Category Archives: seafood

Local Guide to Lent

In the past, I’ve approached the season of Lent with its restriction of consuming meat on Fridays by offering weekly lists of seafood alternatives that you can enjoy in our area. If you missed it or want an easy way to look back and possibly get some ideas on where to dine on Fridays this Lenten season, I’ve organized the articles into a convenient list here.

Please note that while some of these options may no longer be available this year, the lists are still helpful for deciding on where to dine during Lent.

Sushi

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Dragon Roll at Zen

There’s no shortage of meat-free food options when you’re eating sushi. You even get to decide whether you want it cooked or raw, and this is the perfect time to venture out and try the most exotic stuff if you haven’t yet taken the plunge. Even more sushi restaurants have open up since this list was first published so your options are greater than ever now.

Mexican Food

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Fish ceviche at El Paso

Aside from the obvious grilled shrimp fajitas, Mexican restaurants have a lot to offer if you’re avoiding meat. Think seafood tacos, nachos, ceviche, and even vegetarian options.

Grilled Oysters

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Chargrilled oysters at Cristiano

While you wouldn’t normally make a meal out of just grilled oysters (or would you?), this list features restaurants that feature these tasty treats on the half shell in addition to other fantastic seafood options.

Fried Softshell Crab

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Fried softshell crab pasta at Leeville Seafood Restaurant

Why eat some of the crab when you can eat the whole thing? Plenty of local restaurants should have this delicacy on their menus, but this list features some of the best around.

Seafood Poboys

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Blackened catfish poboy at Griffin’s

This list offers alternatives to the typical fried shrimp or oyster poboy, not that there’s anything wrong with those classics.

Fish Specials

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Daily fish special at Dominique’s Bistro

Sometimes there’s nothing better than a nice piece of fish cooked to perfection. The restaurants on this list all feature delicious daily fish specials based on what’s fresh the day you dine with them.

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Leeville Seafood Restaurant

Cuisine: Cajun, Seafood

It’s fitting that you have to travel beside several miles of bayou and marsh to arrive at what is possibly the best seafood restaurant in Lafourche Parish. You’re completely surrounded by the unique sights of our humble swampland by the time you arrive at Leeville’s best and only restaurant. It’s modest surroundings are completely devoid of pretentiousness, but it’s menu isn’t lacking in sophistication when you look past the typical (but delicious) fried fare and into the restaurant’s specials. They’re especially good with crab: claws, fried softshell, and plain old jumbo lump find their way into many of the dishes with delicious results. It’s the height of decadence for the bayou made only better by the modest and authentic surroundings of Cajun country. Continue reading Leeville Seafood Restaurant

Lent: Fish Specials

Our area’s strong Catholic heritage and coastal traditions shift our attention to certain foods this time of year. Whether or not you observe Lent, you’re sure to notice many local restaurants catering toward those abstaining from meat, not that it’s ever difficult to find great seafood around here. We’ll be sharing these Lenten menus with you, but each week, we’d also like to highlight some tasty alternatives you should keep in mind until Easter.

I don’t often order fish specials. Not because I don’t expect them to be tasty, but rather I went to that restaurant with something specific in mind. By their nature, specials are unknown until not long before you arrive. The price is often a mystery as well, making diners anxious.

Sometimes, though, you’re just in the mood for a nice piece of fish. To decide where to go, I find it’s best to look at the restaurant as a whole. The quality of their menu should tell you what you need to know about how they’ll handle fresh fish. Since specials change every day and I can only speak to what I’ve tried, here’s a list of some great local restaurants, the fish I’ve enjoyed there, and a look at how their overall quality was reflected in the dish.

Dominique’s Bistro |  8013 W Main St, Houma

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Grouper with brown butter sauce, green beans, and roasted sweet potato

Dominique’s Bistro exudes the upscale casual vibe, partly because the beautiful restaurant is only open for weekday lunch but also because their food is both delicious and accessible. Dishes like the fig and prosciutto flatbread appetizer, a classic French onion soup overflowing with melted cheese, and a decadent hot ham and brie sandwich exemplify the food here.

For Lent, however, you should enjoy their fresh fish of the day. When I visited, it was a beautifully prepared grouper filet lightly seasoned and topped with a rich brown butter sauce that let the natural flavor of the fish shine. Dominique’s website now describes the fresh fish as being prepared with a lemon butter caper sauce, which sounds equally delicious. It’s always a treat to dine at Dominique’s for lunch.

