Spahr’s Downtown is more than fried seafood

Any restaurant that survives over 50 years must be doing something right.

While Spahr’s Downtown in Thibodaux has only been around since 2003, the original Spahr’s opened in Des Allemands in 1968, and many of its menu items are labeled as original, including the Seafood Gumbo.

On a recent trip, I was hoping to find a place where I could fully enjoy local seafood, but avoid fried foods if possible. After living nearly a year in South Louisiana, I unsurprisingly discovered that I needed to lose weight, so I’m on the lookout for healthier choices whenever possible.

Another of Spahr’s original recipe dishes is their seafood platter, which would have been the go-to choice for a restaurant review if it weren’t for the preponderance of fried foods.

For my entree I ordered the Voodoo Bayou Pasta and as always the Seafood Gumbo was a no-brainer. On the menu, pasta is topped with fried shrimp, but I substituted grilled shrimp as a nod to my healthier leanings.

Which isn’t to say the dish is a health food, I’m sure it’s just a step back in that regard for Alfredo, but it’s spectacular. It’s penne pasta cooked just after al dente in a herb cream sauce that has just a slight spicy bite to it. It also has detectable chunks of crabmeat which gave it both depth and richness. The grilled shrimp even added more flavor than the fried version, making the substitution a win-win. It’s a fabulous dish.

I have no trouble believing that the recipe for okra is half a century old (at least). There’s a lot of crabmeat in it, as well as shrimp, but the roux is undeniably authentic. There are okra made for tourists and okra made for locals, and this was definitely in the latter category. This is the best I have tasted since moving here.

I didn’t leave the table hungry, nor satisfied with my calorie intake, thanks to the pasta with cream (and the generous portion). But it was a good meal, one that has satisfied customers for half a century, including this one.

Downtown Spahr is located at 601 W. Fourth St. in Thibodaux. There are also the Spahr restaurants at Des Allemands (3682 La. 90 Est) and Galliano (16816 La. 3235).

Managing Editor Scott Yoshonis can be reached at 850-1148 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Foster_Cajun.

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