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Bayou Lucy’s Seafood Gumbo is a Cajun stew with crab, shrimp and Andouille sausage over white rice. It comes with a house salad and cornbread ($11.95).
Thursday, April 4, 2013
If you have driven past Tower s Shopping Center in recent months, you may have noticed a brightly painted gold and purple building where Big Lick BBQ once stood. If you’re lucky, you had time to stop in and sample Bayou Lucy’s brand of New Orleans Cajun and Creole cuisine.
My first visit to Bayou Lucy’s was for an early dinner on a recent Sunday evening. My companion and I were the first people at the restaurant and were quickly greeted by friendly servers who welcomed us to take any seat in the house. The space is relatively small but eye-catching, with large murals of New Orleans landmarks painted on the walls. The moderately sized menu offers many options one might expect, such as a variety of po’boy sandwiches, jambalaya, seafood gumbo and other Louisiana staples.
To start, we ordered the gator sausage bites with cornbread ($6.95), admittedly wary of alligator meat that may have traveled a long distance. To our surprise, the bites were from an alligator sausage link that was thinly sliced and lightly fried. Crisp and juicy, it delivered just the right amount of spice. The kick of spices paired perfectly with what could arguably be the star of the show at Bayou Lucy’s — a dark brown, seasoned and sweetened cornbread. Unlike typical yellow cornbread , this one mixes warm spices with a light sweetness, similar to a pumpkin or banana bread but far better.
For dinner, we chose the shrimp etouffee with a side salad ($14.95) and crawfish po’boy with fries ($11.95). Etouffee is a Cajun stewlike dish containing a mixture of seafood, rice and vegetables in a dark brown gravy, which beautifully melds savory and nutty flavors. Lucy’s version hit the mark, filled with many especially tender shrimp and just the right amount of rice. This dish was delivered with another piece of their delicious cornbread.
The crawfish po’boy came on a white sandwich roll with lettuce, tomato, pickle and mayonnaise. The deep-fried crawfish was good but could have used a little spice, which was easily remedied with the bottles of hot sauce on each table.
During the meal, chefs and wait staff circulated throughout the small space, each smiling, greeting us, and asking how we were enjoying the food.
Our second visit provided a livelier atmosphere, with several other tables filled with patrons and the much-welcomed addition of jazz replacing the noisy televisions from our first visit. We were greeted by the same server and again casually offered any available seat.
This time, we decided to skip appetizers and head straight for the entrees, choosing seafood gumbo with a side salad and cornbread ($11.95) and the fried fish plate with potato salad ($10.95). The gumbo arrived in the same fashion as the etouffee, with a heaping mound of rice smothered in stew, but the taste was distinctly different. Piled high on the rice was a spray of small crab legs, along with crab, shrimp and sausage mixed into the stew. While the fresh seafood added nice flavor, the saltiness of the dish distracted from the otherwise high quality of seafood.
The catfish was the best I’ve had in quite a while, with a perfect batter that was fried to the point of being very crisp without a lot of grease. The fish itself was mild and flaky. The homemade potato salad included large chunks of boiled egg surrounded by an otherwise creamy consistency.
While a side of cornbread continued to impress us, we soon learned that no trip to Bayou Lucy’s should be complete without an order of beignets ($4.25) for dessert. These three deep-fried pastries were covered in a heap of powdered sugar and came to the table piping hot. They were accurately described by our server as “delicious little pillows.” If you enjoy these as much as we did, you will want to pick up a box of packaged beignet mix to take home, as well as a can of chicory coffee and some frozen gator sausage.
In all, Bayou Lucy’s offers patrons an authentic taste of New Orleans that is not to be missed. The friendly staff creates a casual, family-like atmosphere and unique, flavorful dishes that are difficult to come by in other local establishments.
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