Seekers of authentic Cajun food should head to Andria’s Cajun Cuisine at the junction of Alma and Parker in Plano (SE corner). The unprepossessing strip mall establishment has been open since August and the restaurant offers a straightforward selection of Cajun favorites and off-site catering services. I was alerted to it by a friend who has spent a lot of time in Louisiana and who said it reminded him of countless authentic Cajun shacks that dot the southern Louisiana landscape.
On our first visit we started with Boudin Balls ($5.99). These are boudin rolled into balls rather than stuffed into sausage skins. Andria’s are a hearty blend of pork and rice, maybe fortified with some organ meat. The white dipping sauce had been replaced with a tastier remoulade sauce by the time of our second visit. We also liked the Oyster Po Boy ($8.99). The sandwich bread, bought at Fiesta, was ethereally crusty. The oysters were small but tasty. This sandwich is large enough for two by the way. Crab Corn Soup faithfully projected corn flavor and had a comforting creamy texture.
Our main courses were more of a mixed bag. Crawfish Etoufée ($8.99) was consistent across two visits – consistently lacking in chile heat that is. The chef explained that he started making it as he had during his time in Louisiana (as execuchef at the Holiday Inn in Monroe) but customers had complained that it was too spicy. The result is the dumbed-down version we got. We only found out afterwards that you can explicitly ask for Louisiana heat. I also found the roux rather thin on both visits but the rice was carefully cooked just al dente both times. Crab Stuffed Eggplant ($12.99) was a triumph on the first visit. The creamy sauce blended with the sweet crab meat and the eggplant formed a base with texture and a slight bitterness to contribute contrast. On the second visit the result was the same except that part of the eggplant was the hard, inedible stem. You had to work your teeth around where the flesh of the eggplant started to harden. The side of green beans was cooked like classic southern vegetables (i.e. well done). Blackened Fish ($9.99) smothered most fish flavor with spices (a common problem with this preparation technique). We guessed that the fish was redfish.
Andria’s is trying. The chef knows what he is doing and we could have improved our experience if we had better communicated our preferences for unadulterated authenticity. Service was quick and friendly on our first visit but a waitress failed to turn up on the second one. That led to long waits which we assume would not be typical. The restaurant is BYOB so Gewürztraminer, Zinfandel, or your choice of heavy beer would be a good match with this food. Décor amounts to a lick of paint to this strip mall slot and furniture appears to have come from an auction where everything had wheels! The rudimentary surroundings and the location help keep prices down and make Andria’s a solid value. In fact, if you don’t feel like cooking a holiday dinner you may want to check out their Christmas Dinner Catering Special which looks like a bargain. Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!
We dined anonymously and paid for our own meals.