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Archive for the ‘Seafood’ Category

New Orleans Seafood and Hamburger Co Review – Multiple Locations New Orleans, LA


New Orleans Seafood and Hamburger Co ReviewI’ve been coming to this place for almost 20 years. It used to be for the hamburgers, and it was the hamburger because the location I used to frequent had a very large “fixin’s bar,” which was quite nice.

That feature seems to have vanished.  Now I come for the thin sliced fried catfish, cause I think this is the only place in the city you can get it, unless you’re in the mood for a Sunday drive and want to go about 40 miles north to Middendorfs, an old timey place which is really great as well.

What they mean by “thin-sliced” is the filet is sliced length-wise, resulting in a paper thin piece of fish.  It’s then flash fried in their unique breading, resulting in an extra crispy filet.

New Orleans Seafood and Hamburger’s menu has all the usual suspects of local dishes. Fried and grilled seafood, oysters, gumbo, and throw in the burgers for good measure.

They have great fries, extruded potato fry shape drenched in garlic butter and sprinkled with herbs. They’re kind of addictive.

This time around, I had the thin filet cat poboy, it was good, good bread, fully dressed, too large to eat at a sitting.  (If you’re a first time visitor to the city, servers will ask if you want your sandwiches “dressed” which means lettuce, tomato and mayo. Most people say yes.

This location (uptown, on the St Charles streetcar line) has a couple large rooms, so it’d be ok to bring your family thing or a tour bus here, I imagine. Full bar and a number of draft beers, and the sign said video slots, but I didn’t see them.

I think I’ll revisit the burger next time.  Good grub. Good value. Sparkling clean facility. Efficent service.

A bunch of locations in the New Orleans metropolitan area.

Full menu. (also below).   Kid choices, too.


New Orleans Seafood and Hamburger Co Review

Fried Catfish Poboy


New Orleans Seafood and Hamburger Co Review

Click to Enlarge

New Orleans Hamburger & Seafood Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
New Orleans Seafood and Hamburger Co Review

New Orleans Seafood and Hamburger Co Review



Crab Shack Review – Tybee Island, Savannah, GA


Crab Shack ReviewTybee Island is the easternmost point of the U.S. state of Georgia, and is one of the barrier islands off the east coast of the U.S.

The Crab Shack therefore is the easternmost restaurant in the state of Georgia, 18 miles from downtown Savannah, and worth the drive.

Built from the ground up by an enterprising returnee couple, from the remnants of a local marina and bait shop, the restaurant, bar, and gift shop features a menu that offers  fresh seafood, local and otherwise, as well as Georgia style barbecue.

This unique attraction is the perfect place to sit in the sun (or not) and have a great meal, mosey your way through an afternoon of tropical cocktails, or  ……. wait for it. ………….. show the kids the pond with SEVENTY EIGHT (yes, 78, count them!) live baby alligators!  No,  I’m not kidding!

I went for the “low country boil” – something you’ll see on a lot of area menus, which is concocted via  a massive pot of boiling seasoned water, into which is dumped sausage, corn cobbettes, smoked sausage and shrimp. A lot of peel and eat shrimp.  It’s a very generous serving, dumped out onto your plate and serve with condiments of your choice.

(BTW, if your kids get antsy waiting for the food – there’s a giant bin of saltines at each table, but the food comes quickly).

I dug the boil plate big time. Pretty much like a New Orleans crawfish boil, except substituting shrimp, of course.

Also on tap, local favorite Brunswick stew, a flavorful tomato based thick broth with pulled chicken, sausage, pork and vegetables. Simply marvelous.  Brunswick, Georgia, claims to have originated the dish in 1898. Earlier versions were made with rabbit and/or squirrel.  No such luck these days!  here’s a traditional recipe if you want to try it at home.

If you’re visiting Savannah, don’t confine yourself to the tourist areas downtown and along the river. Get out of town, feed the gators, then feed yourself at the Crab Shack.  Highly recommended.

Can’t get there?   They’ll ship you their seafood, stew, ‘cue and condiments.  No kidding!  Brochure below, or order here.  Ask your server about the local atomic bomb!

