Tuesday, February 7, 2012


The Green Shack Diner

1021 East McNeese

Lake Charles LA


Monday to Saturday 10:30 AM to 7:00 PM Cost $1 to $10

Sunday 10:30 AM to 3: PM

On the corner of McNeese and Louisiana, this venue used to be Crawfish Cowboy or vice versa. It did boiled seafood, plate lunches and short orders. However since it changed names it must have changed the cooks. To me the food is now several notches above the former place.

First foray was a plate lunch of Pork Roast, rice & gravy, potato salad, greens, and texas toast. First of all with lots of establishment doing loin roast this venue does it the old fashioned way with a pork shoulder. It is slowly pot roasted until it is fall apart tender with lovely gravy served over decent rice. The potato salad was a sweet pickle mashed potato style which I love. The greens possessed a dose of vinegar which suited my taste. It was a really great meal for a self proclaimed “hole in the wall”.

Next time I got a big bowl of Seafood Gumbo. Dark roux and great seafood flavored broth. Now it did have a bit of sausage but it had been used judiciously. It added spice to the dish without overpowering it. It also contained a number of medium shrimp. The kicker was that the crab meat came in the form of a whole crab. Not one of those gumbo crabs but a monster with huge claws. It contained a fair amount of meat. I was sticky everywhere after going after the meat is this behemoth. However I was happy and sated. I also ordered a crab pistolette. The stuffing was inside the product. Unfortunately it had not been fried long enough to get the center was hot, must have been cooked from frozen.

Last time in was their eight ounce steak burger to which I added bacon, cheese, and grilled onions. I hardly ever use this phrase but “OH MY GOD”. It was perfect in every way except for a smallish bun. The patty exuded this liquor of the gods. The smokiness of the bacon beyond the pale with the slices just the way I like them. Even the american cheese seemed unearthly. The onions were the icing on the cake. I literally inhaled it. It was almost a religious experience for me. Cannot guarantee it for the rest of you but you must try it.

Do go here. They offer boiled seafood, pork chops, smothered okra dishes, fried shrimp and chicken. They even do a Patton’s (New Orleans brand) sausage po boy. The interior is not fancy but the food will transport you out of there. There can be some confusion but they are so friendly that I can

Le Peep Cafe

3800 Ryan St

Lake Charles LA



6:30 AM to 9:00 PM Cost $2.50 to $17

This new construction remained just a slab with a sign for what seemed an eternity. When they started on the structure it went fast. Before you knew it they opened. I got the hours from the website. Last time I went in they were only doing breakfast and lunch. I recommend calling to ensure hours before you venture there. It they have truly opened at night I will report on it in a future column.

First time in I just happen to past by and they were open. One nice thing about this venue is that each table has a liter carafe of ice water and glasses. Their menu is so massive I went with a standard of mine, Bacon Cheese Burger. The choice of sides is rather extensive but I settled on Chicken and Sausage gumbo. It came with a drumstick although recently I saw it with just meat and sausage. It possessed a dark roux and on the whole not too bad. The burger was more than decent with a juicy patty, great bacon and melted shredded cheddar/jack cheese on a standard bun. I enjoyed it

I took my sister to breakfast. They had a name your item breakfast at that time. She went with the three item option and chose ham, scrambled eggs, and fruit. It looked good and she had no complaints. I went with what they call the Hen Pen. It consists of two eggs, choice of protein, and their Peasant Potatoes. I opted for sunny side up and corned beef hash. I love hash. This one was delicious and seemed to be made in house not from a can. The potatoes were like home fries (cubes). My only complaint is that I would have loved more hash.

Next was a plate lunch of Meatball Stew. Not informed the stew had potatoes (southwest LA meatball stews usually do not) I got mashed potatoes, corn, and green beans for sides. A bread basket of small school house rolls and a crumbly corn bread was part of the meal. Unfortunately the meatballs had been overworked and were extremely dense. They were also very salty as was the stew liquid. Mashing the potato hunk into it helped. The sides were ok.

The Stuffed French Toast was next. The menu said French toast stuffed with ricotta and cream cheese with orange and lemon zest. What I got was four slices of French toast with the cheese mixture sandwiched in-between after the slices were cooked. Not what I expected. It taste fine and I let it go. I also got a side of grits and bacon that was more than fine. Next came Migas. According to them scrambled eggs with crunchy tortilla chips, onion, jalapenos, topped with cheddar/jack cheese, avocado and tomatoes. I got that sans the crunchy chips with a flour tortilla on the side. Since I consider the crunchy corn tortilla essential to this dish, I was highly disappointed. How could they forget that? The egg dish was good and again I let it go. Are you perhaps sensing a trend here?

Last dish was Prime Rib Open Face sandwich. They say prime rib dipped in au jus layered open face over a toasted hoagie. The server even asked me how I wanted it. I said med rare. What I got was a slab of meat not thin slices of well done prime rib laid perpendicular on an untoasted hoagie bun with some nasty gravy on the end that was not on the bun, nothing to dip it in. Again it was edible but not what the menu said it would be.

Some might say I should have sent it back. I will in the future if I so encounter it. However when I am in the process of reviewing a restaurant I am not there to show them how to do it right. I am there to see what they are doing. My conclusion on this one is that they need to get the menu and kitchen in sync. Either rewrite the menu or get line cooks who can execute the present menu. That might have happened already as this place has switched their open times and shorten their menu items several times since I started reviewing. The food is generally good and I would consider them as a last minute choice.