and the town of Maurice (Note: Do not speed here. Seriously. Really. It says 40 and it means 35) there is a place on the main drag called Soop's. (On the right if you are coming from Lafayette. It's a little hard to spot. It's right next to Hebert's Specialty Meats, which is a different subject itself) Great lunch specials, great seafood and gumbo, and just really good basic Cajun comfort food. Plastic dishes, but who cares.

Farther down between Maurice and Abbeville on 167, several new crawfish patios have sprung up. They pay good money to the crawfish farmers, so they tend to get really good crawfish, or at least the best available at the time.

Abbeville is roughly 20 miles south of Lafayette on the aforementioned US167. There are several places in the downtown area. Black's Oyster Bar, Dupuy's Oyster Bar, and Shucks. 3 guesses as to the local specialty... Follow 167 until it ends, practically in Shuck's parking lot. Turn left to go downtown and the other two are right there, as soon as you cross the Vermilion River. There are 3 world class seafood places within 4 blocks of each other. Pick one. You can't miss. Also The Riverfront, which is, oddly enough, on the riverfront. The restaurant is almost cantilevered out over the river, and as another great choice.

East of Lafayette/St. Martin Parish.

I'd recommend climbing onto I-10, and going to the Breaux Bridge exit. The original Mulate's is there - just follow the signs. A couple of exits farther east, and you get to Henderson. The original Landry's is there. Follow those signs.

West of Lafayette/Acadia Parish

Again, using I-10 to head west toward Lake Charles, there is not much until you get to Rayne or Crowley. Crowley being roughly 20 miles west of Lafayette. Nearly anything, except for the McDonald's, on Parkerson Avenue in Crowley is a good bet. There are several places, one of which serves the best begniets I've had outside of the French Quarter. The name escapes me at the moment, but it is on Parkerson. Rayne is similar. Several choices along the main drag, and it's hard to find a bad place. I like Gabe's for a good lunch place.

New Iberia is a bit more than 20 miles, but I can recommend a couple of places, as can Mayhaw Man and The Perlows, after their... ahem... excursion a few months back.

edited to say - I may be losing power from a particularly nasty storm headed this way. I'll contue editing later.... :hmmm:

Edited by FistFullaRoux (log)
Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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Thanks!!! oddly enough I definitly plan on visiting Nash's, I worked for he and his brother in New Orleans 14 years ago. Nothing like a surprise visit. What about Des Amis, catahoula and pejeans? I believe the crawfish festival is that weekend in Beaux bridge. Only once maybe 10 years ago did I even stop for just lunch in Lafeyette, so Im up for anything. Is there any chef trying to shake things up around there? I love to get both sides of the spectrum. Again thanks for the continued assistance.

Gorganzola, Provolone, Don't even get me started on this microphone.---MCA Beastie Boys

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Thanks!!! oddly enough I definitly plan on visiting Nash's, I worked for he and his brother in New Orleans 14 years ago.  Nothing like a surprise visit.  What about Des Amis, catahoula and pejeans?  I believe the crawfish festival is that weekend in Beaux bridge.  Only once maybe 10 years ago did I even stop for just lunch in Lafeyette, so Im up for anything.  Is there any chef trying to shake things up around there?  I love to get both sides of the spectrum. Again thanks for the continued assistance.

As far as shaking up the restaurant scene in Lafayette, the folks at Woods and Waters are doing a good job. It's a unique concept. And they are holding thier own amongst the TGOChilibees...

Nash's is getting a fair bit of attention, as is the seafood stuff in Abbeville. Seafood has always been popular with the locals, but it surging at the moment, as more celebrities are finding the area. Black's is a favorite of Robert Duvall, for instance. This is allowing these places to expland past the "standards" and explore some previously uncharted territory. Not that the "Standards" went away, but you can get more than just the bisques and augratins. There seems to be a lot more pasta than even a few years ago, for example.

And to tell you something else about the area, Emeril's cookbook partner, Marcelle Beinvenue, is from Abbeville. She's also a force behind some of the changes happening. Right now you can get the classic Cajun, some New Orleans style, and some new hybrids if you check the specials boards. The area is sandwiched between TexMex and Creole. There are large Middle Eastern and southeast Asian populations now. There's bound to be an effect.