Crab Shack Review

Low Country Boil


Crab Shack Review

Baby gators! They’re alive!

Crab Shack Review

Have Crab Shack Food Shipped

The Crab Shack Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Crab Shack Review

Crab Shack Review


Fiorellas Cafe Review – New Orleans, LA


Fiorellas Cafe ReviewOnce upon a time there was a good and decent family that owned and operated a local favorite restaurant near the French Market for many, many years, until finally the time came for them to take it easy and they sold the establishment.

But like many people who create something with passion for a living, after a period, they missed it and made a family decision to start all over again, and opened Fiorella’s Cafe in the Gentilly neighborhood of the city.

As the old establishment was known for its exemplary take on fried chicken, so is the new eatery, winning the New Orleans Fried Chicken Festival two years in a row.

The simple neighborhood cafe serves all of Southern Louisiana’s favorites:  fried seafood, po boys, Italian specialties, along with daily specials.

All dishes are very fairly priced for the neighborhood, not to extract as many tourist dollars as possible.

The food is exemplary. This is possibly the best fried shrimp I’ve ever had anywhere, crispy fry batter, flavorful Gulf shrimp. The muffaletta is a good one, too many “legendary” places make them in advance, and refrigerate them, and they lose their luster, IMHO.  This sandwich moves into being one of my top two in the city.

The chicken lives up to its rep. Nice crust, perfectly fried, juicy on the inside, not greasy.  Fresh cut fries, done and seasoned perfectly.

Really, I finished this meal and I wanted to tell Chef that his/her food was art.  It exemplifies one of the passions of New Orleans, simple fare, prepared well, with love as one of the ingredients.  It’s easy to identify places like this – all the employees are smiling all the time.

I wish the family all the success in the world.  They deserve it.

Menu is here and below.

Fiorellas Cafe Review

Half muffaletta. Perfect.

Fiorellas Cafe Review

Fried shrimp basket with fresh cut fries

Fiorellas Cafe Review

Click to Enlarge

Fiorellas Cafe Review
Fiorella's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Fiorellas Cafe Review

Fiorellas Cafe Review



Roadside Seafood Review – Charleston, SC


Roadside Seafood Review Once upon a time, before the magic ribbon of concrete (interstates) criss-crossed America, the main highways were chock-a-block full of small businesses drivers would stop at for rest, relaxation, and refueling. In this part of the world, often the eateries were referred to as “clam shacks,” selling fresh, local seafood, prepared in a number of regional cooking methods.

Those days are gone, but one can occasionally stumble on a restaurant that is trying to recreate that ambiance, cuisine, and “Roadside Seafood” in Charleston is one such place.  They started as a food truck less than five years ago, and immediate, overwhelming success enabled them to quickly go into a brick and mortar location.

Like their predecessors, they sell fresh, local (and some not) seafood (menu), prepared as sandwiches, tacos, or baskets, your choice (for most items) fried or grilled. It’s always busy, you order at the counter, and they’ll bring your grub when it’s ready – it doesn’t take long.

I was specifically in the hunt for grouper, very common in Florida, not so common elsewhere, but alas, they were out the day I was in.  I substituted flounder (fried), and was not disappointed.  Flounders live on the bottom of the ocean, occasionally venturing into estuaries, living off small fish and crustaceans.  They grow to 25″ so they pack a good side filet.

Also tapped into the catfish, and an order of rings.  In every case, the fry coating had a very pleasant bit of seasoning to it (Old Bay?) and each dish was fried to perfection.

This place is a bit of a drive from the tourist enclave in downtown Charleston, but the quality of the food and the value for the price are well worth the trip. Oh, and ‘baskets’ come in large and small.  I couldn’t finish the smaller basket at a sitting, just sayin’.  (Yes, their truck still travels the road, and also does private events, schedules posted on their site).

Roadside Seafood Review

Flounder and rings


Roadside Seafood Review

Catfish and fries


Roadside Seafood Restaurant & Food Truck Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Roadside Seafood Review
Roadside Seafood Review



Chesters Chicken Review


Chesters Chicken ReviewChesters Chicken was originally  a licensed chicken concept that started in 1952 and has now evolved into a full franchise model offering. Located across the US and on two other continents, Chesters offers a “store in store” concept.