If you can’t make it during the week, you’re in luck. The restaurant will be open for dinner on Fridays and Saturdays in April. “Dressy or casual, come as you are!” the announcement says on Facebook, capturing Dominique’s Bistro in a nutshell.

Fremin’s | 402 West 3rd Street, Thibodaux

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Swordfish with chimichurri

It can be difficult to categorize the cuisine at Fremin’s. They make one of my favorite gumbos around (smoked duck and andouille) as well as muffallettas and seafood poboys. There’s also Italian fare like chicken marsala and veal piccata. And for the fresh catch of the day, Fremin’s often further explores the food world to best accentuate the flavor.

In the case of the swordfish I enjoyed there, the flavors ventured to South America with a vividly green chimichurri. The sauce is often made from parsley, garlic, vinegar and a number of herbs. It tasted extremely fresh and was bursting with tangy flavor.

The fact that you don’t have to narrow Fremin’s down to a single cuisine speaks volumes about the quality of the restaurant. The handsome decor makes for an upscale lunch, but Fremin’s popularity is most apparent for dinner when the restaurant is often packed, even at their great bar. Make a reservation for Friday night and start with some cheesy and buttery grilled oysters before diving into the catch of the day.

Continue reading Lent: Fish Specials

Lent: Seafood Poboys

Our area’s strong Catholic heritage and coastal traditions shift our attention to certain foods this time of year. Whether or not you observe Lent, you’re sure to notice many local restaurants catering toward those abstaining from meat, not that it’s ever difficult to find great seafood around here. We’ll be sharing these Lenten menus with you, but each week, we’d also like to highlight some tasty alternatives you should keep in mind until Easter.

Poboys are a way of life around here. It doesn’t need to be Lent or even Friday to eat one, but this time of year, it’s nice to find something a little different from the usual fried shrimp or oyster poboy. Here are some great local poboys you need to check out.

Flounder Poboy, JB’s Grill | 300 Latour Blvd, Mathews

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JB’s Grill is the best kept lunch secret in the Central Lafourche area. The restaurant had an awkward transition period between owners, but it’s back with some great new menu items. The fried flounder poboy is definitely a highlight. The fish is crispy and tastes fresh and perfectly seasoned. With a side of hot sauce marinated onion rings, it’s a perfect Friday lunch.

Continue reading Lent: Seafood Poboys

Lent: Fried Soft-Shell Crab

Our area’s strong Catholic heritage and coastal traditions shift our attention to certain foods this time of year. Whether or not you observe Lent, you’re sure to notice many local restaurants catering toward those abstaining from meat, not that it’s ever difficult to find great seafood around here. We’ll be sharing these Lenten menus with you, but each week, we’d also like to highlight some tasty alternatives you should keep in mind until Easter.

Shrimp are great, and crawfish is a real treat when you can get some, but crab meat will always be my favorite of the local seafood trio. Nothing beats jumbo lumps of crab or fried claws. It figures that crabs are the biggest pain of the three to peel. If only there was a way to just dig into a crab and enjoy all of the great flavor it has to offer. Too bad it’s shell is so hard….

Sarcasm aside, soft-shell crabs are a delicious local delicacy. Here are some of the best fried soft-shell crabs around.

Leeville Seafood Restaurant | 24203 LA-1, Golden Meadow

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It’s fitting that you have to travel beside several miles of bayou and marsh to arrive at what is possibly the best seafood restaurant in Lafourche Parish. You’re completely surrounded by the unique sights of our humble swampland by the time you arrive at Leeville’s best and only restaurant. Seafood is the specialty at the Leeville Restaurant and the Soft-Shell Crab Special is their masterpiece. A fried soft-shell crab is stuffed with a crab patty and topped with jumbo jump crab meat swimming in their rich and creamy Leeville sauce. It’s the height of decadence made only better by the modest and authentic surroundings of Cajun country.

Crabby Crab | 5726 Louisiana 1, Lockport

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You’ll never guess what Crabby Crab specializes in. If the name didn’t clue you in, the gigantic crab looming over the entrance will. Like the special at the Leeville Restaurant, Crabby Crab’s Crab Trio is an over the top tribute to all things crab and fried. The fried soft-shell crab is the star of course, but he’s accompanied by a meaty crab patty and a rich and cheesy crab au gratin. Hushpuppies and fries also manage to squeeze their way onto the plate finishing off this incredible meal.

