For the last several years, one of my favorite lunch spots near the office was Boudreaux’s Seafood on Buford Highway. It was a seafood market, that also served a great lunch. The guy that owns it is Cajun-born-and-bred (actually a Loyola-schooled tax lawyer) who years ago went looking for a good po-boy in Atlanta and couldn’t find one. So he started his own. Over the years, it developed into a cajun outpost, where he made the drive to Louisiana every weekend to bring back fresh seafood to sell the next week.
The thing about Boudreaux’s was that it LOOKED like a seafood market where someone decided to start serving food with the idea that they would fix it up “tomorrow”. But “tomorrow” never came. In the last two years, they had added a lunch-time buffet that, when you liked what was on it, was an incredible amount of food for $12.95. One of the guys I work with went primarily to pick the boiled shrimp out of the low country boil and ate $20 of shrimp, at least, per outing.
One Friday in February we went for lunch and found the seafood market closed for lunch. The owner was unlocking the door and we asked for details. He had rented a space down the road about 3/4 mile – a space that has been five different restaurants in the last ten years – and opened Boudreaux’s Cafe Acadiana.
About the locale change:
- It is a MUCH nicer looking place;
- The price on the buffet has gone up (as has all-you-can-eat-crawfish-Fridays);
- They’ve added some non-Cajun items (fried chicken, fried pork chops, some desserts); and
- They’ve added a bar.
While I’ve eaten a few other things there, I’ve always gone there for the jambalaya.
This was my favorite jambalaya in town, primarily because it was the essence of good cajun cooking – meat, rice & rouxe. No random vegetables, just jambalaya goodness. For the past three years, I’ve eaten chicken and sausage jambalaya at least once every six weeks.
I went in for lunch by myself one afternoon recently and ordered my staple. I took a bite and felt something oddly crunchy between my teeth. Celery? What the heck? I look more closely and there is celery in my jambalaya. And onion. And peppers. And carrots (you can see one in the left of the picture).
I asked the waitress if they had changed chefs. Or he had changed recipes. She answered negatively to both. But something definitely HAS changed. I’ll give them one more try, but they may have ruined my favorite cajun dish in the city.