Zydeco Diner (****)

Posted on May 1st, 2004 in Restaurant Reviews by mynagirl

Zydeco Diner

1119 Pease Street

Houston, Texas 77002

713 759 2001

http://www.zydecodiner.com

I can’t say enough wonderful things about this place. I’d driven by it for years as I worked at various buildings downtown, but it wasn’t until I starting working at my current building about five blocks away that I finally gave this place a try. Its unassuming brick structure belies the wondrous culinary treasures that await within.

Offerings include ettoufée, red beans and rice, smothered pork chops, and (my personal favorite) a heavenly basket of fried shrimp on french fries with the most divine mayonaise tartar sauce ever created. Side dishes are wonderful — fluffy cornbread (you have to pester the guy at the window for some butter, however, I’ve learned), great broccoli with cheese sauce — everything you might love at a traditional cafeteria “meat and three” but with true New Orleans flavor. You can see back into where they freshly hand-prepare each order with the proper type of breading (cornmeal, flour, etc) for the fried items. It definitely shows in how tasty and fresh the food is.

Not to be missed is dessert stacked up at the checkout stand, however. Although there’s a chocolate cake that looks quite tempting, I’ve never tried it because the bread pudding with cream sauce is absolutely irresistable. (I get it every single time I go and I’m not in general a huge dessert eater). It’s one of the most amazing cinnamon-infused tasty treats I’ve ever had, and it’s worth a trip there all by itself.

Also worth the trip is how friendly the place is. The proprietess, Gail, is always so cheery and happy to see you when you’re in there to eat, and she’s done wonders for me when I needed to reserve a big table for an office lunch or baby shower. (Plus, the pay-as-you-get-your-food cafeteria checkout is perfect for an office get-together, so there’s no awkward math when the check gets delivered at the end of the meal). Often during lunchtime there’s a guy playing some live zydeco music, which provides some nice background noise; he’s really quite excellent, actually. An added bonus is that both dining rooms are non-smoking, which I really like, especially since it’s a fairly smallish restaurant.

All in all, it’s one of my favorite spots. The place tends to get packed by 11:30, however, so if you head there, I recommend you go early. And definitely get the bread pudding.

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