Sometimes, a little web surfing will net you a good meal in a strip mall. Tonight, the search for something different for dinner brought us to a website that allowed you to choose Atlanta restaurants by various parameters. After inputting non-smoking, casual and Duluth, I had 26 restaurants to choose from.
One of them was not a chain (a goal) and offered Cajun cuisine. After looking at their website, we were tweaked by the idea of crawfish etouffee, so off we went to find Boudreaux's Cafe Acadiana.
There was a little hiccup, in that we didn't realize that it was in the Publix shopping center, at the far end, closest to the Burger King. (we'd come from the other side.
While we were trying to find it, I looked for an Urban Spoon listing and found no one had voted for it. Okay, this is a new place, then. Once we found it, we walked into the spacious area and it was clear this place was new-barely open one month. It's ready for business, with only a few tables occupied and a staff at the ready.
We were promptly seated and our server was quick to help us and very friendly. The evening's specials were Grouper Imperial and Grouper Evangeline. We were given the same menus as found on the website:
Chef spied crab on the menu, his favorite, but no dishes listed. Alas, they were out. They were also out of the crawfish, so we had to readjust our plans.
The kids got PoBoys (Shrimp and Chicken), Ed ordered a bowl of the gumbo to share and jambalaya as a main dish. I went with the shrimp etouffee and a side salad.
The salad came with marinated cucumbers and tomatoes, and it was a nice tasty vinaigrette that didn't interfere with the dressing I'd asked for. There was a nice ample bed of mixed greens underneath-a bargain salad for $1.50.
In no time at all, our meals came out. The boys sandwiches were on some delicious crusty bread (I swiped a piece), with the chicken and the shrimp fried to a light crisp. The PoBoys come dressed with mayo, tomato, and lettuce. I swiped some of GameTeen's shrimp to dip in the offered remoulade.
The shared Gumbo had a rich dark color and a flavor that was just the tiniest bit too beefy (but Ed and I are probably sensitive to that because we use beef base in cooking a lot). The $7.00 bowl could easily be a meal for one person. As it was, Chef claimed about half of it for himself and proclaimed it the best soup he's ever had, insisting that we have to take him to Harry's when we're back home.
Meanwhile, Ed ordered the Sausage Jambalaya. Loaded with smoky sausage, the flavor was rich, deep and complex, with the smokiness carrying through the rice.
My shrimp etouffee had a dozen medium shrimp that were fresh and tender. The sauce walked the fine line between heavy and light. It was hearty, not heavy, and left a nice tingle in my mouth when I was done. Etouffee is considered Creole, where you want a nice seasoning blend with the tiniest bit of heat. Cafe Acadiana succeeded on that front.
Other than the seafood being out, the only lament we have is that they don't have their liquor license yet, because an Abita would have been perfect with the meal.
The quality of the meal was such that if we end up in this neck of the woods permanently, both Ed and I would make the trip over to Boudreaux's Cafe Acadiana when the urge to have Cajun strikes. Having a tingle on my tongue and a happy belly are definitely worth a drive.
I'm hoping that Duluth realizes that they've got a nice little gem of a place in a strip mall!