Restaurant Review: Dining Del Lago 2011

Low water, haute dining

Parrain's Louisiana Kitchen

18653 FM 1431, Jonestown, 512/215-9319
Tuesday-Thursday, & Sunday, 11am-9pm;
Friday, 11am-10pm; Saturday, 11am-11pm

www.parrainslouisianakitchen.com

Parrain's, a small and unassuming storefront cafe uphill from the lake, houses some delicious food, yeah! The place began as a small shop inside the gas station across the street and has expanded to its own site, where it hosts a songwriters' night on Sundays from 7 to 10pm, with acoustic sets for one to three artists on the tree-shaded back patio. The menu offers a selection of moderately priced Cajun standards, with daily specials such as bacon-wrapped quail with honey citrus glaze, asparagus, new potatoes, and homemade coconut cream pie for Father's Day.

Luckily for me, the crawfish cakes still graced the appetizer specials ($7.99), so we started with those. Crispy on the outside with plenty of tender crawfish inside, the two generous cakes sported tasty seasoning and a hint of corn and red pepper to tingle the taste buds. Served on the side, the Mermaid Sauce offered a nice rémoulade touch. The chicken and sausage gumbo ($6.50) proved a hearty, smoky, thick serving with a large mound of perfect rice and plenty of tasty meat. The blackened catfish plate ($11.99) arrived hot and smothered in some of the best crawfish étouffée around, in my expat Cajun opinion. Buttery and smoky with amped-up spicy smoothness, this étouffée will knock your socks off.

And finally, as the ultimate test of goodness for a Cajun place, I had to try the fried shrimp po'boy (5-inch, $6.50; 10-inch, $10.99). Served on a nice chunk of French loaf and piled high with cornmeal-battered shrimp, the sandwich offered all the shrimp you could want with minimal lettuce and tomato and just the right amount of mayo. Other po'boy choices include pecan-smoked turkey and pork loin, sausage and peppers, boudin, and fried oysters. Along with gumbo and étouffée, the menu offers red beans and rice, boudin balls, and shelled oysters. The by-the-pound menu options include boudin, andouille, turkey, pork loin, and pralines. Oh, and I almost forgot: ice-cold Turbodog! Parrain's serves lots of other beer as well, and it has quite the wine selection. The chalkboard wine list shows a nice variety, including Tempranillos, Zins, Cabs, and several white wines. What a great place to end a day at the lake, cher!

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Parrain's Louisiana Kitchen, Cajun, Lake Travis, Jonestown, po'boy, po-boy, etouffee, étouffée, crawfish cakes, boudin balls, andouille

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