Visited on a Sunday so quite a few places I had hoped to visit were closed. This included a place I will definitely check out another time. Mohawk Tavern Seafood Restaurant 704 Louisville Avenue, Monroe, LA 71202, 318-322-9275 We drove past it. You know how some places you just know are good eats? ... from the look and upkeep. This was one. A tidy shuttered eclectic-looking gray-blue building with hand-painted "Oysters on the half shell" letters. To turn around out back we drove through their back yard. Paved in oyster shells. Another "virtual "report is Cormier's Cajun Catering & Restaurant 1205 Forsythe Avenue, Monroe, LA 71202, Monroe's Retail District, 318-322-0414 which was also closed Sunday. This is like a crawfish-cooking shed, with an awning covered eating area beside it. (A good idea for crawfish houses as the entire premises can be fire-hosed down each evening.) Again, it looked great, but was closed.
So where was open in Monroe? We ate lunch at Cypress Inn at 7805 DeSiard Street 345-0202. It was a nice location on a large bayou with the back porch (including outdoor dining and "bayou feeding station") overlooking the water. Extensive place, with good boiled crawfish at reasonable price. Not seasoned (either salt or spice) quite aggressively enough for me, but pleasant surroundings. Seafood platter included good catfish and fried shrimp. Fried oysters were OK. Seafood gumbo included sausage which is not usually my taste, but on its own terms it was a sprightly little gumbo. We also had beef po-boys from Ray's Pe-Ge 8209 DeSiard Street, Monroe, LA 71202, 318-343-0710. Don't ask me how you pronounce it? Maybe like the French letters P & G.(?) Ray's was slow on the service but the po-boys were fine when they arrived. A "clean" flavor to them with real slices of (non processed "real") beef and not gunked up with dressing. A very nice sandwich. Lard-fried fries and heavenly gravy for dunking. The most interesting thing though about Ray's Pe-Ge was that Ray (I presume) had a bank of security surveillance monitors beside him as he cooked burgers. I don't think even CIA HQ or any Las Vegas casino could have more cameras installed than Ray's. He keeps twiddling the knobs on his monitor to zoom in on all the frying and toasting and varied activities of his small empire. It was a little bizarre but interesting.
And the only other thing I saw in Monroe that was amusing (to me) was an Italian restaurant which advertized itself as "Semi-Fine Dining" ~ a concept whose time probably has not come.
Thanks for reading.