That is, you will find Chester’s Chicken counters in gas stations, c stores, food courts, and the like.

I see a lot of them in gas stations on the interstates.  They are usually well represented in the typical blue information signs on the highway, so you can be aware that there is one ahead.

I’ve never seen a free standing store, not sure if they do that.

They offered fried chicken in different styles: bone in, tenders, wings, boneless wings, sandwiches, wraps, with a whole host of sides including potatoes, vegetables and biscuits.

It seems the menu can vary slightly, so it would appear that headquarters doesn’t have a problem with that. I see some locations offering breakfast sandwiches, some locations have fried fish, usually catfish nuggets, but I have seen swai as well (which is a type of very mild Asian catfish). (Partial menu appears below).

The food is presented in well lit, clean counters, and as an ala carte, single piece, meal or snack size.  It’s all delicious, really, it’s a crispy mildly seasoned breading and I’ve never had a piece of chicken (or fish) that wasn’t cooked perfectly.

They haven’t penetrated the Upper Midwest, where I live, very well.  Hopefully that will change.

I drove around the south a few years ago and tried all manner of tenders from different joints. You can read about that here. Another similar concept is Dodge’s Chicken (not size comparable tho), and Krispy Krunchy, headquartered out of Louisiana is another comer.  Some cities have their own localized versions, catering to more regional tastes.  In New Orleans, look for “Brothers.”

Want your very own Chester’s? (I sure would). They have a real interesting, low fee/no royalty model.  Read about franchising on their website.

Chesters Chicken Review

Tenders and bone-in

Chesters Chicken Review

Choose your goodies

Chesters Chicken Review

Click to enlarge menu


Arkansas Menu Labeling for Catfish


Appropo to my article the other day about mislabeled fish in restaurants, the state of Arkansas wants to do something about it.

There’s a move to be able to label specific origins of catfish on restaurant menus statewide, drilling down as far as “farmed,” “wild” “wild-river” “wild lake” and so on.

Not sure how many diners care about this, but it’s a step towards cleaning up the much bigger problem of you not getting what you think you ordered, which is a huge problem in the seafood biz.

Arkansas Times article

Menu labeling catfish



Arkansas Catfish identification

Arkansas Catfish identification


All About Swai


All About Swai

All About SwaiI like fish. It’s a genetic thing.

My dad was crazy about fish and seafood. So much so, that when he came to visit me in Hong Kong, we pretty much had fish/seafood three meals a day because of the preponderance of fresh product there.  When I was growing up, we routinely had fish at least once a wek, but it was some frozen preparation, tho my dad might cook fresh fish for himself on occasion.

There are so many more types of fish available in the market today than there were in my salad days. OK, I never had “salad days.” But I’ve come to discover that fish isn’t always precisely what it’s labeled in the grocery counter.

How did this happen?  Back in the 1960s, when cotton and other cash crops began losing their footing in the deep south, farmers were looking for an alternate source of income and aquafarming began to take root, particularly for catfish, which was gaining popularity on US dinner tables. Raising All About Swaicatfish domestically provided for an easy to raise, cheap cash crop.

Not wanting to miss out on this growing market, other countries, and particularly Vietnam also started raising catfish and exporting it to the U.S.

American catfish farmers didn’t cotton to this (see what I did there?) because the Vietnamese were undercutting American wholesalers prices in an attempt to get a foothold in the market.  Seeing this and feeling the wrath of his constituents, Uncle Sam raised a bony finger, pointed at the Vietnamese and said “knock it off. Go open nail salons or something.”

Eventually they got the message and imports of Vietnamese catfish dwindled. Or did they? Turns out those crafty folks merely changed the name of the Asian cats. To Swai. And/or Basa.  The Asian cats are milder than the US farm raised, and lend themselves to easily being manipulated with different flavorings and cooking methods.

The Swai comes from the Mekong River, which starts in the Tibetan plains and meanders 2,703 miles  through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. It’s one of the world’s most diverse and productive fisheries, producing 4,500,000 tons of fish/seafood per year!

