Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Catfish Parlour

My husband and I are in Austin for a few days, and a friend told us that one of his favorite restaurants is Catfish Parlour.  I love catfish, so I just had to try it, especially so I could compare it to the delicious catfish at Floyd’s in Beaumont, TX.

It was around 8pm on Tuesday evening, and we arrived at the Catfish Parlour on Research Blvd in North Austin.  It wasn’t very crowded, and we were seated right away.  Before we even had a chance to look at the menu, we were given hush puppies with jalapeno tarter sauce and regular tarter sauce for dipping.  I had never seen hush puppies that were like sticks before.  My husband found them to be addictive.  I thought they were okay, but I like the traditional round hush puppies better because I like the mushy filling better than the crispy outside.

We looked over the menu and decided to share the Parlour Platter, which is described on the menu as “a triple combination of grilled, blackened, or lemon peppered catfish fillet, two southern fried catfish fillets, two jumbo fried shrimp, all on a bed of rice with steamed veggies.”  We asked to have the grilled catfish blackened.  The meal also came with unlimited parlour “fixins,” which include hush puppies, tangy coleslaw, crispy fries, savory pinto beans, Caesar salad bar, green beans.  Since we were sharing, we paid $3.99 extra for an extra order of unlimited fixins. 

The Caesar salad bar was really basic, just the typical fixins for Caesar salad along with multiple salad dressing options.  I had a salad with light Italian dressing, and my husband made a salad with ranch.  Our food came out shortly thereafter.

It was a lot of food!  My favorite of the seafood was the jumbo fried shrimp.  It was so juicy and delicious.  My second favorite of the seafood was the blackened catfish, which was a huge fillet!  However, I like the catfish at Floyd’s better.  This tasted a little dry.  I didn’t really care for the fried catfish.  If I went to Catfish Parlour again, I’d probably just order the jumbo shrimp.

As far as the sides, I loved the rice.  It had an amazing flavor.  I was asking my husband, “what’s that flavor?”  He said, “I think it’s butter.”  I think he was right.  I don’t eat butter often enough to recognize it’s delicious taste.  That’s probably a good thing.  I usually don’t like rice, but I couldn’t get enough of this rice.

As far as the other sides, I really liked the fries.  They weren’t the best fries ever, but they were crispy and really good, especially with a little ketchup.  The green beans were okay, but they mainly just tasted like pork since they were cooked with bacon.  I would’ve preferred just salted and buttered green beans.  I don’t like coleslaw, so I didn’t try it, but my husband usually likes coleslaw and didn’t like it either.  The beans weren’t anything special, but my husband liked them mixed with the rice. 

We were stuffed after our meal, but we asked about dessert anyway.  There was a very short list of desserts, but when our waitress mentioned Peach Cobbler, my husband’s ears perked up.  We ordered one Peach Cobbler a la mode.  The waitress were sure to mention that the ice-cream was Bluebell Ice-Cream, a local Texas specialty.  They warmed up a piece of peach cobbler for us, and it was perfectly warm but not too hot.  The serving was huge, plenty big enough for two people after a big meal, and the scoop of ice-cream on top was huge as well.  I guess everything is bigger in Texas!  The flavor was great too.  The crust almost tasted like a buttery sugar cookie.  I could totally go back to Catfish Parlour just for dessert!

Our waitress, Cherie, was a wonderful part of the Catfish Parlour experience.  She was very friendly and super helpful about recommendations.  She stopped by our table often enough to refill our sides but not too often.  Really, she couldn’t have done a better job.

In short, if you’re in Austin and you want some good catfish, you might want to check out Catfish Parlour.  Personally, I like the catfish better at Floyd’s in Beaumont, TX, but that’s hours from Austin.  The jumbo shrimp, the rice, and the peach cobbler were all definite favorites of mine.  I loved the New Orleans atmosphere and the great service.  Come hungry because the portions are huge, even when you share.

Happy eating!

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