My wife and I were heartbroken after the Gulf Coast Grill was shut down. I took a break from Cajun food for a while, but there is something about that spicy flavorful stuff that I just ignore. A quick glance through The Reader brought to my attention a little Cajun place hidden in an industrial park in Kearny Mesa. I sweet talked my wife into making our way out there, and am I ever glad I did.
Bud's is everything that comes to mind when I think about what a Cajun/Creole restaurant should be, well minus the location. My wife and I showed up for a late lunch, expecting it to have settled down some, but Bud's was still plenty busy when we got there. We were quickly shown to a seat outside, and settled down to look over the menu. It took a fair bit of restraint but I resisted the urge to order pretty much everything on it.
|Side of Jambalaya|
I saw they had pretty much every one of my favorite dishes: gumbo, jambalaya, po boys, soft-shelled crab. Just looking over the menu made my mouth water. After much contemplation I decided on a cup of jambalaya, and a po boy... but which one? I turned to our server and sought advice, he gave a couple of recommendations, mostly what was popular, but then he mentioned his personal favorite, fried catfish. Which is one of my most favorite Cajun dishes, but not always the easiest to cook. I don't know if it is just me but it seems near impossible to find good catfish. I've had it overcooked, and under-seasoned, but rarely have I had it just right. I guess I could have gone for something easy but I wanted to see just how good Bud could cook. My wife settled on the Louisiana Chicken, and surprised me by ordering a Caesar Salad then we sat back to enjoy the atmosphere.
|Awesome Caesar Salad|
We didn't wait very long, but as we did our waiter was quick to refill water and tea without having to be flagged down, one way to ensure a good tip from me. Finally our first dishes arrived. I looked over my jambalaya, noticing the chunks of sausage, smoke ham, and what i believe was some type of fish, and smiled. The rice was cooked perfectly, spicy but not too hot, the meat was warm and filling. My wife quickly noted I had a stupid happy grin on my face the whole time I was eating. I couldn't help it, it's been too long since I had really good jambalaya. My wife's Caesar salad came out at the same time. I don't know if it was the atmosphere or my good mood, but even the bite of my wife's Caesar salad tasted better than any Caesar I'd ever had, and Caesar is my go to salad.
|Gigantic Catfish Po Boy|
Just as we finished the first dish our main dishes came out. The first thing I thought upon seeing my Fried Catfish Po Boy was, how am I going to finish all this. It looked like they used an entire catfish in the thing. My first bite was perfect, it was an amazing type of crunchy, smooth, hot, and just the right amount of spicy that I remember Catfish is supposed to be. The bread was firm but giving. The fries were flavored, and came with a side of this spicy ketchup that I wanted to add to everything. My wife's food was also pretty impressive looking. I stole a few bites of it, even tried the mushrooms which I usually avoid, and it tasted great. Definitely the right amount of spice for my wife. I probably would have eaten more but like I said that Catfish Po Boy was gigantic.
So ended a memorable and very enjoyable lunch at Bud's Louisiana Cafe. I already have plans to return on a Wednesday or Thursday for dinner as that is the only time they serve beignets. Which if I remember from my youth, at Disneyland, are little puffy pieces of doughy goodness that you got if you were a good boy, so at Disneyland I was always a very good boy. See y'all there.
Bud's Louisiana Cafe
4320 Viewridge Ave, "A"
(In the Balboa Business Center)
San Diego, CA 92123