So now you know.  Anyway, I was thinking about this over the weekend as I was screwing around with different types of breading for frying fish. Got out the mini-Cuisineart and pulverized pretzels, cheetos, cheese popcorn, saltines, matzo and the like.

All About SwaiIn any case, I was disappointed in my experiments, except I thought the pretzel one had potential, tho most people would find it too salty. I suppose I could find unsalted pretzels somewhere.

In the end, I used my old standby,  2/3 cornmeal, 1/3 flour, and am doses of Tony Chachere’s Cajun seasoning and paprika. For me, that combination works just fine.

Swai and Basa come in multi-pound packages of individually wrapped frozen boneless filets. Generally about $3 a pound. What other healthy protein can you buy at that price?

Oh, before I go, one more thing. There’s no such animal as “Chilean Sea Bass.”  It’s a marketing term designed to sound nice on menus.  Cooked up by a fish wholesaler in 1977. The actual  fish itself? It’s a Patagonian Toothfish.  Doesn’t that sound yummy?

All About Swai

Seasoned cornmeal coated fillets, 375 oil, 3 minutes per side


Crystal Lake Rib House Review – Crystal Lake, IL


Crystal Lake Rib House ReviewYeah, I’m just not a rib guy.  Never have been.  I’ll cook them for others, I’ll go to restaurants that serve them, they just aren’t for me. When it comes to BBQ, give me pulled pork (I make an excellent one), BBQ sausage, smoked turkey, chopped ham ‘cue, maybe some beef.

Besides, I’ve been to the two BBQ capitals of the western world, Lockhart, TX, and the North Carolina BBQ trail. Who can compete with those destinations?

A friend wanted some BBQ chicken, so after considerable research, off we motored to Crystal Lake Rib House, in Crystal Lake, IL, a distant suburb of Chicago, that toddling town.

These guys have apparently won bucketloads of awards, and in addition to the restaurant will cater your event or roast a whole pig for you. (I’d love that).

We started with the “Sweet Vidalia Onion Rings,” which were good sized and had a light breading primarily of cornmeal. You could have a choice of one or two dipping sauces with those. Enjoyable.

My friend ordered the BBQ 1/2 chicken, which was four generous pieces, taters, slaw and a roll, and I was up for catfish (I have been a lot lately), and they presented me with two monster filets, fries, slaw, and a roll. Tartar sauce, lemons, and honey butter on the side.

The cat had a crispy cornmeal based breading, not too heavy, fried to perfection, and the chicken was juicy and amped up with the flavorful sauce. Like most people mentioned about this, the side of “red potatoes in butter” will make anybody happy, and the fries are of the “steak fries” size and texture. Again, excellent.

I generally don’t read other people’s reviews before I go to a place, I know, odd, huh, but do after, and for some reason, this place is currently getting a bad rap. There is a trend for people to launch into trashing a restaurant based on hearsay from a friend or relative, and that can throw a joint’s stars/points/numbers way off. It’s not fair.

We had good food today, as good as I’ve had anywhere, at a fair price, with prompt courteous service.  I can’t ask for more.

Crystal Lake Rib House Review

Perfect Crispy Rings


Crystal Lake Rib House Review

BBQ 1/2 Chicken


Crystal Lake Rib House Review

Catfish fillets


Crystal Lake Rib House Review

Menu, Click to Enlarge, Prices Subject to Change

Crystal Lake Rib House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Crystal Lake Rib House Review

Crystal Lake Rib House Review


Finding Nemo – Fast Food / Chain Lent Menus


 Fast Food / Chain Lent MenusWe’re two weeks away from Mardi Gras, which also means we are two weeks away from the start of Lent, the 40 day period leading up to the Christian celebration of Easter.

A type of fasting is a customary observance for many Christians during this period, with a particular rite being the substitution of fish, for meat, on certain days or throughout the period.

American fast food businesses like to offer alternatives to the segment of the population giving up meat during this period, and generally offer fish/seafood alternatives, specials, for the period surrounding Lent.

