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.
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.
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.
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.
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.