Restaurants come and go at the Anderson Mall, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when I looked up from an errand and saw a new restaurant: Louisiana Crab Shack (this always happens within a day after I deliver my article to Ms. Beck, our dedicated and delightful editor). The Shack has a low internet profile: The Austin location is the only one with a web page (!!!), and it provides precious little for a backstory. A search of the interwebs reveals nothing about the chain. Hmmm… witness protection program? What I do know is that with our Shack, there are now seven total in Texas with locations in Balch Springs, Arlington, Mesquite, Humble, Plano, and Cedar Hill.
Bringing fried seafood with a side of Cajun-Creole is not a bad idea for our area since the closest Cajun is Pappadeux’s and Captain Benny’s on I-35 and another Pappadeux’s north on 183. The Shack is informal: you’d feel welcome arriving in shredded shorts and sandy flip flops. Ordering is at the counter, and friendly staff bring your food to your table. The walls are plastered with televisions broadcasting sports and nutria-cooking programs (OK, I made that last bit up).
We devoured a catfish po-boy ($10.95) and a half-catfish/half-shrimp fried basket ($11.95), both served with cayenne-sprinkled Cajun fries. The catfish was perfectly prepared: crunchy on the outside and soft and warm on the inside. We also enjoyed the Cajun corn delivered in a bag of sauce of your chosen pain level and flavor profile. A nearby Shack-veteran demonstrated brilliant foresight by bringing latex gloves to handle his food. Our appetizer–an order of fried oysters–arrived dessert late, were 97.3 percent breading, and over-fried. We’ll give them a hall pass on this since they are new, but it suggests that sticking with traditional tried-and-trues may be best.
The beer selection suggests The Shack is a Texan’s interpretation of a crab joint in Louisiana with Shiner Bock but no Abita Turbo Dog, Parish, or any other beer from the swamps. If fried will make you died, the Shack also has grilled options, broiled options, wraps, and salads. However, they fry everything within reach, including the salmon! Oh: and they do offer king, snow, and Dungeness crab, but then again, maybe not: their online menu does not match their in-store menu.
web&where: interwebs; 2525 west anderson lane (near Guitar Center)
what’s the deal? fried, fried, and more fried; order at counter, food brought to table
overall: ** (food**; drink*; atmosphere*; service***; instagrammability**)
– meh [think twice]
* OK [it’ll get the job done]
** good [solid neighborhood joint]
*** damn good [we’ll definitely be back]
**** yippity-yikes that was amazeballs [fantastic; one of the best]
***** holy sh!t [transcendental; best of the best]
I wrote this review for the Allandale Neighbor.