Last year, the following companies added specials to their menus, as described, this year’s offerings may be similar or new items added. (Prices are not verified for accuracy).In the case of chains/franchises, subject to participating restaurants of course.

Abuelo’s – Special menu items like Pescado Guerro, Yucatan Shrimp Fajitas, Tilapia Vera Cruz, Enchiladas De Cazumel, Salmon Santa Cruz, and Shrimp Fajita Salad.

Arby’s – Fish sandwich, spicy fish sandwich.  Had the spicy fish (“Nashville Hot”) recently, quite enjoyed it.

Bakers Square – AYCE Fish Fry – specific days/times

Bertucci’s – Twirl your fork in a a bowl of pan-sautéed mussels with aglio-olia spaghetti for $15.99 (). The dish includes P.E.I. mussels sautéed with chopped garlic, onions, cherry peppers, chunky tomatoes, and Italian parsley over aglio-olia spaghetti tossed with olive oil and garlic.

Black Angus Steakhouse – Lunch on beer-battered fish and chips for $9.50 () with purchase of a beverage.

Bojangles – You can enjoy a wild-caught Alaskan pollock sandwich (), which includes fry seasoning, cheddar cheese, and tartar sauce on a toasted, buttered bun.

Bonefish Grill – Share a dinner for two for $55 (). The dinner includes two seasonal fish entrees from the Dine & Discover for Two menu, Bang Bang shrimp, and a dessert.

Boston Market – On Ash Wednesday and Fridays during Lent, enjoy the baked cod (), which includes wild-caught pacific cod with two sides and freshly baked cornbread.

Bravo Cucina Italiana – Dig into Lenten lunch specials for $14.99 and dinner specials for $16.99 (), such as the grilled jumbo shrimp, romano crusted tilapia, lobster bisque, and salad.

Brio Tuscan Grille – Choose one of the Lenten specials (), which include meat-free appetizers and entrees like Peroni beer-battered fish and chips, as well as ravioli with lobster and shrimp.

Buffalo Wings & Rings – Browse the Lenten menu (), which features meatless items and seafood dishes like the blackened Chilean salmon sandwich and the fish and chips with Haddock filet flash-fried in Sam Adams batter.

Burger King – Munch on a Big Fish sandwich (), which includes 100% white Alaskan pollock, breaded with crispy panko breading and topped with sweet tartar sauce, tangy pickles, all on top of a toasted brioche-style bun.

Captain D’s – Over Lent, get full meal deals for $4.99 (). Choose from favorites like butterfly shrimp, southern-style fish tenders, and fish with home-style shrimp.

Carl’s Jr. – Grab a Redhook beer-battered fish sandwich ().

Carrabba’s – Choose from a variety of Lenten seafood specials (), such as salmon cetriolini, shrimp and sea scallop spiedino, and cioppini.

Charlie Brown’s – salmon, crab cakes, shrimp, and fish and chips.

Cheddar’s Casual Cafe –  sweet and spicy crispy shrimp ), which features crispy beer-battered fried shrimp tossed in a handcrafted Sriracha and chile garlic sauce.

Cheeseburger in Paradise –  all-you-can-eat fish Fridays

Chili’s – Lunch on Lent specials  like the Margherita flatbread salad, Cajun shrimp pasta, mango chile tilapia, and ancho salmon.

Church’s Chicken – YLenten specials , such as the hand-breaded fish or eight-piece lemon-seasoned butterfly shrimp, both served with Hush Puppy Biscuit Bites.

Corner Bakery Cafe –  Lent breakfast, lunch, and dinner specials (), such as the California Grille panini, mac and three-cheese pasta, tomato mozzarella sandwich, and tuna salad sandwich.

Daphne’s California Greek – Greek Baja crispy shrimp pita. The sandwich includes warm pita bread with avocado spread, tomato slices, red cabbage, and crispy shrimp topped with creamy chipotle sauce.

Del Taco – Lenten specials: Buy one, get one free jumbo shrimp burrito * Two fish tacos with wild Alaskan pollock

Eat’n Park – fish fry for $19.99 (). The fish fry includes two Whale of a Cod fish sandwiches, fresh chips for two with ranch dressing, and a pint of soup or coleslaw.

