New Seafood House In Abita Springs
Tom Fitzmorris December 18, 2019 10:15 Dining Diary
For about the past twenty of the the last thirty years, I have complained about making the long trek across the Causeway each day. For a lot of those years I came home at 11:00pm, having eaten dinner in a restaurant after the show. And now, since most radio shows are done from our home studio, a daily trip into town is not required. I eat in the city when I go in for production and when we have in-studio guests, but it is not a six days a week routine.
Dining out is essential to my well-being, MA has decreed. I have to admit I agree. Yesterday was a dreary cold day, so we didn’t venture far. That gave us a chance to visit a new advertiser to the website, Vera’s. A neighborhood restaurant for us, if the term neighborhood could ever be applied to where we live.
Locals may remember Vera’s as a sturdily assembled pile of sticks over Lake Pontchartrain right at the point where the Hwy 11 bridge starts. It was a great place to go to have the “Louisiana” experience. And the food was very good.
Not for the first time, in 2005, a hurricane passed directly over this spot, But this one was Katrina, and all the carefully assembled sturdy sticks that was Vera’s was washed away. Owners Donnie and Dena Mattern wasted no time relocating. Donnie is also in construction, and he knew someone opening a strip shopping center half a mile from North Shore Mall in Slidell.
For those enchanted with the pile of sticks, Vera’s on W. Gause had to be a disappointment. There were no sunsets to watch. But upon closer inspection, the place has a lot of its own raffish identity. It is warm and welcoming, and the food is everything it always was. Vera’s survived the loss and thrived in its new location. Donnie and Dena wanted to expand west, and when the Camellia Cafe location became available, they moved in. Donnie made some minor changes to the appearance, and brought in the same great food.
We went yesterday for lunch, and were certainly impressed. First of all, it is rare now to have food so stove hot you have to wait to eat it. Everything that came to the table yesterday had that quality. It was refreshing. On Tuesdays they have a specials board with about six choices, all for $9.99. All include a salad so large it could be an entree by itself. This is a deal.
But before we got an entree we ordered a sampler platter of appetizers, (pictured). You can choose three from a generous assortment. We got spinach and artichoke dip because MA was there, and a crabmeat au gratin, along with fried boudin egg rolls. The crabmeat au gratin was surprisingly delicious and had a lot of crabmeat in it, though the cheese was more than ample. There was also a lot of crabmeat in the spinach dip, and the peppery boudin in the egg rolls was wrapped in a really crispy and well fried golden-brown crust. All of this was too hot to eat upon arrival.
Our entrees included a basket of fried shrimp and fries for MA. This was so generous for the price we couldn't believe it. Crispy and also really hot, the shrimp were golden brown corn flour-crusted. The fries were battered, not especially favored by Mary Ann. It came with nice hush puppies. I went for a platter of deboned chicken thighs with a sweet-but not too-sauce. Also on the menu were poor boys and creamy seafood pastas. Poor boys are sandwiches on a bun, but the fried seafood platters are all there, along with unexpected menu items like whole fresh-caught flounder, broiled scallops, frogs legs and homemade stuffed crabs.
Note: Vera’s does not take American Express, which was a surprise to us.
2020 W Gause
Vera’s Abita Springs
69455 Hwy 59
Friday & Saturday till 9