On 2 recent visits to Abbeville have visited Black's Oyster House and sensed something was different. For a start the owner Bryan Bourque (the sort of owner who constantly prowls the floor) was nowhere to be seen. And also the service was abysmal. (20 minutes to even get a glass of water on the table.)
My wife & I have been going to Black's for years for the raw oysters, gumbo, and (some of the best) crawfish.
This was bad news. It was like no-one was in charge. A young male waiter had an unsightly yellow stain on his shirt (which was truly gross-out looking) and obviously had no intention of changing it any time soon. The menus (paper) were stained with crawfish juice fingerprints, and hot sauce. Again, a new and unwelcome development. The crowd was very small and seemed to consist of mainly tourists, not (as before) healthy local contigents of extended Cajun families.
Now, the food has not similarly gone bad--it's still pretty good although the oysters were not going through a good phase generally when we happened to visit (watery tasting and un-salty)--but Black's is going through a turbulent patch it seems. In fact, we gave up on our lunch (having travelled 400 miles to get there mind you!) and went next-door to Shuck's. Not really our favorite place, but 100% better with waiters who seemed not to be in a slow-motion zombie-trance and actually seemed to want to feed you.
For dinner we visited Richard's seafood patio. The crawfish there while expensive ($20 for 5lb when we visited) were select plus plus. None of the familiar trick of putting the big crawdads on top while underneath all the little tiny ones lurk. These were 100% big succulent crawfish and worth every penny. Richards unusual (black-peppery) seasoning is superb on these. I had to go with a second-helping of another 3lbs although 5 would have been easily achievable.
In Sunset we made our normal Sunday-morning pilgrimage to Rowena's Grocery to find it "shock! horror!" closed, out of business. They had super cracklin's and a pleasant rural feel. It's sad that it is gone. On a happier note there is a meat market in downtown Sunset that dishes up a very nice fallback hot cracklin & boudin. (Can't recall the name but you can't miss it.) The cracklin's there are in the Rowena's mold.
Meche's donuts in Abbeville scored a poor rating versus the Lafayette outlets. Meche's glazed are usually Krispy Kreme beaters but not at Abbeville. They tasted like yesterdays donuts or something. No hint of warmth to them.
Can anyone keep us informed as to whether Black's pulls out of the current nosedive. And offer any explanation why Mr Bourque upstaked and whether to pastures-restaurant anew?
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