Local chefs are getting bolder about experimenting a bit. There was a "Don't you dare change that recipe" attitude for a long time. The last 5 years has changed that. The experimenters are doing almost as well as the traditionalists. Which is why you are seeing more New Orleans types feeling out the area, like Nash's.

Edited by FistFullaRoux (log)
Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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Sorry it's taken so long to get back to this. Looking back at the thread, I think I'vr recommended enough for you purposes plus about 5 days, but I have one more to mention.

Randol's on Verot School Road. This would be a good place to get the feel of the area, even if it is a bit touristy, and not truly authentic, but it's fun. You gotta like a restaurant with a dance floor...

If you have specific questions about a place, let me know. I'll try to help.

Hope you enjoy the trip. Write in again to let us know how it went...

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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What about Des Amis, catahoula and pejeans? I believe the crawfish festival is that weekend in Beaux bridge. Only once maybe 10 years ago did I even stop for just lunch in Lafeyette, so Im up for anything.

And I just noticed that you did specify places. Pardon the dain bramage...

Cafe Des Amis is overrated. I mean they charge 10 bucks for a bowl of couche couche. It's cornmeal fried in a little oil and served with jams or something else fruity. Douse it with milk. Unless they are using some completely exotic fruit that I've never heard of, a $10 bowl of couche couche is for the tourists. And that's breakfast. Usually breakfast is the least expensive meeal of the day.

Catahoula - Good food, but it's yet another place that the food does not match the price list. I don't mind paying a lot for something that's great food. I do mind paying high prices for pedestrian grub. That's just me. This may very well suit you. But I wouldn't go back unless someone else was picking up the tab.

Prejean's - From the menu "Fresh Louisiana crawfish in a delicate Rotel cheese sauce, rolled in flour tortillas, baked and topped with a delicious crawfish sauce. Served with eggplant & okra Creole casserole, dirty rice, and a fresh, garden salad." I dunno about you, but I'd never order anything advertising Ro-Tel tomatoes as an ingredient in a mid scale restaurant. I bet it's delicious, but they seem like they are trying too hard. Everything is in pirouges of bread and has other overly cutsey names. The food is pretty good despite the names.

It's one of the pitfalls of the area. Tourism is so big, that these types of places exist only to give a false example of "Cajun cooking." And overcharge for it. The other places I've suggested are more authentic, real food places. Except for Nash's and Woods and Waters, neither of which claim to be authentic anything.

Ultimately, it's up to you. I grew up on this food, so it's sometimes hard for me to remember that not everybody else has been exposed to this. That's why I tend to recommend places that are closer to authentic and reasonable in price, because once you realize how basic most of the food is, you'll never want to pay 10 bucks for something you can do at home for 75 cents.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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Nearabouts as I can tell, FF/R is kinda kin to me. There are a coupla lapses. but if I get down that way, I will be happy to shake hands.

er? :huh:

FYI, I'm not down there right now. I'm in Birmingham for a bit, but I do make regular trips back home.

I'm still trying to figure out why we would be related... I confuzzled

It's 2:30 am I guess I should sleep now. :unsure:

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Well my trip is this weekend and I never thought I would be this excited to be going. I keep telling my wife that we are "Going to the motherland". She keeps reminding me that we are from the westbank not Cajun Country. Thanks for the help FFR, I will fill everyone in next week.

Gorganzola, Provolone, Don't even get me started on this microphone.---MCA Beastie Boys

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  • 2 weeks later...

