Sometimes, all it takes is a single bite to know that you’re about to have a meal that’s better than almost everything you’ve ever eaten or ever will eat. My dinner at 531 Liberty in Houma this past Saturday was one of those experiences.
531 Liberty is one of those restaurants that’s usually only open for lunch on weekdays, much to the disappointment of people who don’t work in the area like myself. My wife Lindsay has been telling me great things about it since she started working in Houma, but I was resigned to never dining there considering I work in Mathews. Thankfully, the restaurant’s owners appear to be ambitious food lovers bent on sharing their passion.
Alongside its usual Facebook post sharing the week’s specials, 531 Liberty shared the menu for a special Saturday dinner prepared by local chef Pat Besson that sounded amazing. In an ironic turn of events, Lindsay had to work and wouldn’t be able to go while I had no other plans and didn’t want to miss the opportunity to finally dine at 531, even if it wasn’t the usual menu. Fortunately, I was able to avoid the awkward lonely dinner by simply texting screenshots of the Facebook post to my friends Jarvis and Dustin. To quote Dustin’s text response “I was gonna take it easy today, but that looks too good to pass up.”
I made an early reservation so we could make it to a movie later and were the first to arrive. As we were sitting, the woman who let us in asked if we had brought our own wine. I recalled reading that customers were encouraged to bring their own bottles, but it totally slipped my mind. Our gracious host quickly remedied my mishap with some sangria she said a customer had brought to a previous dinner. It was just sweet enough and served as a perfectly chilled respite from the already ungodly summer heat outside.
I had long since decided what I would order from the limited but spectacular looking menu that now sat before us. For appetizers, I went with the crawfish martini while Dustin and Jarvis each had a cup of creole crab and mushroom soup. With my first bite, I knew we were in for an incredible meal. Served in a tall martini glass, the crawfish martini consisted of crawfish “simmered with a creole trinity in a smooth crawfish veloute” atop pureed potatoes. It was smooth, buttery, and bursting with flavor. The crawfish were absolutely perfect and went so well with the potatoes, a combination I had never heard of before. I couldn’t stop spooning the appetizer into my mouth until I was scraping the glass for the last bits of savory goodness.
Jarvis and Dustin ordered the Pork African for their entrees, grilled pork medallions and roasted eggplant with a port wine and red pepper sauce. I opted for the Roasted Duck Oak Alley with baby green beans. The duck was roasted, stuffed with andouille cornbread dressing, and topped with a blackberry sauce that was neither too sweet nor sour, just right. One bite was all it took to know that this dish was well above anything you can find at your average or even higher-end local restaurant. Every bite was absolutely delicious.
I wish we’d managed to save room for dessert (cream cheese turtle cake or fresh fruit with Chantilly cream) and that this menu would always be available here on Saturdays. I would have liked to have tried the soup, creole tomatoes and crabmeat in a seafood stock with mushrooms, as well as the third entree, Stuffed Shrimp Danserau, but it was nice to have such an excellent meal at a restaurant I’d been wanting to visit for several months but couldn’t. We were told they plan on hosting more weekend dinners in the future and to keep an eye on 531’s Facebook updates for news on those events. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for the next amazing dinner at 531 Liberty.