Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Ritcha’s Dinette
4723 Common St
Lake Charles, LA
Cajun Lunch Monday - Friday 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM $8 - $13
Indian Dinner Friday - Saturday 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM

This establishment is also a work in progress. At first it was more convenience story that a place to eat, now more restaurant than convenience store. Only the reach-in cooler for soft drinks and beer remain with some snack items. The rest of the floor space is covered with tables and chairs. They serve a Cajun/Creole/Soul food type of plate lunch. Most come and take away although some like me stay to eat. Nothing fancy here, you eat out of the Styrofoam clamshell with plastic utensils even at night. They have fountain drinks or you can pull a beverage from a cooler. They also stock Anna’s Pies for those with a sweet tooth.
First foray was a Thursday, which is Baked Pork Chop day. I received a thin breakfast style pork chop, greens, corn, and red beans and sausage over rice. The chop was nicely spiced and for the most part tender and moist. The corn possessed a sweet undertone and the greens smoky with lots of garlic. Unfortunately the red beans were under cooked as far as I was concerned. Good flavor though. Friday is Seafood Day for lunch. I got the Fried Catfish, corn, and potato salad with Shrimp Creole over rice. They also offered Crawfish Etouffee but since it was a red etouffee I declined. The Creole had nice tomato gravy with chunks of tomato, celery, and onion. The medium shrimp in it were tender and not overcooked. It possessed a decent spice level. You got at least a dozen shrimp. The corn again good and the potato salad “mashed potato style’ and delicious with sweet relish and boiled eggs. The huge catfish fillet was crispy outside and moist inside but not wet. A very large lunch meant for a working man.
The owners of this place are Indians and on the weekend they get in the kitchen and whip up some homestyle cooking. One night I got a combo Shrimp/Crawfish curry (tomato and onion sauce with a medium heat level), a cabbage, carrot and potato side infused with turmeric, a spinach and cheese samosa (fried dumpling), papadum (lentil cracker) and naan (bread). The naan was a little rubbery but the rest fantastic. A medium heat with the taste of East Asian spices. On two separate occasions I partook of lamb curry and goat curry. On both occasion my dinning companions expressed fully approval and appreciation of the meal. The side this time was stewed bell pepper and potatoes and potato and pea samosa with a tortilla subbing for Roti (another type of Indian bread). The meat was tender and falling off the bone with not a trace of any gamy taste. Partially because of the spices, cooking method and the youth of the animals. Again a medium spice level and the wonderful flavor of India.
At this point they are just trying out various dishes to see the response not only to the dishes but the concept of serving Indian food. I gather it has been favorable as I heard talk of expanding the menu and days. So if you want a full fledge Indian in town, get over to this venue on Friday and Saturday nights to support and encourage them.

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