by Todd Barron @ FoodieCuisine.com
The restaurant Boudreaux’s Bar and Grillis a Cajun themed bar and grill located on the outskirts of Maumelle and took over the old location of Pasta Jack’s. If you never went there before, Pasta Jack’s was probably the worst Italian restaurant I’ve ever been to. It was more than bland and as a further insult, it was expensive.
Given the super short amount of time between Pasta Jack’s closing and Boudreaux’s opening, I thought the two were owned by the same person and have not visited it due to this. Time has passed now and while I still don’t know if it’s the same owner, I have heard good things about the food there and decided to give it a cursory try a couple of weekends ago.
Boudreaux’s describes itself as “Boudreaux’s Grill and Bar is a place for everyone, whether it be watching the game, having a beer, a family dining experience, or all of it. Great bar for just stopping in or plenty of tables if you want to stay. Good food, good drinks, good friends… Boudreaux’s is da place to be.” The restaurant is located in a strip mall off of Maumelle Boulevard and is close to Subway Sandwiches and Senor Tequilas. They have an easy to see red neon sign outside and are much bigger inside than they appear.
The place is clean and has plenty of room to sit and watch football or just hang out to eat (or drink.) Every Friday I have what are called “Cheese dip Fridays” in which I like to go after work to eat cheese dip and relax (and no, I haven’t gained a pound doing this!)
A couple of weeks ago I decided to give Boudreaux’s a try to see if they could become my new standard for a good cheese dip. The friendly waitress took our order I opted for the Jalapeno Poppers ($6.95) and the White Queso Cheese Dip with Chips ($6.95). Saying queso next to cheese dip is a bit redundant since queso means “cheese” but we can forgive such minor lingual transgressions right?
The cheese dip came out right away and is the first thing we tried (a friend had joined me for the experiment.) The chips were a tad stale and appeared to have been re-fried. This is a typical tactic by restaurants to “refresh” chips as they will dump them into the deep fryer for a second to take the staleness out of them. If they did not do this, they were very greasy for chips. The cheese dip looked good with pieces of pepper or other seasonings in it. It also tasted great as far as flavor is concerned. This is where the major flaw comes into play though. The cheese dip had the consistency of a somewhat thickened water. It was so thin that I had a hard time tasting it since it would slide off of my chip before I could consume it. Oh how I wish it would have been thick considering it tasted good. But alas, it is not to be and therefore I do not recommend ordering it, ever.
The biggest surprise was found with the Jalapeno Poppers. They are a decent size and were breaded in a panko style batter. They were not overly fried which surprised me and had a great flavor. I liked the ranch dipping sauce they were served with and the whole basket of peppers was gone in a short period of time.
I really liked the appetizer. I know, it’s nothing special to put cheese in jalapenos, bread them, and fry them, but these were some of the best I’ve ever had. If it wasn’t for the bad cheese dip, I would come back again to order the poppers. If they fix the cheese dip I may give them another chance, but until I hear otherwise I can’t recommend going to Boudreaux’s for appetizers.
I went back to Boudreaux’s this last weekend to give an entree a try and ordered the Shrimp Po Boy ($8.50). I was going to order the Oyster Po Boy but upon inquiry found out that they do not bread the oysters themselves. There isn’t much you can do to custom fry a Sysco or Ben E. Keith oyster so I opted for the Shrimp Po Boy instead. My wife order the large bowl of Cajun Jambalaya ($9.95.)
The Jambalaya had a good flavor to it with plenty of bits of sausage and chicken throughout. It could have used a little more sauce as it was dry but it was very close to perfect as far as technique is concerned. Overall it is something I would probably order again.
The Shrimp Po Boy had three shrimp on it and the jalapeno mayo was almost nowhere to be found. I was looking forward to the jalapeno mayo but found no more than a few drops of it on my sandwich. I also ordered the sandwich without tomatoes or onions but they brought it with no lettuce, tomatoes, and put plenty of onions on it.
The shrimp were of a decent size but tasted greasy and were tough to bite through. I had a hard time taking a single bite as each attempt resulted in a whole shrimp being consumed. The bread was not homemade but was springy enough to hold up to the sandwich. The cajun fries that came with the sandwich had a nice flavor to them and were fried well.
If it were up to me I would have included more jalapeno mayo, lightly toasted the bread, fried the shrimp at a higher temp for less time, and put the right condiments on the sandwich. Although I liked the Jambalaya, I won’t be ordering the Shrimp Po Boy again.
For dessert we had the Louisiana Bread Pudding ($4.99) that comes with a rum sauce. They brought up a corner piece of bread pudding covered in rum sauce and with a dollop of whipped cream on top. It was quite warm and had a very nice crunch to it from the sugar crust. The rum sauce had a great flavor as did the bread pudding with plenty of raisins throughout. Overall I was very happy with the dessert and can see myself visiting Boudreaux’s on the weekend for a takeout order of bread pudding.
Boudreaux’s Bar and Grill
9811 Maumelle Boulevard, N Little Rock, AR
4pm – 10pm
11am – 10:30pm