Local Restaurants On The National Scene
11/11/2014 09:01AM ● Published by Aimee Cormier
Gallery: Local Restaurants [22 Images] Click any image to expand.
By Lisa Hanchey | Submitted Photos
We’ve always known that Acadiana’s food is the best in the world. But now, other foodies are finally taking notice – in a big way. Back in 2011, Rand McNally put Acadiana’s cuisine on the map when it named Lafayette as the Best Food City in the USA in the Rand McNally/USA Today Best of the Road® Rally. Southern Living then followed by crowning Lafayette as the Tastiest Town in the South for 2012, a true honor in a region renowned for its cuisine.
Also in 2012, The Cooking Channel’s “Roadtrip with G. Garvin” made stops at The French Press and Johnson’s Boucanière. And The New York Times showcased Best Stop’s boudin balls, Prejean’s seafood gumbo and catfish Prejean, Steve n Pat’s Bon Temps Grill’s Apple and Tasso Stuffed Pork Chop and grilled shrimp and Old Tyme Grocery’s oyster po’boys in its 2013 Travel section.
This year the national media was all abuzz about Cajun Country’s stellar cuisine. In September The Cooking Channel’s “Chuck’s Eat the Street” featured Jolie’s Louisiana Bistro and Café Vermilionville. On Sept. 29 Getaways for Grownups online magazine paid homage to Lafayette’s Johnson’s Boucanière, Tsunami Sushi, Olde Tyme Grocery, Randol’s Restaurant & Cajun Dancehall and Jolie’s Louisiana Bistro. In its October issue, as well as online, Saveur magazine gave accolades to Lafayette’s Bread & Circus Provisions and shared gumbo recipes from Prejean’s and Café Vermilionville. That same day YouTube’s Bayou Bounty – Louisiana Culinary Trails Taste-umentary webisode featured Chef Jeremy Conner of Village Café, Lori and Richard Hurst of Little River Inn and Poorboy’s Riverside Inn, Abi Falgout of Bread & Circus, Café des Amis’ Zydeco Brunch and Chef Brian Blanchard of Café Jo Jo’s in Morgan City and iMonelli in Lafayette.
Here is just a sampling of some of the local restaurants hitting the big time.
Jolie’s Louisiana Bistro
Last month, the farm-to-table restaurant helmed by Chef Gregory Doucet was featured on The Cooking Channel’s “Chuck’s Eat the Street” episode called “A Canadian Goes Cajun.” The casually elegant spot serving fresh, local and seasonal ingredients, Gulf seafood and hand-cut steaks was also listed by The Culture Trip as one of Lafayette’s 10 Best Restaurants. This bistro was highlighted in GQ, Cosmopolitan, Saveur, Bon Appetit, Frommer’s Travel Guides, Life With 4 Boys (travel blog) and Rand McNally’s Best of the Road 2013. Named for the 1974 George Rodrigue painting “Jolie Blonde,” Jolie’s also features 35 canvases by the
world-famous artist. Unique menu items include Ceviche (scallops, shrimp, yellowfin, peach salsa), Roasted Bone Marrow served with oxtail jam and Duck Three Ways (seared breast, arugula-leg confit salad, cracklins, strawberry-port sauce). Getaways for Grownups called Jolie’s brunch a “great grand finale” to its first food tour of Lafayette; and its happy hour (Tuesday through Saturday from 5 to 6 p.m.) featuring half-price appetizers, exceptional house wines and locally-brewed beers is the perfect way to top off the day.
507 W. Pinhook Road, Lafayette, 337-504-2382
Steve n Pat’s Bon Temps Grill
Brothers Steven and Patrick O’Bryan’s Bon Temp Grill serves “Swamp Edge” cuisine in an “urban Cajun atmosphere.” One of The New York Times’ “Where to Eat” restaurants, Bon Temps Grill was described by travel writer Bryan Miller as a “small convivial spot” which “raises the bar for weighty Cajun fare,” referencing its “first-rate” Apple and Tasso Stuffed Pork Chop and “terrific” grilled shrimp.
