Visalia - Crawdaddy's
333 E. Main Street
I know that there is already a topic discussing Crawdaddy's in Visalia, however, the review that I read really turned me away from the restaurant (the slow service, food being cold, etc).
After a lot of thinking, my boyfriend and I decided to go anyways. We've been looking forward to eating at this restaurant for a while, and when wanting to find a place to eat for my birthday, this was the first that came to mind.
Maybe when that other person went to Crawdaddy's, they were still working out all their kinks, because we had great service, our food arrived quickly, and the food was VERY good.
First complaint - no reservations are taken. Which scared me. I didn't feel like waiting 45 - 60 minutes to get in, but luckily, when we showed up, they said it was going to be a 30 minute wait. We went to the bar, and within 5 minutes, our table was ready. So that was cool. Bar service was very quick and friendly as well.
Waitress was extremely nice. Gave us an opinion/description on anything we asked about. I ended up changing my mind about 5 times on what I was ordering. I ended up getting the Alligator Sausage (I know, I know...) because I figured I'd never have a chance again unless I went to Lousiana, and I was feeling brave for once. The Alligator Sausage plate came with two kinds of alligator - the steak, and the sausage, all cooked with tomatoes, green bell pepper, and onion. VERY flavorful and VERY good. I liked the sausage better than the steak, but both were very good, and I'm not even a big meat-eater. Would say that it tasted more like a white meat, like chicken. Only difference is that the steak is a little tougher than chicken. I added Tabasco to mine because I eat it on everything, and I thought it was awesome. The dish came with some interesting rice, that was green because it had ground parsley in it, and tasted a bit lemony. VERY good! My boyfriend ended up getting the Bourbon St. Linguine (that may be the wrong name...I can't remember) which came with shrimp, and an AWESOME buttery/spicy/lemony/garlicly sauce.
For dessert, we tried that 'sirop' spice cake, and because we had read the other review saying that they were stingy with the cream sauce, we asked for extra. Even asking for the extra sauce, there was barely enough, so maybe ask for LOTS of it when ordering. The cake was very good, and the liquer in the cream sauce was very good. Reminded me of a warm winter drink, like a chai latte.
On a scale from 1 - 10, I'd give Crawdaddy's an 8 - 8.5.
Why? The portions were moderate, but for someone who ALWAYS brings leftovers home, I ended up eating the entire dinner AND dessert. I figured for the price, I'd get a bit more food. It was a little on the pricey side for me (where normally, we would spend half of what we did on dinner), but considering the uniqueness of the entrees, I suppose the price was understandable.
I will definetly be back to Crawdaddy's.
Also, The Second Floor officially opens December 1st, 2006. Right now, the bar is open, and they have live music Friday & Saturday starting at 6 PM. What's even better, is that they have TV's on the lower floor so you can laugh at the drunken dancing going on The Second Floor while waiting for your food to arrive :-D
If you thought it was good in 06, it's only gotten better.
My crew loves Crawdaddy's. They have awesome music and are not afraid to turn up the volume. We were in there about two weeks ago drinking and dancing and there was this really amazing guitarist playing. Everyone was having a good time, and this older couple near us got really pissed about the music and the woman was yelling at her server about how the music was too loud. They got their meals comped and stormed out.
In my opinion. Crawdaddy's is one of the only "classy" places to go to eat, drink and dance beside the Cellar Door.
We don't always go there because the food is expensive, but even young people get tired of going into dirty bars like the Double L and the Blitz. Every couple weeks, we dress up and go to Crawdaddy's. If you're not one for really groovy jazz, blues or rock and roll, then try visiting on a Monday around 6pm. But if you wanna let your hair down, eat some spicy food, have a few drinks and hear some good music. Go on a Saturday and plan on staying till midnight. Otherwise you're missing the experience that I've had on the second floor plenty of times.
Truth be told, Crawdaddy's still has very many kinks to work out.
1: Work on more flavorful dishes. I understand that the aim for the first floor is "quick food". But there is a difference between fast/bland food that you can get in any fast-food restaurant or even worse---frozen dinners, which I have to admit i've compared some of their entres to BUT I think if the chefs are willing to add more "pizzaz", they'll definitely have more customers.
2: Work on their ambiance. Throughout the whole building process, I kept hearing that the ambiance is a home-style family restuarant in New Orleans. Take a look at the first floor. Does it feel home like? No, not really. Do you feel like you're in New Orleans? If you remove the cheesy New Orleans music and crawfish decorations, No.
Despite all these flaws listed, the restaurant does have its plus':
1. The 2nd Floor is amazing! If you haven't gone, you MUST visit! It's incredibly beautiful. The carpet definitely reminds me of High-Class N.O., the dishes and wine glasses are beautiful. The table setting is very sleek and classy. The bar is amazingly long! And the plus side: The amazing amount of alcohol that is carried. Also, The 2nd Floor has their own Mixologist, Mrs. Melanie Vanciel. She ferments her own Vodka and infuses them with fruit such as peaches, raspberries, etc...
