The other day, an old schoolmate of mine posted on Facebook that her husband was cooking at a local restaurant and asked us all to come out if we could. I try to support my friends wherever I can, so I made plans to head out there on Friday.
I had eaten at The Catfish House before, but the old chef was not the best one could hope for. The food was of uneven quality, and the prices were a bit on the steep side for what you got. I figured the meal would be mediocre, but what the heck, friends are friends, right?
Happily, I was wrong.
There was an insert to the menu that night, advertising New Orleans cuisine next to the standard fried fish fare. This gave me pause, since most cajun-style cooking has a tendency to be over-spiced or overcooked. Still, the French Quarter Grouper looked interesting, being a blackened filet with a cream sauce and choice of two side items.
Now, blackening an item takes skill, since it is far too easy to drown the flavor of the entree in spices, or to overcook delicate items while trying to scorch the spice coating black. Fortunately, Louisiana native David Hackney, the new Executive Chef at The Catfish House, knows exactly what he’s doing. The grouper was cooked to perfection, moist and tender from tip to tail, with just the right amount of spices charred to a flavorful black. The big surprise, however, was the “seafood sawce”, a creamy concoction of cheese, seafood chunks, celery bits, and other spices. Served on the side in a generous portion, the rich, savory sauce made a wonderful balance to the spicy tang of the blackened grouper. Not too salty, not too cheesy, the sauce turned a good meal into a great one. Finish off the meal with a warm pecan brownie served with hot fudge sauce and vanilla ice cream, and you’ll definitely want to come back for more.
While the standard fried catfish all-you-can-eat special might be the big draw to the restaurant, the New Orleans menu might just be the best-kept secret in town. Since I suck at keeping secrets, I want everyone to know what a delicious dining experience is just right down Moody Road in Warner Robins.
The Catfish House is located one mile south of Russell Parkway on Moody Road. Open Wednesday through Saturday for dinner only. Entrees $12-$22. Dress is casual. (478) 922-2828.