Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Quote of the Day…

“I don’t care if I make a nickel so long as I don’t lose a dime.”

But more on that later.

The purpose of our visit to Lake Arthur, LA, was to have lunch at the Regatta Restaurant—another place recommended by our new friend at the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Bureau.
She had done such a good job directing us to the Steamboat Warehouse in Washington that we were eagerly anticipating another winner. And a winner Regatta was.

The restaurant’s website reads: “Regatta serves a wide variety of delicious fresh seafood, steaks, pasta and traditional Cajun fare—all in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere. Here you’ll experience the true spirit of Louisiana’s culture combining fabulous food, good times and the great outdoors… Owned by local entrepreneurs Greg and Tressa Trahan, Regatta was inspired by their memories of past good times on Lake Arthur and built for the betterment of the community…” (regattarestaurantla.com).

The Regatta sits on piers jutting out into Lake Arthur and can be reached by land, sea, and air. (Yes, you can tie up your float plane.)
The main dining room, which seats 130, affords lake views on three sides. In addition to the interior dining space, there is an additional seating for 100 outside.
But given that this is Louisiana in mid-July, we opted for air conditioned comfort and found a window table where we could both enjoy the cool and the lake views.

We had arrived with a game plan—share three appetizers and one dessert. We knew that two of the appetizers would be the Crab Cake Mermentau (two lump meat crab cakes served with a remoulade sauce) and the Kubuki Shrimp which were described on the menu as “Kick A** Shrimp” (large shrimp wrapped in won tons and fried and covered with a sweet/spicy sauce).
The only remaining question was whether to order the Catfish Bites or something called Cajun Bait made with shrimp and crawfish. But then Chuck noticed the Seafood Platter which was described as “un petite de toute” or “a little bit of everything” and included fried shrimp (4), oysters (3), a catfish fillet, a crab cake, a stuffed crab, and a cup of shrimp and okra gumbo plus salad and one side.
New plan. We would share the platter; Chuck would eat the shrimp and okra gumbo; I would order a cup of the duck and andouille gumbo; I would eat the salad; and Chuck would order waffle fries as the side.
My duck and andouille gumbo was made with an intensely dark roux (roux this dark is really a flavor and not thickening agent) and its roasted nutty flavor was a perfect pairing with the slightly gamey duck pieces and the spicy andouille.
Chuck’s gumbo was milder in taste (While I have encountered some seafood based gumbos that use sausage, I think that sausage overpowers the mild seafood.) and was full of small sweet shrimp and okra.
My small salad was a mix of romaine with shredded carrot with cherry tomato halves. I chose the house-made blue cheese dressing, and when our server Nicole warned me that it was kind of strong, the blue vein cheese lover in me was happy happy.
As I was finishing my salad, our table was visited by David Dupre, the restaurant’s general manager. He was working the floor and could be seen visiting with each occupied table. Dave is originally from Lake Arthur, but lived for a while in Lafayette. He indicated that he was happy to be back home and away from the more hectic pace of the “big city.”

Our platter arrived! First, I have to say upfront that there was nothing on this plate that I didn’t love—including the house-made tartar/remoulade sauce that tasted of chopped pickle, lemon, and Cajun/Creole seasoning. In fact, Chuck who is no big fan of traditional tartar sauce raved about this.
The catfish fillet had been coated with seasoned corn meal/corn flour and under this heavier (as compared to the oysters and shrimp) coating was a moist, sweet, and flakey piece of fish. The crab cake (bottom row on left) had an almost creamy interior that was lightly seasoned so that the sweet crab flavor was predominant and was light on filler. On the other hand, the stuffed crab (to the right of the crab cake) was more highly seasoned with Creole/Cajun seasoning, red pepper, or black pepper, or some combination of these. The oysters (to the right of the stuffed crab and hard to see) had a light coating and tasted of the Gulf from which they came. And the shrimp. Oh, those shrimp! Dipped in a light, but peppery, beer batter, they were everything fried shrimp should be.

And the waffle fries? When Chuck ordered them as our side, Nicole told him that the plate would come with these fries as kind of a garnish. Well, the large portion—hidden by the catfish—would have been plenty. His side came home with us for a later meal. (Chuck: “Note to self: Listen to your server.”)
Just as we were finishing the platter, our table was again approached—this time by restaurant owner Greg Trahan.
It seems that Greg, another Lake Arthur native, was an engineer by training and owned a company in Lafayette that employed 800. When he had the opportunity to sell the business, he did so and invested some of the proceeds in developing the Regatta Restaurant as a means of giving something back to his home town. In so doing, he has broadened the city’s tax base and provided employment to 53 area residents. And that is when Greg made the statement that began this blog. Given that the restaurant serves 3000 customers a week, I suspect Greg is making more than a few nickels while giving much to his hometown.

To finish our meal, we shared (on the recommendation of Nicole) a large slice of the house-made bread pudding with praline/pecan topping and bourbon butter sauce.
It was delicious and not at all heavy. But after all that food we may not need supper tonight after another wonderful 5.0 Addie meal.
While we were talking with both Dave and Greg, they mentioned that another Lake Arthur native had just opened a boutique hotel in an old bank building on the main street and both encouraged us to stop in and take a tour. You know how much we love restored and repurposed buildings, so we have one more stop before heading home.

To review the role of Adler and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.

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