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Mar/Apr 2011 Issue

Buffet Buster
Rural Louisiana restaurant offers a bounty of seafood.
By Don Redman

From boiled shrimp to fried soft shell crabs to alligator sausage to broiled frog legs, the House of Seafood Buffet in Bush, La., is an experience unto itself.

This is the definitive of casual dining, with bench tables, vinyl tablecloths and friendly neighbors. Nestled along state Highway 21 just 16 miles northeast of Covington, the restaurant is a family affair, managed by Greg Bourne, who took over the reins from his father Reggie Bourne. Reggie Bourne opened the restaurant in 1985.

True to its name, the restaurant specializes in seafood cooked in a variety of ways: fried, boiled, broiled or incorporated into pasta dishes like shrimp fettuccine and shrimp scampi. House of Seafood is also known for frog legs, rabbit, escargot and alligator. When the market allows, they’ve offered deer (farm-raised), buffalo, shark and turtle.

The buffet is seemingly limitless with options.

“We do change it up from time to time when trying new ideas,” says Greg Bourne. “Some items have remained unchanged over the years, but I’m always working on new dishes just to see how people like them.”

It was impossible to sample all their offerings, but what I did try was very good. My favorite item was the gumbo. It’s okra-based and is some of the best gumbo I’ve eaten in a very long time.

I thought they did an exceptional job with the snow crab legs, but some in my party found this dish to be too salty. The boiled crabs were excellent, as were the jumbo shrimp. Herb-encrusted broiled shrimp was delicious. The broiled frog legs were simply delectable; much better than the fried version.

Other highlights included barbecued pork ribs, crabmeat au gratin, stuffed jalapeno peppers and the fried soft shell crabs. The fried alligator was mediocre (but alligator is a so-so meat to begin with), and I was a bit disappointed with the broiled red snapper, which I found to be dry.

It is overall a whale of a deal, with so much quality food being offered at such a reasonable price of $18.95 for the buffet (progressive charges for children 3-13 years of age).

The restaurant is open Thursday and Friday from 4–10 p.m. and Saturday from 3–10 p.m. Saturday is by far the busiest day. During crawfish season (March through May), Bourne warns that it can become quite crowded.

House of Seafood also offers a full menu of plated portions for diners who do not select the buffet, and the restaurant offers take-out options as well.

The restaurant is located at 81790 state Highway 21. Reservations are accepted. For more information, call (985) 886-2231 or click on http://seafood.iwarp.com.

Don Redman is associate editor of AAA Southern Traveler.

 

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