Whenever we mentioned that on this trip we are staying in Henderson, LA, we invariably are asked “Have you been to Pat’s?” Pat’s being Pat’s Fisherman’s Wharf. The answer was always "No," and I politely didn’t add that we had no intention of going. Diner reviews in the aggregate of this place fall in the middle. Either Pat’s is thought to have the greatest seafood and Cajun dining in the area or the worst. But finally we gave in and added Pat’s to our day in Henderson.
“Most drivers on I-10 have little reason to exit the interstate in Henderson, the tiny outpost of just 1,500 residents at the edge of the long stretch of elevated roadway that slices through the cypress bayous of the Atchafalaya Basin.
“You might stop here to get gas or a quick bite, but unless you drive through the heart of Henderson, you’ll miss its biggest tourist attraction, a hybrid restaurant-motel-dance hall-roadside attraction called Pat’s Fisherman’s Wharf” (Megan Hill at myneworleans.com).
In 2011, Pat Huval was named King of the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival. “1948 was the year that…Pat Huval, sold his first sack of crawfish…. The first of many endeavors to bring the little red bug to where it is today, but that was not his first contact with the crustacean—it started when he was just a boy out on a pirogue catching crawfish for his mother to cook…
“A little known fact…is that he was asked to journey with Robert ‘Bob’ Angelle to Baton Rouge to meet with then Secretary of State, Wade Martin, and Governor Jimmie Davis, to request permission to start the crawfish festival. Because Huval was so respected in the crawfish industry, Angelle wanted to make sure that he had his support for holding the festival in Breaux Bridge” (techetoday.com).
Huval “…became the first mayor of Henderson after its incorporation in 1971. Huval was mayor for 17 years. During his time in politics, Huval made friends with former Gov. Edwin Edwards. While Edwards served time in prison, he vowed to earn his freedom in time for Huval’s 82nd birthday in 2011. Edwards kept his promise, showing up at Huval’s birthday party at the restaurant” (Megan Hill at myneworleans.com).
For those not familiar with Edwin Edwards, he “was long dogged by charges of corruption. In 2001, he was found guilty of racketeering charges and sentenced to ten years in Federal prison. Edwards began serving his sentence in October 2002…(and)…was released in January 2011, after serving eight years...” (wikipedia.org).
One of Edward’s most colorful campaigns came in 1991 when Louisiana voters had the choice between Edward and neo-Nazi David Duke. “A popular bumper sticker urging support for Edwards (although clearly not produced by his campaign) read ‘Vote For the Crook. It's Important.’ Another read ‘Vote for the Lizard, not the Wizard’" (wikipedia.org).
As you enter the restaurant, you pass the requisite gift shop and souvenir counter. After you walk past the shrimp boat(?)/crawfish boat(?),
And in the midst of all of this nautical display, for some reason there was a horse collar hanging on one wall.
But then we saw one server walking through the dining room with one very large poor boy. Should we reconsider? Yes, especially when we learned that we could get the poor boy as a half-and-half. So we ordered the poor boy with one half catfish (for Chuck)
“That’s a lot of food.” said our server. “You won’t leave hungry.” What she should have said was “that’s a lot of bread,” since the poor boy came on the largest white fluffy roll to ever encase poor boy fixings. The catfish and shrimp were well cooked but were swamped by the roll.
When asked, we can now say that we have been to Pat’s. How do we nicely tell people that we weren’t impressed and can give this restaurant no more than 3.0 Addies—and that may be generous.
To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.