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Monday, April 27, 2009

Dinner Report: Pappadeaux...

Mark another off the list...

As my wife and I were making our way back to San Antonio from our afternoon in San Marcos, naturally the topic of eating came up. This happens often when we get in the car.

Anyway, since we were near New Braunfels, she suggested that maybe we should stop into the Clear Springs Restaurant off Hiway 46. Hindsight being 20 - 20...
Anyway, she also had mentioned the fact that she has never been to Pappadeaux. That was about all it took and I made a beeline down I-35 and off of Loop 410 and onto McCullough so we could get some.

My only previous experience with Pappadeaux involved a business meeting, an expense account, lots of steak & shrimp and numerous beers, so even though I would be paying this time, I was sort of happy to return.
The first thing you need to know is that the place is fairly big. The place looks mighty friendly on the outside with great landscaping, covered porch with rocking chairs, and just an inviting atmosphere to it.Inside, there is a fairly large bar area where you can imagine people staying in nearby hotels routinely use for an after work hang-out.We sat at a table near the center of all traffic; every person entering the place seemed to walk by us and every member of the waitstaff hung out or got their trays loaded in front of us. Sure, we could have asked for a different table, but I like to watch the excitement.

Pappadeux offers something I really like to see in a restaurant and that is a hustling staff. The people were really moving and maybe it was the time that we visited (around 5PM), but our appetiser and food arrived fast.
With our drinks, we got a loaf of hot & fresh french bread that was nothing short of outstanding. In fact, I could have just stopped there, but my wife wanted some too.We decided to get the calamari as a starter and it was out in a matter of minutes, very hot (which is required for calamari) and it came with two sauces. One was some sort of cocktail sauce that was out of this world and the other was some sort of creamy, lemony sauce that I can't recall the name of, but it was also good.My wife ordered the fried shrimp and instead of fries had the steamed broccoli. Dude, look at the size of that broccoli! Once she cut away all the excess undercooked parts, she was good with it. She was also happy with the shrimp, though in fairness, it was basically bland. At a Cajun place? Really.If I had seen a steak & shrimp combo, I probably would have ordered it, but I just didn't see it on the menu. Instead, I went with the ol' standby and ordered catfish and shrimp. How can you screw that up if your a seafood place, right? Can I just say that they give you entirely too many fries? Of course I can, it's my blog. I mean, is it any wonder why people in San Antonio are so enormously fat?

More importantly, it creates a logistics problem. I don't really care for fries, so they just get in the way. Not to worry, the catfish was hot, but again extremely bland.

I know that the Pappadeaux people will spice up your meal if you want it really hot or they will tone it down if you can't handle the pica, but geeze, this crust was just so without taste that it seemed a shame to cover the nicely cooked catfish beneath it. And the shrimp was not special at all. Look, if we were talking about Long John Silvers, I'd be okay, but in case you hadn't seen the menu, prices for this stuff start at about $20.

It's a shame too. We had great service, it was fast - in fact my wife joked that the meal came faster than a lot of fast food places we have been to - and although it was loud, the place has a nice atmosphere. But when you into a place and spend $60, it should be at least as good as what you can get at Chili's or some place like that for $35.

In a head on comparison, I'll put Clear Springs restaurant and their catfish and their shrimp (and their fries for that matter) up against Pappadeaux any day of the week. And I promise it will cost a lot less.

Fire the cook.


Turtle Mom said...

Here's my take on this restaurant - you gotta order the stuff you wouldn't get in a regular place. You need to order their specialities - that is what makes them what they are!

I love Pappadeaux and Pappasito's as well. (Probably like Pappasito's better though. The Shrimp with the pineapple butter is awesome!)

Gotta try Clear Springs though - is the location on 1604 as good?

Dave said...

Here's my take on this restaurant - you gotta order the stuff you wouldn't get in a regular place. I suppose. I have to tell you that we are not much for trying the craw fish et toofette (or whatever it is). I love spicy foods, but have not developed a taste for a lot of the Cajun recipes.

Gotta try Clear Springs though - is the location on 1604 as good?

I think the Clear Springs at 1604 and Afton Oaks is just fine (and a lot closer than driving all the way out to New Braunfels). If you order the onion rings as an appetizer (and you really should), get the smaller one. It is plenty for two or three or more people.

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San Antonio, TX, United States
I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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