Let's preface this post with the fact that neither J nor I have had the chance to visit Louisiana nor New Orleans but what we can attest to is some tasty bites from Parish Public House. This Louisiana Eatery & Drinkery is off the beaten path from the busy Downtown Albany scene but worthwhile for a taste of the bayou. You'll find many Cajun specialities including an array of comforting classics like gumbo, alligator bites, and the beloved Louisiana staple--po boys fully loaded and chockfull of tasty fillings. Sadly my only other encounter with a po boy was a forgettable one many moons ago from The Bayou Cafe so I was excited to try it at Parish.
For a full Cajun experience, we chose a whole crawfish sandwich and fell in love at first bite. The nuggets of crawfish were artfully fried to a golden crispy perfection; not too greasy while retaining a great crunch throughout each bite. It was a fantastic contrast of flavors and textures as each bite delivered crispy crawfish sandwiched between a toasted, fluffy baguette lightly dressed with creamy mayo and fresh shreds of lettuce and slices of tomatoes. Last I heard, Bread and Honey were supplying Parish Public House with homemade po boy bread and if that's still the case (it is! confirmed via Twitter), it was the perfect vehicle for the quality ingredients being used. The bread had a light tender interior to it while toasting brought out a crackly crispy crust much like banh mi bread.
We started off with boudain balls and the fry job behind these bites were signs of good things to come, as evident from the po boys. These sausage and rice balls are fried with a cracker crust adding a different texture than the arancinis rice balls from our visit to Marisa's. I didn't expect the sausage to have the texture akin to for lack of better description, canned tuna, but as different as it was, the flavors were good. I suppose it could have used more rice too as it was a tad dry. A tangy Cajun whole grain mustard and a few dashes of Tabasco added just the right amount of zing.
For good measure we added the Catfish Acadiana dish to round out our Cajun experience. The same fry job was well executed with the catfish. Whoever is behind the fryer knows his or her way around it. Our only suggestions is a heavier hand with some salt. Here, the catfish was smothered with shrimp etouffee, a rich seafood stew/gravy. The etouffee was buttery and stick to your ribs thick from the roux. It could have used a bit more seasoning, but as with other dishes, some hot sauce did the trick. I could see this pairing better over rice but the star of this dish was the collard greens. Stewed with chunks of smoked ham hocks, this Southern staple was not only some much needed added veggies to our fried feast but overall a memorable bite.
A meal of fried things wasn't exactly a healthy choice but it certainly was a very comforting one that pairs very well with a tall pint of beer. We left with full, happy bellies especially after a slice of Cheesecake Machismo. Hopefully we'll be seeing beignets on the dessert menu in the near future (hint, hint). One of these days we'll get to New Orleans but until then, we'll get our fill at Parish Public House.