Natchitoches trip review
Just returned from a two-day visit. Love the city. On Tuesday afternoon we arrived at Papa's Bar & Grill (604/8 Front St., 318-356-5850) to find the kitchen closed for a tornado watch. It opened after 20 minutes and we enjoyed "Cajun toothpicks", thin strips of onions and jalepenos battered and fried, a ribeye steak (just fine) and Bayou Catfish -- fried catfish with spicy crawfish creole sauce. This was great. The deep fried rolls that came with the entrees were addictive; we ordered 4 to go and had them for breakfast. I got a coconut cream pie to go -- I do NOT recommend it.
On Wednesday night we had dinner at Mariners Restaurant (5948 Hwy 1 North Bypass, 318-357-1220). This is on Lake Silbey and would be a great place to see the sunset. I had the "Bourbon Street" -- blackened talipia topped with shrimp, crabmeat and hollandaise sauce. The talipia was fantastic, but the crabmeat was tasteless and the hollandaise wasn't great. My husband had the crabmeat and corn chowder (he couldn't taste the crab in this, either) and the Stuffed Cajun Catfish. He liked it but said that Papa's version was better.
Update: We returned to Natchitoches in February 2009 and tried Merci Beaucoup at 127 Church St. It's only open for lunch on Monday-Saturday and for brunch on Sunday. My husband had the Cajun Potato and said it was good, but the jumbo fried shrimp that came with it was fantastic. Next time I'm ordering the jumbo friend shrimp plate. I had the "Heart Smart" sandwich with lettuce, tomato, cucumber and avocado on rye with honey mustard and fruit garnish. First, they put it on a small plate when a dinner plate would have made it easier to eat. Also, the avocado was badly past its prime. I called this to the waiter's attention so maybe they'll be more careful in the future.
We also ate at Papa's Bar & Grill on Front Street and enjoyed the fried oysters and the Cane River pasta, which was a bowl of pasta (fusilli, I think) with a mound of Creole crawfish sauce on top. The presentation didn't look very appetizing but my husband LOVED it--very spicy.
At Mama's Oyster House (next to Papa's) on our last night we had excellent BBQ shrimp. Be prepared--it's very messy to eat, but yummy.
We've tried the meat pies at Lasyones a couple of times before and weren't impressed. And I don't know why people rave about their Cane River pie; it tasted like they used lots of Crisco in it. For meat pies, I suggest the French Market Express at 5109 University Parkway, just off the interstate. Yes, it's a gas station/convenience store with food. The crawfish pies are great.