Continue reading Lent: Fried Soft-Shell Crab

Lent: Grilled Oysters

Our area’s strong Catholic heritage and coastal traditions shift our attention to certain foods this time of year. Whether or not you observe Lent, you’re sure to notice many local restaurants catering toward those abstaining from meat, not that it’s ever difficult to find great seafood around here. We’ll be sharing these Lenten menus with you, but each week, we’d also like to highlight some tasty alternatives you should keep in mind until Easter.

Keeping with the theme of these articles, sharing Lent-friendly meals that encourage you to explore new and delicious food, I present the best way I know to get many people to try a local delicacy for the first time: Chargrilled oysters! Who can say no to all that butter, garlic, and cheese? Here are some of the best grilled oysters on local menus.

Boudreau & Thibodeau | 5602 W Main St, HoumaFB_IMG_1425742301478

Cheesy, buttery, garlicky…. The chargrilled oysters at Boudreau & Thibodeau are a lot like the originals at Drago’s in Metarie, piping hot and perfect on flaky French bread. The oysters are on the regular menu alongside one of the largest assortment of Cajun seafood dishes around from the usual gumbo and poboys to turtle and redfish courtbouillon. There are a ton of seafood options year round here, but the oysters are always a great choice.

Big Al’s Seafood | 1377 W Tunnel Blvd, HoumaFB_IMG_1425743062842

Big Al’s is another local seafood mecca that deals in delicious oysters. Thick crusts of bread and loads of melted cheese make it easy to scarf them down even if it’s your first time. The rich flavors of butter and garlic compliment the great seafood flavor and hide any unsavory texture you might associate with oysters. You’ll be hooked before long.

Continue reading Lent: Grilled Oysters

Lent: Mexican

Our area’s strong Catholic heritage and coastal traditions shift our attention to certain foods this time of year. Whether or not you observe Lent, you’re sure to notice many local restaurants catering toward those abstaining from meat, not that it’s ever difficult to find great seafood around here. We’ll be sharing these Lenten menus with you, but each week, we’d also like to highlight some tasty alternatives you should keep in mind until Easter.

Mexican food is an easy choice for a Lenten meal since there’s almost always a seafood variation of your favorite dishes. Here are some of our favorite local Mexican restaurants and their standout Lent-friendly dishes.

El Paso

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As with our sushi suggestion last week, Lent is a great time to expand your food horizons. With Mexican food, that means ceviche: chunks of raw seafood lightly marinated in citrus and mixed with onions, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, and more. The citrus actually ends up “cooking” the seafood resulting in a very fresh and delicious seafood treat that’s easy to share with the table. El Paso serves its ceviche with crispy tostadas and offers a choice between fish or shrimp.

Like most Mexican restaurants, El Paso has fajitas. Their’s happen to be my favorite, and while I usually order the Texanas Fajitas (a trio of grilled chicken, steak, and shrimp pictured here), the shrimp alone makes for a great meal. El Paso serves its fajitas with the perfect char and delicious marinade.

In addition, El Paso also has two sections of its menu that will interest you this time of year. I don’t normally go for vegetarian dishes, but El Paso’s veggie section lists tempting items like a spinach and mushroom stuffed quesadilla and vegetarian fajitas. The seafood section has a ton of variations on shrimp as well as whole fried fish and seafood tacos.

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Photos courtesy of Chef Roy Guilbeau.

La Casa Del Sol
There are some favorites like the seafood chimichanga and shrimp fajitas available year round at La Casa, but some of the Lenten specials are always worth checking out. This year, you can start with a green lentil soup. Seasonal puns aside, hot soup is a great way to begin a meal, especially with the cold and wet weather we’ve been having. Fried plantain chips on the side are a nice touch.

My favorite restaurant specials are the ones that make you wish they were on the menu year round. Seared tuna nachos are that kind of special: Crispy nachos with black beans, beautiful tuna, melted pepper jack cheese, jalapeno, and avocado. I don’t imagine I’d ever want to go back to regular grilled shrimp nachos again after a plate of these.

Other Lenten specials this year include vegetable fajitas, fried catfish tacos, and seafood enchiladas stuffed with a crab, shrimp, and crawfish cream sauce. I also have to call out one of my favorite year round seafood dishes at La Casa, the chipotle shrimp appetizer. Big grilled shrimp swim in a tangy chipotle sauce. You scoop them onto crispy bread and top each bite with a refreshing tomato and cucumber mix that pairs perfectly with the spicy shrimp. It’s a great appetizer to share.

Continue reading Lent: Mexican