Thumbs up from Jonathan, along with the rest of the family: Patricia, Sarah, David, and Henry Mitchell at Bayou Boudin and Cracklin Café.
There are not many bad restaurants in southern Louisiana, but when we lived in New Orleans, my husband and I had some close friends who sure knew how to pick 'em! A married couple, originally from out of state (but by then long-time New Orleans residents), liked chic, pretty places to dine. When they suggested an eatery for us all to try out, husband Henry and I dressed well for the occasion, but we could secretly anticipate, especially if the enterprise billed itself as “Creole” or “Cajun,” that we would not dine well.
We also have a friend, a native of south Louisiana, whom we have known for 25 years. He could be (and still can be) counted on to recommend so-so restaurants. None of these people (whom we dearly love) ever mentioned Bayou Boudin and Cracklin Café. That is a good sign.
Located at 100 Mills Avenue (Highway 94 at the bridge over Bayou Teche) in Breaux Bridge, Bayou Boudin is a very unimposing establishment, but the food and atmosphere are superb. Personable hosts Rocky and Lisa Sonnier serve po'boys, salads, and dinners of shrimp, catfish, and crawfish in a rustic Cajun-style setting.
When our family arrived, we were immediately charmed by the uniqueness and humor of the place. You gotta love an eatery in which rubber pig snouts cover some of the doorknobs! We chose to dine on the screened-in side porch, though one can sit outside at picnic tables near the bayou, or inside the restaurant.
Rocky Sonnier is known as the “Cracklin King of Louisiana,” so for an appetizer we were served a plate of his famous cracklings, plus hogshead cheese and boudin. (Cracklings are deep-fried pork rinds; hogshead cheese is a sort of pork paté; and boudin is a sausage of pork parts, lard, rice, seasonings, etc. — as they say, “The ‘etc.’ is what you've got to worry about….” But really, the boudin is delicious!)
For my entree I ordered grilled catfish with grilled potatoes. The catfish was magnificent, and the grilled potatoes a pleasant change of pace from fried or baked. Our children got French fries and hamburgers. The burgers, on bread, rather than buns, rated an “OK” from the kids. Henry declared that his crawfish po'boy was “one of the best sandwiches ever.”
You can order soft drinks, or sample the house specialty, ice cold homemade root beer.
After (or before) dining, you might want to walk around the grounds and see the cute, primitive, lovingly stereotypical Cajun cabins which the Sonniers have made available for overnight guests. The interior decoration will definitely give you a chuckle — genuine newspaper wallpaper, for example. If you do choose to spend the night, you can have the entertainment of watching for bayou 'gators from your cabin porch.
What with alligators and rubber pig snouts, I'm not sure how our aforementioned, fancy restaurant-loving, New Orleans friends would feel about Bayou Boudin. Maybe I just won't tell them.
Copyright © 1994–2006 Patricia B. Mitchell.