First Day: Well the rain didnt stop me! I hope I did FFR proud. First for a snack I stopped at a gas staion in Nacatish (yea, yea, I spelled it wrong). I really wanted some crawfish pies, but I had to settle for meat pies and boudin balls, while my wife had fried shrimp and some not so tasty jambalaya. All was good fuel for the soul, hell, I had almost 2 more hours to drive. As we approched Lafayette we dicided to stop at Prejeans. We stopped under the I49 as some troops were heading to the airport to be deployed to Iraq. We waved and honked and realized how fortunate we are. I started with the smoked duck gumbo while my wife had the crab and corn bisque. Hers was better than mine. The andouille was overcooked and dry tasting while the smoked CHICKEN--oh I mean duck didnt give that much flavor to the broth. Then I had a crawfish pie which was awesome with its perfect buttery crust and piping hot filling. The crawfish etouffee was good but thats all just good. This is cajun country and my expectations are high. The crawfish were of all things,,, mushy. My wife had a BBQ shrimp po-boy which I have mixed reviews about. The grilled shrimp came inside of a toasted french bread pocket with a side of New Orleans style BBQ sauce. The sauce had been thickened with cornstarch and there was either cane syrup or sugar in it which finishes on your palate robbing the garlic and lemon from its job. Gateau Sirup, tooooo much clove! What do I expect, FFR said not to go there! Idiot!

For dinner we needed to meet a couple in between Lafayette and Eunice. So we chose Catahoula in Grand Coteau. Great meal, and if I would have explained myself to the waiter better, the meal would have been even better. Turtle soup to start. Very good almost exceptional. Crawfish salad with fried pickled Okra and spinach. The women at the table couldnt get enough of this dish. Crawfish with tasso and cream over a sweet potato grit cake. Better than I expected, I loved the sweet potato grit play, not as sweet as one would think with the tasso spice to offset it. The waiter ordered me the special which was Sea Bass with orzo, muchrooms, and zucchini. It was very, very good, but I wanted something that better described the area. My wive had a pecan crusted shrimp with a spicy pepper jelly glaze and green bean salsa that had corn and of all things mango in it. She loved it as did I. I finished with the praline torte--soft praline fillinf encases in pate sucre. It was great and my wife had some choclate concoction (didnt try it). My friend Xave had a blueberry bread pudding and he finished it before I could even lift my fork to taste it. The wine list was better than expected. Not too many selections (80) but some great undervalued wines were studded all over the place. All in all a good day. Day 2,3, and 4 to follow soon.

Gorganzola, Provolone, Don't even get me started on this microphone.---MCA Beastie Boys

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Day 2: The rain is miserable. But we head to Abbeyville for oysters. The first stop was Shucks Restaurant. It had a clean new look and feel which was suprising. I was expecting a "shack". The oysters were meduim sized, salty and cold. I always eat oysters with lemon only. This time I put a little of the local Cajun Power Garlic hot sauce on a few of them. Not to spicy with a tangy garlic kick--delicious. My wife ordered gumbo and onion rings while I had the stuffed crawfish. The gumbo was served with rice in the bowl and potato salad on the side. It was the best gumbo we had on the trip. None of the seafood had been overcooked the roux was meduim and the broth was deep and rich. The stuffed crawfish were like hush-puppies loaded with crawfish and it was great with a little tabasco and tartar sauce. We cruised a couple of blocks down the street to go to Blacks Oyster Bar. Stopped next to Blacks at a store to buy some jewlery and the owner said her favorite gumbo was at Dupey's which is catacorner from Blacks. We entered Blacks and ordered raw oysters, gumbo and a couple of pounds of boiled crawfish. The waitress asked us how we wanted our crawfish done,,,"Well Done" I said. "No" , "mild, regular, hot or extra hot". "Hot please". The oysters were HUGE. Salty, cold and HUGE. Almost too big for me. Nonetheless, excellent. The gumbo had alot to be desired. The crawfish were good size and flavored "hot" with seasoning on the outside. The outside seasoning I have ran across a few times recently and I must admitt I'm undecided on the subject. Not much of the prized fat in these mudbugs but still very good. We payed our bill walked next door to Dupey's to get some of that gumbo and we were too late, they had closed for lunch.

