There’s no lack of new places to eat in New Orleans these days. But over in Frenier, a notch on the western edge of Lake Pontchartrain, there’s also been a revival of sorts brewing for a seafood spot that once inspired many excursions away from the city.
The Crab Trap Seafood Restaurant opened last weekend (Oct. 10), with the same recipes and homespun approach of the original and a more developed restaurant operation added for this second rendition.
The first Crab Trap was wiped out by Hurricane Isaac in 2012, but it was the kind of place that people still talked about, and wondered about, years later. That might have been because it felt so familiar and so improbable all at once.
It was just a shack, and a shack without walls, nestled in a waterfront clearing amid the cypress and swamp just north of LaPlace. It had a short menu, longneck beers, breezes off the lake, a view of shrimpers trawling right offshore and a setting as satisfyingly rustic as any camp. The seafood was well sourced, properly prepared and served without fuss on trays lined with last week’s newspapers.
Louis Lipps, a New Orleans native with a family history in the seafood business, started the place as a sno-ball stand to serve people using the Frenier boat launch. The stand was elevated, like most structures in Frenier, and eventually he built the ground level area between the pilings into a boiled seafood joint.
This new version is just across the street from the original address, where Lipps and Jason Bourg now run the Crab Trap Seafood Restaurant as an upstairs/downstairs arrangement.
Upstairs, there’s an indoor dining room, a covered deck and a menu of fried seafood platters and po-boys, stuffed flounder, shrimp stew and other local standards. Downstairs remains Lipps’ lair, with a menu of boiled seafood (crabs and shrimp for now) served from a deli counter alongside a handful of distinctive specialties. There’s BBQ shrimp with roughly hewn chunks of garlic, and also BBQ crab, with whole boiled crabs cut up and soaked in the same sauce. By the weekend they should add beer and wine.
The old Crab Trap was a seasonal business, but this new edition is open year round, serving lunch and dinner Thu.-Sun.
105 Gary Rd., LaPlace, 985-224-2000
Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter @IanMcNultyNOLA.