Enter the far left door on the front of Boutin’s Restaurant, and you’ll feel like you’re stepping into a country store, complete with a hot-plate lunch counter.
And, in truth, that’s what the charming setup is, more or less.
In the last few months, Boutin’s, known locally for its Cajun cuisine and music, and Poche’s, a market and restaurant establishment in Breaux Bridge, have partnered up to bring a version of Poche’s inside Boutin’s. There, at the Poche’s lunch counter, patrons can choose from one of several daily plate lunches that include a fried seafood item every day and cost either $8.95 or $9.95.
The entr?es are served with a choice of rice dressing or rice and gravy and come with two sides and bread. Desserts are available, too. The Poche’s experience is a practical, uncomplicated affair. After making his or her selection, the diner simply carries their lunch over to a table in Boutin’s, where the waiter takes the drink order and brings the tab at the end of the meal.
At visits over two weekday lunchtimes, we chose as entr?es the crawfish etouffe?, smothered beef, a stuffed chicken breast wrapped in smoked bacon, and, finally, fried catfish.
Our verdicts? All excellent.
The smothered beef was tender and served with a rich, dark brown gravy. The chicken breast was deliciously flavored with the bacon wrapped around it and had a surprising, spicy filling of chopped jalapeno pepper.
And the crawfish etouffe?, thick and flavorful, offered a plentiful serving of plump, tender crawfish.
The tender and flaky fried catfish filets made another good choice. Of the above entr?es, the beef, chicken and crawfish etouffe? were each $8.95; the fried catfish was $9.95.
We all ate our vegetables, too, and over two visits enjoyed such side dishes as smothered potatoes and green beans, blended in a thick cheese sauce; a refreshing, old-fashioned coleslaw with a winning sweetness; and fried potato wedges that needed just a bit more seasoning.
On the other hand, the side dish of kernel corn was jazzed up with bits of tomato, green pepper, onion and ham - and was also quite good.
Sweets included cheesecake, chocolate cake, bread pudding and pecan tarts. The bread pudding ($4.95) we enjoyed on our visit had a traditional smooth, dense texture and was luxuriously embellished with a caramel sauce and whipped cream.
Diners can still order from Boutin’s regular lunch menu that offers seafood, steak, pasta, po-boys and more. Whether they go with the Boutin’s menu or the Poche’s lunch counter, visitors to Boutin’s can do a little grocery shopping on the way out.
Poche’s offers a variety of grocery items and its meat cases are filled with Poche’s products including boudin, sausage, beef and pork roasts, brisket and more.