For Dinner we decided we might need a sushi snack before heading to Nash's in Broussard. We went to the hip Tsunami. The place was packed! We were able to get a seat at the bar and My wife ordered for us an Aligator tempura roll and a crawfish aparagus roll wrapped with soy paper. Both were great, perfect rice, cool presentation, good looking people--hey we fit right in. Nash's was awesome. The wine list needs some work but the food and atmosphere was perfect. Old house, 12 foot ceilings, enclosed wrap around porch. Turtle soup, BBQ Shrimp, and Baked oysters to start. The turtle soup is the best I ever had! The shrimp swimming in butter, lemon, L&P and herbs how eathereal. The oysters were baked with crab and italian bread crumbs, with the sides just bubbling as the waiter sat it down. Roast Duck with peach brandy sauce over dirty rice and Soft shell crab with crawfish sauce over a spicy fettucini alfredo were the 2 entrees. A half of a duck, super crispy skin and moist interior over the spicy rice and sweet peach sauce was heavan. My wifes crab was crispy and rich. Like a dirty little secret, the soft shell was evrything bad for you, you just couldnt stop yourself from indulging. What a fun day, I cant even remember dessert. WAIT, of course, Bannana Foster. Is there anything better than picking up that bowl and slurpping down that sauce?

Gorganzola, Provolone, Don't even get me started on this microphone.---MCA Beastie Boys

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Well, I hate to say I told you so, but.... :biggrin:

The Nachitoches meat pies are the famous ones. You were still a bit far north for good Cajun, but the meat pies stand on their own.

Your review of Catahoula sounds about right, but they are far closer to New Orleans than Lafayette, culinarily speaking.

I'm really glad you found Abbeville. Like I said, 3 world class seafood restaurants within about 5 blocks of each other, priced for the locals, and the best seafood I have ever had. I admit, I was spoiled growing up there.

Shucks is the new kid on the block. They've been in business for about 10 years now, compared with over 100 for Black's and Dupuy's. And they all do it right. With three restaurants that close to each other, the quality of seafood is amazing. It's market forces at work. Black's was actually in one of the buildings behind the current restaturant for a thousand years. They moved into this newer spot (next door) about 20 years ago. It used to be a department store. It's where I got my first Boy Scout uniform. Dupuy's has been at their location through hell and high water.

I'm glad you liked Tsunami. I haven't had a chance to go, but it's on my list for the next trip. I've heard nothing but good things about it.

Edited by FistFullaRoux (log)
Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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Day 3: Fighting the rain and a rude hotel clerk we made our way to Beaux Bridge for lunch. We first headed over to Cafe des Amis but it was closed for the crawfish festival. Disappointed but getting hungier, I toke us to Poches. I already had planned to load up my new Big Lots ice cest with sausage from there, meat and 3 it is. I ordered 2 lunches, my wife only one. I had the pork back stew and the stuffed prok chop over dirty rice. My wife had the crawfish etoufee. The stew was dark and rich like a gumbo in depth and flavor. The Pork chop was stuffed with pork sausage and the perfect amount of brine to keep it moist. Even though I must admit that I am a sopper. Since there was no sauce, there was nothing for me to sop up. The etouffe was as usual great. I expected no less. Then I loaded up with about 5lbs of Andouille, 35lbs crawfish boudin, 10lbs pork boudin and one sweet potato pie.

I drove back to Lafayette in search of Cajungrocer.com but all I found was an empty building--foiled.

We attended a wedding that evening in Washington, LA. The food at the reception was great. Huge boiled shrimp with the pickling spices still clinging. The famous sausage cheese jalapeno bread from Bourroques Market in Port Barre. Crawfish fettucini, crab stuffed mushrooms, corn-crab bisque, spicy roast pork with pistolettes, and some fine spicy little sandwiches. But these were no ordinary triangles. I am not sure exactly what was in any of the sandwiches. The ingredients were all minced. Mayo-yes, Meat-sure, Coon-possibly. Who knows? I never did get any cake. I was too astonished by the jazz band filled with late aged white men and a huge horn section that had no troubles breaking into Outkast's, I Like The Way You Move.

Gorganzola, Provolone, Don't even get me started on this microphone.---MCA Beastie Boys

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But these were no ordinary triangles.  I am not sure exactly what was in any of the sandwiches.  The ingredients were all minced.  Mayo-yes,  Meat-sure, Coon-possibly.  Who knows?
If my hunch is correct, that may have been a tounge sandwich. Or maybe brisket. Both are popular reception foods, sometimes without the bread. I remember one reception when a pregnant friend of mine (who hates organ meats, btw) was chowing down on the tounge. She thought it was pork loin or something. I told her the truth a couple of days later...
I was too astonished by the jazz band filled with late aged white men and a huge horn section that had no troubles breaking into Outkast's, I Like The Way You Move.
You gotta love Louisiana!!! :biggrin: That sounds like it was worth the trip on it's own...

