2 Fleur
Average check per person $15-$25
BreakfastNo Breakfast SundayNo Breakfast MondayNo Breakfast TuesdayNo Breakfast WednesdayNo Breakfast ThursdayNo Breakfast FridayNo Breakfast Saturday
LunchLunch SundayLunch MondayLunch TuesdayLunch WednesdayLunch ThursdayLunch FridayLunch Saturday
DinnerDinner SundayDinner MondayDinner TuesdayDinner WednesdayDinner ThursdayDinner FridayDinner Saturday

Don’s Seafood Hut

Covington: 126 Lake Dr. 985-327-7111. Map.
Casual.
AE DS MC V
Website

ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
Restaurants with long histories have an issue to face. Do they keep using the recipes they had decades ago, even as competitors, free to keep up with the market, improve upon those dishes? Or do they reinvent as they go, running the risk of having old regulars complain that the food has changed? My outlook is that these venerable establishments need to walk a tightrope between the two options. Don’s, while it has a few new dishes of note, has mostly stuck with the old ways, and seems proud of it. This, however, has allowed them to slip behind current tastes.

WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
If the popularity of a restaurant equated with its goodness, Don’s would be one of the best seafood restaurants in town. But it isn’t, and it isn’t. I have had only one really good meal at Don’s (see below) over the years. The others were so disappointing that I return every three to five years, hoping the place has improved enough to explain the enthusiasm of its customers. But it hasn’t. I hope that few people have taken Don’s Cajun dishes as representative of the real thing.

WHAT’S GOOD A good general guide is to stick with recent additions to the menu. The Jacked-Up shrimp, for example, is as exciting as most of the menu is boring. Unfortunately, there menu is dominated by recipes from long ago, with all the little adjustments over the decades, most of which were more about kitchen production than flavor.

BACKSTORY
This transplant from the Cajun country opened in Lafayette in 1934, and has been serving seafood ever since. The Metairie location is one of the oldest of its seven current locations, with the Covington restaurant of three years vintage. Both of these stay busy most of the time; the one in Metairie if frequently on a waiting list. If there’s a difference in the food from on Don’s to another, I haven’t noticed it.

DINING ROOM
The Metairie location underwent an expansion and thorough renovation a few years ago, much brighter and more comfortable than before. In contrast, the Covington restaurant is a dark cube with many isolated tables. It had been a sushi bar before, and a few design touches from that era remain.

ESSENTIAL DISHES
Starters
Hush puppies
Spinach & artichoke dip
Boudin balls
Fried pickles
Fried mushrooms
Fried alligator
Fried crab claws
»Zydeco (pepper jelly) shrimp
»»Jacked-Up shrimp (broiled, bacon, jalapenos, pepperjack)
Char-broiled oysters
Jacked-Up oysters
Oysters on the half shell
~
Soups & Salads
Seafood gumbo
Chicken and andouille gumbo
Crawfish bisque
Grilled shrimp salad
Seafood salad
~
Entrees
Fried seafood platter
»Fried seafood combo (oysters, shrimp, catfish; shrimp etouffee)
Fried soft shell crab
Red beans and fried catfish
Shrimp pasta alfredo
Fried shrimp or crawfish tails and etouffee
»Boiled shrimp
»Shrimp, crab or crawfish dinner (six ways)
Crawfish etouffee
Cajun ravioli (fried, topped with crawfish cream sauce)
Grilled chicken with fried cheese ravioli, marinara
Crabmeat au gratin
Blackened redfish
Grilled catfish
Stuffed catfish
Grilled yellowfin tuna
Fish of the day
Broiled shrimp
Grilled stuffed shrimp
Grilled marinated chicken breast
Hamburger steak
Filet mignons
Ribeye steak
Cajun cowboy ribeye
~
Desserts
Hot fudge brownie a la mode
Cheesecake
Cobbler a la mode
White chocolate bread pudding
Turtle cheesecake

FOR BEST RESULTS
The oyster bar and the dishes that proceed from it are the best in the house. The daily specials terrific bargains, and sometimes good, too.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
There are many strains of the Cajun cuisine, and this one is dated and uninspiring. They ought to shove them all into an Olde-Style corner of the menu, and start over.

FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.

  • Dining Environment
  • Consistency +1
  • Service
  • Value +1
  • Attitude
  • Wine & Bar
  • Hipness -2
  • Local Color

 

SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES

  • Open Sunday lunch and dinner
  • Open Monday lunch and dinner
  • Open all afternoon
  • Oyster bar
  • Good for children
  • Easy, nearby parking
  • No reservations

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