Firehouse Subs – Free chips and soda with purchase of certain sandwiches

Friendly’s – Endless shrimp

Fuddruckers – AYCE Fish fridays; menu item fish and chips

Genghis Grill – Seafood combinationsincluding shrimp, calamari, Khan’s Krab, garlic-lime marinated white fish, and more.

Golden Corral – Fish Fry Fridays featuring an endless buffet of fried fish, baked fish, popcorn shrimp, and all the fixings.

Hardees –  Redhook beer-battered fish sandwich

Jack in the Box – Alaskan Pollock fish sandwich with a 100% Alaskan Pollock fish filet, tangy tartar sauce, and shredded lettuce on a bun.

Joe’s Crab Shack – Half off 2nd lunch on certain days.

Krystal – Shrimp po boy or double dozen combo.

Logan’s Roadhouse – Sasonal seafood items (), such as the Moonshine popcorn shrimp.

Long John Silver’s – Catch these Lenten special deals:
* A free six-piece order of shrimp () with any regular family meal purchase.
Combo specials, meals and platters

Macaroni Grill – Try Lent specials under 600 calories (), such as the folded ravioli pomadoro or the sweet and savory salmon and kale salad.

Marie Callenders – Check out the new fish and shrimp dishes

McDonald’s – Try the classic  Filet -O-Fish ().

Mimi’s Cafe – Lenten skewers such as Atlantic salmon, shrimp, or sea scallops paired with roasted ratatouille vegetables, a Provence medley of eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, onions, and tomatoes in a red pepper sauce.

Shakey’s – Garlic shrimp pizza, special price

Sizzler – Special fish entrees

Smashburger – Black bean burger

Souper Salad – Check local restaurant, offers will vary.

Steak ‘n Shake – Fish sandwich or fish plate special

Taco Bueno – Shrimp and drink special

Taco Cabana – Shrimp quesadillas.

TacoTime – Fish burrito discounts.

Texas Corral – Over Lent, you can catch these three deals:
* Everyday Lenten seafood specials (), such as the shrimp fajitas $12.99, fried lake perch and jumbo shrimp for $16.99, or the crab penne alfredo for $12.99.
* Catch of the Day Fridays . Every Friday, you can get a different item from the Spring Seafood menu at a special priceAn all-you-can-eat shrimp dinner for $16.99 which includes a soup or salad and a choice of side.

Togo’s – Lemon pepper tuna sub, hot or cold

Wendy’s – wild-caught North Pacific cod, hand-cut and lightly coated in a crispy, panko breading, and then topped with a creamy dill tartar sauce and crunchy dill pickles.

White Castle – Fish and shrimp nibblers.  Had these last couple years. Wrote about them.








Fast Food / Chain Lent Menus

Fast Food / Chain Lent Menus


Harolds Chicken Shack Review – Chicago


Harold’s Chicken Shack is a Chicago legend. Iconic to all who live on the South Side of the city, after 5 decades, Harold’s has spread to the burbs and even a couple of out of state locations.  On the menu? (Below) Fried chicken, wings, shrimp, catfish and assorted sides.

I went with a combo plate, catfish and perch, which came with fries, slaw, and white bread. All of it was excellent, and prepared to order, so it was fresh and hot. I noticed the fish and chicken have a different batter, with the former being more corn-mealy which was fine with me.  The fish batter was crispy yet light, and the fries were done perfectly.

You can order by the plate, quantity or individual piece.

Seems like there are abour 40 Harold’s locations, according to some online information. They deserve all the success they can achieve. Great product, great value.

The Schaumburg location has limited seating. Counter and a few four tops.

Wanna check out the competitor? Frank’s Chicago Shrimp is the main one.  The main thing I like about Franks is you can order by the quarter pound, and really mix things up!


Harolds Chicken Shack Review

Fish combo plate

Harolds Chicago Shack Review

Full menu

Harold's Chicken Shack Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Harolds Chicken Shack Review – Chicago

Harolds Chicken Shack Review – Chicago


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