Wednesday, March 31, 2010



3502 Ambassador Caffery Pkwy
Lafayette LA

Tuesday to Friday 4PM to 10PM $2 to $25

Someone in the Lafayette area e-mails me when they discover a venue that they think worthy of my attention. This establishment is one of them. I have to agree. Situated just past Johnston St it occupies a former Italian restaurant. The centerpiece here is the brick oven left by the former owners which the current owners put to good use. They use it to finish baking the house bread. Sprinkling it with parmesan and slathering butter on, you get straight from the oven. It also sees duty roasting oysters.

On the first trip I got some Fire Roasted Oysters from it. They come to the table sizzling with butter, garlic and parmesan. Cooked to perfection they were still juicy complemented by the saltiness of the parmesan. The house bread proved handy to soak up the juices. The Seafood Gumbo proved delicious with a medium roux and a load of protein (four crab fingers, three oysters and four medium shrimp) in just a cup. This go round I went with the Softshell Crab Explosion. They start with a base of eggplant crab dressing. Then a split deep fried crab is set on it forming a valley that they fill with sauteed lump crabmeat. All these elements make for a delightful dish. Sweet and crunchy softshell, buttery and sweet crabmeat and the underlying spicy dressing with great eggplant flavor. Planked potatoes and grilled vegetables accompanied it. I cannot recommend the Chocolate Beignets. Mine proved to a rock solid piece of fried dough with a chocolate center and smothered in chocolate sauce. Talk about a sinker.

A recent second visit I started with rich but light Crab and Corn Bisque. Excellent broth not killed by adding heavy whipping cream just a bit of dairy. I followed that with Phares Oysters. Fried oysters sitting on top of a kind of spinach and artichoke dip served with tortilla chips. The crispy fried oysters played well against the creamy and cheesy flavor of the vegetables. The Fried Eggplant with Cajun Remoulade also proved excellent. They slice the eggplant lengthwise and then into huge sticks. They were not greasy and full of creamy eggplant flavor. The sauce accentuated that. Last but not least and the reason my informant loves this place, raw oysters. These were a bit on the small size but plump and juicy with a nice briny component. I declined the side condiments as I truly like the flavor of oyster and don’t want it hindered. I did not risk the beignet again but went with the bread pudding. It appeared at the table topped with thick pecan streusel and berries in a buttery rum sauce. My first thought was “a repeat of last time”. However after scraping off the entire gunk, the bread pudding proved ethereal, thick, light, and custardy. They got it perfect. Why do people persist on trying to make it more perfect? Beyond my comprehension. Despite my personal dessert problems this is a lovely restaurant with great service and even better food. Don’t hesitate to go there.

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