Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mudbug’s Cajun Café

I think I have mentioned that hubby went to college in New Orleans, so whenever he hears about a Cajun style restaurant, he gets all antsy to try it. Mudbug’s was no exception. And again, a beautiful day, outside seating, and we were there.

They have quite a few things on the menu (and will happily give you free samples) so I was really glad to see the “pick 3 combo” for lunch priced at $8.95. I ordered the shrimp po’boy sandwich, the shrimp étouffée and the Chicken Courtbouillon with a side of potato salad. Hubby ordered the shrimp po’boy as well, and the red beans and rice and crawfish casserole.

They really give you quite a bit of food for the money. The po’boy option is half a sandwich. I enjoyed the sandwich quite a bit, mainly because of the remoulade sauce. It was pleasantly spicy with a tangy flavor that was nice with the deep fried shrimp. The shrimp were breaded and fried. They were not bad, but I can’t say they tasted as fresh as the ones I have had elsewhere. Apparently po’boys are also all about the bread in New Orleans, and hubby said while he thought the bread was good, it wasn’t really authentic—it was too dense he said. It was like a toasted hoagie bun, which I thought was good, but then again I have sadly never had a po’boy in New Orleans (yet).

They actually brought me the crawfish casserole the first time (which is pictured to the right in my combo). I switched it out for the shrimp étouffée I had originally ordered. I was really glad I did because I think the shrimp étouffée was my favorite thing (pictured below). Étouffée is sort of like a seafood (or meat) stew that is traditionally made with a roux base, which is flour cooked with fat (butter or oil) until it browns. This dish was a nice reddish brown color and had a very buttery flavor. You could see various veggies in there (celery, onion) and the shrimp, which were of the very small variety. I would have appreciated some nice big chunks of perfect shrimp, but the flavor of this was so yummy, I was still happy. And the shrimp, although little, were not tough at all. It was all served over rice.

I also had the Chicken Courtbouillon which is also a stew containing similar ingredients veggie wise, but with chunks of chicken, and the stew was a tomato base (and again over rice). I liked that you could really taste the freshness of the tomato flavor, but the chicken tended to be a bit tough and this one just didn’t do it for me as much.

The potato salad was just too bland—I was hoping for a more refreshing side dish knowing that all the things on my plate would be so rich, but I would take a pass on this next time. It did seem homemade, but it was just missing something for me.

Hubby also had the Crawfish casserole which was a creamy rice casserole with some bits of crawfish mixed into it along with veggies and cheese. I tasted comforting and homey, but it was so rich I couldn’t really eat more than a couple of forkfuls. They also serve a nice buttered piece of French bread across the top to eat along with the stews.
The red beans and rice was the last item, and I actually didn’t get any of these. Hubby said they were good. Nothing amazing, but gave you what you needed for a red beans and rice fix.

As we ate, as we often do, we discussed what we would order again on a next visit. About this time, one of the servers came out and told us that on Mondays and Thursdays at lunch they offer a “pick 2” lunch. That would be ideal for me size-wise. And I think we agreed we would both get the same thing. Half of a shrimp po’boy and the shrimp étouffée. And next time, we hope to have room to try the beignets.

Mudbug’s Cajun Café
20 west Main Street
Carmel, IN 46032

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  1. we have some friends in Baton Rogue... and, when visiting a couple of years ago, I was hanging out with the husband of the pairing as he was making some crawfish chowder... apparently cream was not rich enough, and he threw in two blocks of cream cheese to the stock pot... great eats that visit, but in 4 days I gained 5 pounds.

  2. Not keen on general creole/cajun food - at least the more frequently available stuff. It's just me. Don't like what always seems to me like mud pies and gloop of some kind with mysterious blobs in it. Don't like beans, especially puddles of stuff like you get in this cuisine. (Don't like Mexican-type refried beans etc etc too)

  3. Love reading your reviews, except for how HUNGRY it makes me!
    It's a bit of a trek, but the next time you or the hubby are in the mood for cajun, try Zydecos on main street in Mooresville. I can't speak highly enough of it.

  4. I've really enjoyed Cajun/Creole food and have made a lot of the recipes from Emeril and before that, the old Frugal Gourmet, Jeff Smith (he had a lot of good recipes in spite of his pedophile behavior - sad, really). I've made a Red Beans & Rice recipe with homemade "pickled pork" and it is getting easier to find good Andouille here. Still haven't found any Tasso - maybe Goose the Market?

    We have a couple of Cajun places opened in Avon - one pretty good, the other disappointing. Nawlins Creole Café is walking distance from home and is pretty good. They have a monthly Crawfish/Shrimp boil w/ entertainment outside. Their seafood comes from the Gulf and they're friends down there are hurting!

    Their motto is: "Friends don't let friend eat at chains!" They deserve your business.