Let the Good Times Roll
Good food to get you in the mood for Mardi Gras
Cypress Grill4404-L W. William Cannon, 358-7474
Monday-Friday, 11am-10pm; Saturday-Sunday, 8:30am-10pm
The Cypress Grill's location always surprises first-time visitors. Its drive-up appeal is zero, looking mostly like an anonymous chain restaurant locked in the middle of a strip mall. Once you're through the doors, though, everything changes, and it's like you just stepped into Acadiana.
Each time we go, the Cypress Grill is always full of happy customers and cheery staff. Folks looking for an immediate hit of Cajun majesty can go straight for the crawfish étouffée ($12.99). The version here shows care and a good amount of time creating a sauce that's both silky and rich. Each dish centered on crawfish had a generous amount of sweet tail meat and enough rice and sauce to feed a hungry Longhorn linebacker. Order the Crawfish Delight ($12.99) and you get a half-plate of étouffée and a half-plate of deep-fried crawfish tails. Everything we tried that was fried was perfectly prepared with a flawlessly crunchy crust, cooked quickly to keep the batter from absorbing too much grease. Cypress' Atchafalaya Chicken ($7.99) uses the same batter on a chicken breast, then covers the chicken with a nice serving of crawfish étouffée. Take your cardiologist along with you. Red beans and rice is a dish that anyone can make, but to make a creamy sauce while keeping the beans firm and toothsome takes an artist. Whoever makes them here understands their art. The side order at $2.79 was a nice introduction, but fans will want to have the full course with a link of andouille sausage ($9.79).
These folks offer a full bar serving Abita beers and potent Sazeracs. The owners always throw a great Mardi Gras party with live zydeco and plenty of beads. Weather permitting, they're planning to put up a tent in the parking lot so as to welcome an even bigger crowd.
Sign up for the Chronicle Cooking newsletter
If you want to submit a recipe, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org