3624 Ryan St., • 337-602-6678
Unless you’ve been completely disconnected, chances are you’ve heard Lake Charles has very recently welcomed a new restaurant.
Setting up shop in the former Coyote Blues building and generating a lot of buzz, comes TaD’s Louisiana Cooking. Although it’s difficult to escape hearing about the experiences and views of others on a particular restaurant on social media, I always go in open-minded and unbiased, as that’s the only way to be fair to the readers and the restaurant.
As far as first impressions go, the building has been repainted inside and out with a warmer feel, new fixtures, a barrage of flat screens throughout, video games and overhead top 10 music.
My wife and I were greeted with smiles and welcomes.
Asking if we had a preference in seating, we chose to sit at the bar. This is our go-to when the opportunity is there. We get that personable interaction with the server and it makes even small talk comfortable.
Glancing through the menu and taking the whole scene in, I’m beginning to feel it’s a mix of upscale diner with a twist of sports bar, minus the neon signs.
The menu really does have a lot to offer. From po’boys and burgers, to steaks and seafood, most dishes have a Louisiana Cajun flair.
We decided to start off with the Cajun crab cakes topped with a crawfish étouffée. This appetizer looked promising, and came with just enough sauce without drowning them.
The first bite proved to be crispy on the outside, with an almost creamy blend of crab stuffing with that Cajun spice and kick you’d expect and appreciate. Then it hit me and I was reaching for my drink. We’ll get to that in a minute.
My wife chose the blackened shrimp salad, and I opted for the Cajun grilled catfish tacos for our main dishes.
Somehow, a TaD’s berry salad became her salad for the night.
To be honest, we didn’t realize the salad she ordered was not what was presented until it was far too late. What she did get though was several large shrimp on skewers atop the fresh bed of spinach.This was accompanied with feta cheese, candied walnuts and a mix of berries.
The shrimp were perfect. Between the seasoning and the slight char, that’s exactly what you want to taste.
The berries, on the other hand, could’ve used a bit more attention. The strawberries and blueberries were fresh and bright, but the raspberries should’ve been passed over as they were past their prime.
As for my meal, the Cajun tacos with grilled catfish: This was two grilled catfish tacos, served in a flour tortilla with cabbage, tomatoes and “Pierre” sauce.
I don’t know if this is a TaD’s exclusive, or if maybe something unusual happened in the kitchen, but the tortillas were salted, which unfortunately, to me, became the focus of the flavor. This overpowering salt seems to me to be the common denominator in some online assessments from previous diners. Again, open mind, but then I experienced firsthand what those people were talking about. To continue, my tacos required a bit of patience to get through the mound of toppings, only to reveal a small piece of fish deep in the shell which seemed anticlimactic.
It would be naive for anyone to expect a new restaurant to be perfect. Being fresh on the scene takes time for any restaurant to work things out and find their balance, and I am sure they will. I welcome TaD’s to Lake Charles.
An Extra Dish
If you’re looking for a little bit of nostalgia, take a trip to Welsh, Louisiana. Inside the Mercantile 54 Trading Company, you’ll find Mr. Clint’s. It’s a step back in time soda shop with candies, novelties and curiosities. Mr. Clint’s offers the largest selection of sodas from around the country, and candies you haven’t seen in a while. You’ll be glad you made the stop.