But first of all, I have to make a confession: I lied. The lady who waited on us asked why I was taking pictures of the food on my plate, and she specifically asked if I was doing a review, and I said no. That was on June 23. Lady, if you’re reading this, I apologize for lying to you.
But the reason why I feel okay about this is that I don’t have the time to review restaurants I hate—so she need fear me not. In the course of my “reviews,” I might make suggestions, I might mention a few things I wish could change, and I might poke fun at quirky details . . . but I’m not going to waste my precious time writing about a restaurant I seriously wouldn’t tell you to go to.
When you step in the door, you’ll notice something: It doesn’t smell fishy in there. It smells clean and good. This is a good sign at a catfish joint, just as it is for a fine sushi restaurant.
When you look around, you’ll see that they’ve been collecting fish statuettes and have decorated the place, appropriately enough, with the requisite fishnets and what-all. But it’s not cluttered. It’s clean in here.
I didn’t photograph or memorize the menu, but they do have a decent selection of foods for your friends who aren’t into fish. But why talk about that, when you’re here for the catfish?
We both got the six-piece catfish plate, which came with a choice of two sides and a choice of either a corn muffin or a couple of hush puppies. The waiter brought us a basket (obviously straight out of a refrigerator in back, meaning this stuff doesn’t sit around) with squeeze bottles of their own Cajun ranch and tartar sauces, cocktail sauce, and ketchup.
I’m not saying the food isn’t spicy here—it’s just not fiery (at all).
On to the fish, which is the big deal here: It was crispy and perfectly cooked. Not greasy. The breading was nicely spiced and definitely goes beyond the standard breading seasoned with salt and pepper—a nice heat.
For dessert, we had the chocolate pie: Mmmm. Not too sweet. Nice and cold. Hit the spot. Sue purred and said it reminded her of her grandma’s. (Well, you can’t get much higher praise for a pie than that!)
No one’s going to drive for many hours to get to Cajun Catfish House, but for us locals, it’s a spot to relax and enjoy a lot more than the perfectly cooked catfish—it’s a place to enjoy a good-quality diner, some laid-back local color, and the company of other friendly mid-Missourians.
Now here’s that little story I promised you. It’s not a huge deal, but the story goes like this: When my Grandma S was getting old and blind, my dad and uncle enjoyed taking her on little outings, which she dearly loved, and one day they drove her clear out to St. Martins and the Cajun Catfish House.
Grandma ordered a beer—probably some Budweiser or Miller product, right?—and when the waiter brought it, Grandma protested: “Hey! There’s no head on this beer! What kind of beer is this? It’s flat!” The waiter, bless her heart, poured her a new mug, and made sure there was a big frothy head on it.
Pretty nice to humor a ninety-year-old beer snob, huh? Ha ha ha.
I think about that story every time we go to Cajun Catfish House.