Thanks so much for sharing the trip with us. I'm still trying to figure out what you are going to do with 35 lbs of crawfish boudin...

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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  • 4 weeks later...

From today's New York Times comes an article in the Travel Section, on Lafayette, Louisiana:

Cajun Food

I recently benefited from this bayou erudition during a three-day driving and tasting blitz of greater Lafayette, the capital of Cajundom. Nowhere in this country have I encountered people who are so passionate about their cuisine - a farrago of ethnicities that reflects the Cajuns' forced migrations from maritime France to Nova Scotia and eventually to the seafood paradise of southern Louisiana.

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Couldn't read the article unless I sign on with the NYTimes. No time for that!

Was in Lafayette this weekend. With all the talk about the good restaurants in Abbeville, I thought I'd check it out.

The wife and I went to Shucks.

Shucks was good overall, but not great. Generic building and design (yawn...)

Got a dozen oysters for $4.50! Wow, that's cheap! My wife got onion rings and seafood gumbos. The gumbo was ok. It had enough seafood, but there was nothing in the soup part. Pure broth, no chopped up garlic, bell pepper, nuthin. Seasoning was fine.

I got a half order of fried catfish and half order of pan-broiled shrimp. Both were excellent. Fried catfish couldn't really be done any better. The shrimp were very good, and seasoned well. It came with a generous portion of fries (I think they were Sysco brand like the onion rings, if ya know what I mean!) and a salad with some shrimp in it.

Service was very good. They said it was kinda slow that night. The 2 of us ate for under $40.00 before tip, including 2 glasses of wine. Good value, I'd say.

Family friendly, but for crying out loud, do they have to let people smoke in the restaurant? There's plenty of seating outside for that!

Joe

You gonna eat that?

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  • 5 weeks later...
Couldn't read the article unless I sign on with the NYTimes. No time for that!

Was in Lafayette this weekend. With all the talk about the good restaurants in Abbeville, I thought I'd check it out.

The wife and I went to Shucks.

Shucks was good overall, but not great. Generic building and design (yawn...)

Got a dozen oysters for $4.50! Wow, that's cheap! My wife got onion rings and seafood gumbos. The gumbo was ok. It had enough seafood, but there was nothing in the soup part. Pure broth, no chopped up garlic, bell pepper, nuthin. Seasoning was fine.

I got a half order of fried catfish and half order of pan-broiled shrimp. Both were excellent. Fried catfish couldn't really be done any better. The shrimp were very good, and seasoned well. It came with a generous portion of fries (I think they were Sysco brand like the onion rings, if ya know what I mean!) and a salad with some shrimp in it.

Service was very good. They said it was kinda slow that night. The 2 of us ate for under $40.00 before tip, including 2 glasses of wine. Good value, I'd say.

Family friendly, but for crying out loud, do they have to let people smoke in the restaurant? There's plenty of seating outside for that!

Joe

Shucks is also the newest one. You had good food at a fair price. Yeah, it's basic. But it works. You were there for the food, right?

A couple of things for the out of towners to remember:

1)It ain't Manhattan. In deepest darkest south Louisiana, you will be lucky to even find a smoking section. Most places just put an ashtray on every table. Besides, have you ever been outside for any length of time in south Louisiana in any month except December? Mosquitos regularly carry off small rodents, and can gang-carry a Pomeranian.

2)Emeril has lied to you for years. That gumbo probably didn't even have any garlic in it. Vegetables are cooked for hours so there wouldn't be any recognizable parts in there anyway.

3)If the diner really wanted good french fries, they'd do them at home. Or they would have a french fry platter on the menu. This is something I know for a fact. Very few places worry about fries made from scratch. Most of the time, the fries are there to fill you up after you have finished all of the seafood, and you still have room left.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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