1312 Verot School Road, Lafayette, 337-706-8850
Village Café’s innovative chef Jeremy Conner was the only Lafayette-based chef named as a 2014 “Chef to Watch” by Louisiana Cookin’ magazine and is listed in The Best Chefs America, the ultimate chef’s guide to chefs. This year Conner competed on a team of chefs from St. Louis, Kansas City and New Orleans in the Hogs for the Cause event in New Orleans, placing 4th out of over 100 entries in the whole hog category. Located in River Ranch, Village Café features peak-of-season offerings from local producers with seasonal entrees including sea scallops, cobia and duck mixed grill and customer favorites BBQ Shrimp and Flash-Cured Tuna Rolls (find the recipe in Louisiana Cookin’). Sunday brunch offers traditional items such as Beignets, Smoked Salmon and Grits & Grillades along with specialties like Village Benedict (buttermilk biscuits with poached eggs, boudin and Hollandaise).
#1 Degaulle Square, Lafayette, 337-981-8085
Social Southern Table & Bar
Recently named as one of America’s Best Bourbon Bars by The Bourbon Review, Social is going viral with its seasonally changing farm-to-table cuisine, specialty cocktails and craft beer selection. Cooking with Paula Deen’s January/February 2014 issue featured the “authentic gastropub,” writing “[w]hether you come for the food, the drinks, or the atmosphere, Social is bound to become your new favorite gathering spot.” Southern Coterie blogger Susan Benton paid a visit in 2013 and “devoured the smoke fried chicken with foie gras biscuits and drizzle of ghost pepper infused honey.” Owned by Southern Hospitality Kitchens (the same group behind Charley G’s – a Frommer’s recommendee) and headed by Executive Chef Marc Krampe, Social offers Speakeateries (appetizers) meant for sharing including the Boudin Kolache (boudin and white cheddar-stuffed sweet roll, caramelized apple and onion coulis) and Pork Belly Sliders (served with spicy aioli, pickled mushroom and onion relish on sweet roll) along with unique flatbreads, salads, sammies, supper plates and desserts. Social just launched a Sunday brunch.
3910 Johnston Street, Lafayette, 337-456-3274
The French Press
This downtown-dining destination transitions from a lively breakfast/brunch spot by day into an elegant white tablecloth experience on weekends. Co-owned by James Beard nominated chef Justin Girouard and wife Margaret, The French Press was hailed as one of Saveur magazine’s Top 100 Inspiring Places and Things to Eat (Jan/Feb 2013), featured as one of the Top 10 Lafayette restaurants in The Culture Trip, and recommended in Frommer’s travel guide. Innovative items include Cajun Benedict (toasted French Bread, Hebert’s boudin, poached eggs topped with chicken and Andouille gumbo and scallions), Sweet Baby Breesus (buttermilk biscuit sliders with bacon, fried boudin balls and Steen’s cane syrup), Cajun Dip (cochon du lait, ham, Swiss cheese, McIlhenny’s mayonnaise and house brined pickles served on toasted French bread au jus) and Shrimp and Avocado (poached Gulf shrimp, avocado, cherry tomatoes and baby lettuce tossed with a rich and creamy NOLA remoulade dressing). The lively weekend brunch is extremely popular, so get there early.
214 E. Vermilion, Lafayette, 337-233-9449
Crawfish Town USA
Dominating the airwaves is Crawfish Town USA, featured on the National Exposure List, Animal Planet’s “Eating the Enemy,” Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern” and “No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain,” History Channel’s “Swamp People,” CMT’s “Swamp Pawn,” and The Food Network’s Seafood Paradise. Headed up by Executive Chef Dustie Latiolais, Crawfish Town offers clean boiled crawfish as well as specialties like the Swamp Sampler (fried alligator, frog legs, catfish and king crawfish tails), Smoked Fish Dip with Homemade Chips and La Bam Breme (fried eggplant, grilled catfish, crab cake, fried shrimp and fried oysters stacked over crawfish etouffee). Located inside an authentic barn dating back to the early 1900s, Crawfish Town boasts a newly expanded bar and gift shop. Right next door is its fresh market selling Louisiana seafood, specialty meats, boudin, cracklins, produce and local Cajun products. Tuesdays are “Fat Tuesdays,” where the Classic Seafood Platter is only $11.95.
