Monday, May 31, 2010

Sha Sha's of Creole


Sha Sha’s of Lake Charles
609 Ryan St
Lake Charles, LA

Monday thru Saturday 10:30 AM to 9: 00 PM $21 to $35

They have done a fine job of turning this space into what resembles a fishing camp. With all the decoration and fishing memorabilia on the wall and on a ledge on both sides of the main room, you feel as if you are deep in Cameron. The chairs resemble aluminum outdoor furniture and the main tables have 2 by 6’s for legs.

I am taking a different approach on this revue. I have been more times here than most places. There were several items I did not care for personally but I knew there would be others that would. I would be less than honest if I did not point out the ones I did not like. In the end there were more things I loved than I did not care for.

I tried the Crab Cakes, Crab Rolls and Crab Stuffed Peppers. In the end I had to conclude that I did not like the crab stuffing they use. I know lots of people like it but it was the main problem for me. Others like the mayonnaise used to make the tartar sauce and cole slaw, dill vinegar used in the potato salad, and the copious amounts of Cool Whip on desserts were minor quibbles mainly related to my tastes.

As I went along I found many more things that I like or loved. The oyster and shrimp dishes I ate were wonderful. The Fried Oysters and Shrimp possessed my favorite coatings (corn meal for oysters and flour for shrimp). They came well seasoned and fried crisp with little or no oil residue. The Catfish Bites appetizer with its herbed corn flour coat stood out also. I gobbled them up like popcorn. Also in the fried department were the Onion Rings. Cut medium thin with a light flour batter, they also were fried to perfection. If fact they came within a hair breath of my ideal for this dish.

They have Shrimp and Crab Night on Tuesday and Oyster Night on Thursday. One oyster night I got both raw and char grilled oysters. While the raws were a little on the small side they were plump and briny and they threw in a couple of lagniappe oysters to round out the platter. The cheese on the char grilled is a shredded product rather than the grated I have seen at other places. This helps out a bit. The cheese forms a cap over the oyster. This lets it slowly poach in it’s own liquid rather than dry out. The crispy and rich cheeses make a nice contrast with the briny and soft oyster. If they would bring some bread to soak up the juices it would be nice. My sister went with me one time. She liked her Grilled Shrimp and Avocado Salad so much I was not afforded a taste.

I partook of the Seafood Gumbo the six or seven times I ate here. I love it. While possessing no or little roux the broth packed with such wonderful crab and shrimp flavors makes this dish for me. I would even eat it without the large fresh shrimp that they float on top. As many know I prefer my gumbo thin and full of flavorful broth. If done right no protein is needed, the juice and rice is the heart of gumbo to me.

The desserts were excellent also. The Bread Pudding was a little different than most. It possessed such a fine texture I think they use fresh breadcrumbs to make it. Mine had a nice glaze on top and restrained drizzle of bourbon syrup. The Chocolate Bread Pudding seems to be achieved by mixing cocoa powder in the bread/custard base. It had a nice chocolate taste without being overly sweet. However the queen of desserts here is the Vanilla Banana Pudding served in sundae glasses. A perfect mixture of pudding, vanilla wafers, and sliced banana chilled to a perfect temperature. It went down like ambrosia from Mt Olympus. Best I have had in at least a decade.

Be forewarned unless things have changed recently they offer a limited menu on Friday and Saturday nights and the Children’s Menu is not offered at lunch. You might want to call. While it was a rocky beginning, I think this venue has plenty of great stuff to offer. I have not made it to a Tuesday night but I am looking forwarded to trying some shrimp and whole crab dishes. When I do I will post on the blog.

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