On a July 4 weekend trip, we left St. Martinville headed for New Orleans, with two recommendations from our St. Martinville friends for Henderson restaurants, one “cheap” and one “Pat's.” Only wanting simple fare that evening, we drove up to the less expensive place, but arrived just at it was closing for the long weekend. The obvious decision was to go to Pat's.
As it turned out, despite the somewhat higher prices than we were anticipating, and the booming bass from the adjacent dance hall (in Cajun country, food and music go together), we had a very good dining experience. Our waitress, Cheryl Champagne, answered all our questions about menu items, and promptly corrected a problem I had with a glass of bad-tasting wine. (I asked for an Abita Amber beer instead. Oops — she brought out a frosty mug and a just-opened bottle of Dixie. Bless her heart, she patiently traded the good ol' Dixie for the requested Abita.) Anyway, we got all our beverages, and the excellent Dinner Salad, which was a bargain at $1.00 with an entree. It was comprised of greens, cucumbers, small tomato halves, purple onion rings, and baby carrots.
The Dinner Salad at Pat's Fisherman's Wharf.
Henry, my husband, and I both had a yen for crawfish étouffée, and Pat's was the best we've ever had. (Since we have both lived and traveled in Louisiana a lot over the past 35 years, we've had right much étouffée, more of it mediocre than good). Pat's was skillfully seasoned and the rice was nicely cooked, not gummy or mushy; and the crawfish were tender, not rubbery. (I did spice mine up with hot sauce.) The Crawfish Étouffée entree cost $13.95.
Our daughter Sarah opted for a Cup of Crawfish Bisque ($5.95). She judged the dark potage to be excellent. She, however, preferred the abundant crawfish which it contained to the boulettes (sort of like dry crawfish meatballs in crawfish shells) which were also included.
Son Jonathan got the Fried Catfish Filet ($10.95). It came with french fries and hush puppies. The fish was mild and very tender.
Pat's offers numerous main course possibilities — a huge Seafood Platter ($17.95 fried, $18.95 broiled) and many other seafood selections; choices “from the Shrimp Boat” and “from the Swamp,” a Chicken Breast ($9.95) “from the Coop,” and a few steaks. There are mixed drinks; appetizers such as Stuffed Mushrooms ($14.95); soups; sides; sandwiches (a Fried Shrimp Poor Boy for $6.95); and desserts. The menu is extensive.
The dining room was bustling the night we were there — you could hardly see the decor for all the people and activity. We did have cloth napkins — a nice touch. And the place had a happy feeling (mostly lots of locals) — a big family at the table nearest us was celebrating a birthday, and there were lots of smiles throughout the dining room. Red-and-white checkered tablecloths added to the cheery atmosphere.
I would gladly return to the restaurant for the good food and ambience. The restaurant has a long and interesting history (a version of which is printed on their menu) and also long hours. Credit cards are accepted. And Pat Huval, they say, is “still cooking.”
Copyright © 2005–2006 Patricia B. Mitchell.