“You can tell how healthy your meal is by how many trips you take to the garbage can,” says Cody McCown. It’s an unusual sentence for a restaurant review to begin with, but this is the premise behind the healthful and decadent food served at his restaurant, LA Seafood in Duson. “Are you throwing away plastic wrappers, or styrofoam or plastic? Chances are if so that food isn’t that good for you. The majority of your garbage should be cuttings from meat or vegetables.”
McCown is proud to say his restaurant’s kitchen doesn’t own a can opener. Everything you eat is freshly cut and hasn’t been trying to survive in the back of a deep freezer. Due to his first career as a personal trainer, the value of food is maximized — cooked and prepared in the best way to retain nutrition.
This doesn’t mean LA Seafood House is a health food joint with triangular plates and algae for dessert — far, far from it. There are fried Oreos and burgers and fried chicken, but McCown insists, both as a man concerned with fitness and as a young father, that what his patrons put into their bodies is the freshest possible.
McCown grew up in Welsh and went on to become a personal trainer in Los Angeles and New York. He and his wife moved home several years ago to begin a family. In 2010 McCown partnered with Dean-O’s to open his idea of the kind of restaurant that serves the freshest fair. “Over 80 percent of my menu is locally sourced within 50 miles,” he says. Then a snafu: the BP oil spill. Suddenly a place with seafood in its name couldn’t get seafood.
“I had to come up with something quick,” says McCown. Then he remembered how he and his bodybuilder pals loved to hit up Brazilian grills back in L.A. Brazilian grills feature fresh meats cooked over an open flame. The history of the Brazilian grill, says McCown, comes from a South American tradition in which gauchos would stop outside of towns and cities for the night and slaughter a calf, offering dishes for a bit of money to the townspeople. At LA Seafood House the deal is unbelievable: for $24.95 per person, or $44.99 per couple, you get an unlimited supply of meat that includes seafood, beef, pork and chicken and an unlimited amount of sides from which there are plenty to choose. Meats are presented to you at the table off a spit and you are offered as little or as much as you want. Having taken the smallest amount of each one and not even finishing half of them, I’m amazed that some folks go back for second and third rounds, but they do. You get to try tuna, shrimp and chicken en brochette, beef short rib, andouille and pork ribs that have been slow roasted then steamed so as to almost fall with a whisper off the bone. Another addition unusual for Louisiana is the very traditional cut called picanha, a beef top sirloin cap that is remarkably tender, tasting rather like a more gamey version of filet mignon.
|Chef/owner Cody McCown slices meat from a spit.|
Oysters are a dish people have a right to be picky about, especially served raw. The day before, I’d eaten grilled oysters at a very fine restaurant in a large Louisiana city and they were delicious. LA Seafood House smokes them. Cooked over an open fire with just a few ingredients, the taste is far more complex than expected. Only a few spices are used, although we were sure there was some secret special blend on top. Turns out it’s just a few fresh spices. We won’t spoil it by telling you what they are so you can have your own fun guessing. The manner in which they are grilled, or rather the fuel for the flame, makes the flesh spectacularly earthy and deep. Even when served raw we had the impression the oysters were harvested about 20 minutes before we ordered them.
The other favorite is going to seem odd, but if you like salad you’ll understand. The Caesar salad at LA Seafood has stuck in my mind since my first taste. Its croutons are house-made from Poupart’s bread, fluffy and crunchy, but it’s the pecans in it that make the salad memorable. They are also roasted and something about the sweet, meaty crunch just makes the whole salad pop. It’s not a traditional Caesar, but the dressing is also made in-house. Put it this way: despite all the food around me, I kept inadvertently stabbing the salad for more, and I would drive back out to Duson simply to get some. Feel free to add shrimp or chicken for a few dollars more.
McCown says one of his own favorites is the drum fish. It’s floured and rubbed with roasted garlic and comes with a light cream sauce that has also been infused with garlic. Drum is a fish that has gotten a bad name and it’s undeserved. Like catfish, drum can be delicious if raised and harvested correctly. It’s a fish with a light, clean seafood taste that isn’t too strong. The roasted garlic crust is sweet and savory and unexpectedly filling.
The majority of the menu can also be prepared gluten-free. Just ask your server.
LA Seafood House isn’t located too far outside of Lafayette — at 1917 Ridge Road, a straight shot a few minutes off Ambassador Caffery. Call 504-5634 with any questions and remember, if it seems like too far to drive, just try the food then tell me that. Driving to a locally sourced and delicious restaurant is far better than waiting an hour to eat at a crowded chain restaurant. It’s open Monday through Thursday 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Find it online at laseafoodhouse.com or search for it by name on Facebook.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent rhetoric against President Barack Obama has failed to boost his standing among the conservative base.
Louisiana's annual legislative session begins.
The state has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters at two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
St. Patty's Day crafts
The former star of Saturday Night Live throws in his 2 cents on the Big Oil lawsuit.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday, March 10, 2014:
New menu items ready for the Lenten season
The Cane Fire Film Series screens “MaidenTrip” on Monday, March 10, at the AcA.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The vibe of the tribe done modern
The Louisiana Workforce Commission said Friday that initial claims rose to 2,125 from the previous week's total of 1,964. There were 2,887 initial claims during the comparable week in 2013.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
She’s the daughter of the legendary Johnny Cash, but she’s been a gifted artist in her own right for three decades, and she’s coming to Lafayette.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Prepare yourselves for sun