2815 Grand Point Highway, Henderson, 337-667-6148
Celebrating 34 ½ years of award-winning Cajun and Creole cooking, Prejean’s was voted Best Ethnic Restaurant in the South in AAA Traveler. In a September 2013 article, New York Times travel writer and former restaurant critic Bryan Miller recommended Prejean’s “excellent gumbo,” fried and grilled alligator and catfish Prejean. The restaurant offers live Cajun music nightly.
3480 NE Evangeline Thruway, Lafayette, 337-896-3247
Since 1937 the Eunice-based Johnson family has been making smoked sausages and boudin in their boucanière (smoke house). Now located in downtown Lafayette, Johnson’s Boucanière is renowned for its Parrian Special (boudin stuffed grilled cheese with house BBQ sauce), smoked meats and sauces and, of course, boudin. Hope S. Philbrick, founder and editor-in-chief of the online magazine Getaways For Grownups, dubbed Johnson’s version as the “best boudin I’ve ever had (so far).”
1111 St. John St., Lafayette, 337-269-8878
During the past year the casually elegant restaurant set in a historic 19th century inn was named by The Culture Trip (international blog) as one of Lafayette’s 10 Best Restaurants for Local Eats and Fine Dining. It was featured in Southern Living, Saveur and on The Cooking Channel. Owned by Ken and Andrea Veron, Café V serves Cajun-Creole cuisine with an upscale flair. Specialties include the Foie Gras PB &J (seared foie gras, local pepper jelly and cashew butter on brioche), Smoked Turkey & Andouille Gumbo (featured in Saveur) and Steak Louis XIII (filet mignon stuffed with Louisiana crawfish tails, bacon and cheeses finished with a mild mushroom demi-glace and crawfish mornay sauce). On Wednesday evenings in the spring and fall, Café V offers the Courtyard Concert series offering local music and al fresco dining with a special menu.
1304 West Pinhook Rd., Lafayette, 337-237-0100
Suire’s Cajun Restaurant & Grocery
Where the motto is “If you want country cooking, come to the country,” Suire’s Cajun Restaurant & Grocery is a must-stop for celebrity chef John Besh and has been featured in the New York Times, Houston Chronicle, Frommer’s, Great Lakes Boating in Chicago and Country America in Nashville, Tenn. The New York Times described its “fabulous” turtle sauce picante as “bathed in a glistening, peppery, reddish-brown gravy, the turtle tastes like chicken dark meat but better, with the smoky, untamed tang of the bayou” and its deep-fried catfish as “crisp as tissue paper.” The casual eatery features authentic Cajun specialties such as shrimp and egg stew, fried alligator, and shrimp and crab gumbo and offers homemade desserts.
13923 La. Highway 35 S, Kaplan, 337-643-8911
Bread & Circus Provisions
Helmed by chef and co-owner Manny Augello, this restaurant, market and meat shop offers “seriously playful food.” Saveur raved about the cold fried chicken salad – a “fantastic mix of cayenne, honey, and buttermilk slaw, bacon, and tomatoes” – and “fell in love” with the boudin. Locals swoon over the five-day crackling, hogs head cheese, fried chicken skin, smoked beef tongue and French onion grilled cheese sandwich. Open for lunch Tuesday-Friday and dinner Thursday-Saturday and at the Lafayette Farmer’s Market at the Horse Farm on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon.
259 Bendel Road, Ste. 104, Lafayette, 337-408-3930