Let's talk about the food:
The food on the 2nd Floor is absolutely amazing! I've been there MANY times and I highly recommend
1. The Rib Eye- for the hungry, steak person. It comes topped with these cheese, cream like sauce---very unexpected but very delicious. It comes with a Potato Hash Casserole (delish) and a side of vegetables.
2. Cavatappi : For the pasta lover. A spicy spiral pasta with andouille sausage and a tomato-cheese cream sauce.
3. Chicken Pontalba: For the usual chicken dinee: A very large chicken breast with a cream sauce on top of it and you also have a bed of potato, country ham, bacon, apples, compote. (by far my favorite!)
4. The BEST part of Crawdaddy's is that they have special's every week! Just this last week, I went to dinner with my boyfriend and his parents. And basically it was a buffet fest! We all got appetizers, entrees, and deserts.
Some of the specials listed last week was
-A salmon filet with garlic potatos, asparagus and a cream sauce.
-Argula salad with walnuts, cranberries, bleu cheese, in a raspberry vinaigrette
-Seared de Leon Scallops ( these were HUGE and they came in a batch of 6!)
Cajun spiced and a vegetable compote.
-make sure to get the fried green tomatoes with fresh mozzerella and taragon!
-Crawfish napoleon: layers of crawfish, tomatoes, mozzerella, and avocado! Yum-o
-Banana & Chocolate Bread Pudding! Delicious!
-For the coffee lover: A roasted Chicory Creme Brulee
-spice cake? Traditional Lousiana Spice Cake au-sirop
- Pecan pie with minted whipped cream. Again, unexpected but DELICIOUS!
-Peanut Butter & Chocolate Pie
-and there's something else but i can't remember.
I always get the bread pudding!
alcohol lovers! ( who isn't )
A vast array of alcohol that the 2nd bar and the 1st bar share.
a 16-page list of wines
melanie's own concoctions
and did i mention that the restaurant turns into a club at 10 o'clock?
oh yeah, they have bands come in and it's a hoot!
no cover charge too!
the club usually runs from 10-1 or 2 a.m.
it's pretty fun.
with all that said, i must say that the first floor has some work to do but the 2nd floor is an A+! Definitely the answer to a boring night!
The food is delicious, the entertainment is awesome and the service is wonderful.
oh yeah, i forgot to mention that in order to get to the 2nd floor you must climb through this hagarring mount of steps!
if you or a loved one can't walk very far, they do have an elevator in the back of the restaurant. so look for an employee and i'm sure they'll escort you up!
We finally went to Crawdaddy's on Thursday, Nov 30. Figured we would give them time to get over the newness and lose the crowds. I will say that overall the experience was pleasant, the service good, the food acceptable.
We sat on the first floor which seemed like a sports bar. The decor and tables not much to crow about and I didn't like the napkins which are a harsh paper type. Looking around it looks like a fun place to be when the weather is nice as they can open the windows/doors to the sidewalk and make it more like a sidewalk cafe.
My son had the pulled pork pasta which he really liked and said he hadn't had anything like in Visalia and would go back for. My wife had the cobb salad and said the meat wasn't good, but it was very substantial and had a large assortment of items so she felt it was okay, but wouldn't order again. I had the italian salad which was substantial, had a large assortment of meats and was good.
The one disappointment was the boudin balls which the waiter recommended over the fired oysters, which I asked about simply because of the prior reviews. He didn't like the oysters so that was good enough to confirm they aren't good. The boudin balls are a fried risotto ball with some cheese in the middle. For $7 you get four balls. The outside was hot and the inside cheese was cold. Not a lot of flavor and seemed pretty meager for $7. For $4 I wouldn't have felt as negative.
I will probably go back at some point in the future, but my problem is that it didn't seem much like a cajun restaurant to me. The offerings weren't really exciting, there were no raw oysters on the menu, which I would have expected since they are prevalent in any seaport town in the south so that would seem to be a natural item to have. Spent over $70 for three people but felt like I should have spent around $30 for what we had.
I would say give it a try, the more people trying new things, the better chance we have of getting some innovative things happening in Visalia.
Here's an update on what my sister told me. She ended up going the same night we did, but earlier in the evening.
Her husband ordered an appetizer of fried oysters. They were REALLY bad they said. Said they smelled really bad, and were really fishy. My sister's friend was really polite and told the people that they were really bad, and if they could send them back. The people were okay with it, apologized, and didn't charge them for it.
So, that's two people who have said the fried oysters were really bad and fishy.
My sister ordered the Mac N Cheese, which she said was good, but really, when you go OUT to eat, who wants to order Mac N Cheese?
Her husband had the Jambalaya - said it tasted like it came out of a a bag. Said he'll never EVER eat there again.
Not sure what her friend had, but her friend's husband had the Alligator Sausage and loved it (that's the same thing I had, and I really liked it too).
I am glad you had a better experience with Crawdaddy's than I did. I am glad to hear that they seemed to have worked out the kinks in the service issues. My review was not meant to scare everybody away, because I truly wanted to like the restaurant. I just wanted people to know that they were having service issues. Also, it sounds as though they do better with some entrees than with others. Thanks for your report!