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Unique food, expert service, lagniappe hospitality


When explaining Louisiana culture to an outsider, food will inevitably be a hot topic. Here in Louisiana, we have some of the best and most unique cuisine with recipes that have been unchanged for generations. New Orleans in particular excels when it comes to family-owned restaurants and secret recipes, adapting an upscale dining style that combines jazzed up cuisine and warm, friendly service.



The dining atmosphere at Copeland’s is well suited for diners who want to experience authentic New Orleans dining right in Houma.

As I walk past the neon lit exterior and through the large wooden double doors, the interesting blend of traditional and contemporary decor catches my attention. The layout of the restaurant’s interior provides elegant wooden booths, raised seating, party rooms and a cheesecake bistro. Perhaps the best atmospheric quality would be the smell of Cajun spice and jazz music floating through the air.



Eager to explore what Copeland’s of New Orleans has to offer, I approach the hostess station and request a table for two.



My companion and I were seated and given menus to look at; this was a task in itself. The large, well-bound menu includes 10-plus pages of everything New Orleans and includes pictures of new dishes, as well as an address by Al Copeland Jr. on the history of the restaurant. The menu is an array of steaks, ribs, pastas and seafood dishes, new specialties and a “classics” section featuring some recipes untouched since Al Sr. opened his namesake eatery in 1983!

One major advantage Copeland’s menu delivers is a diverse selection that blends old and new dishes designed to tantalize.



Our server Chelsi arrived with drinks and helped guide us through the menu. We decided upon the Crab cakes and Shrimp Alfredo alongside the old classic, Shrimp Etouffee. My companion suggested Bayou Broccoli – a popular favorite — for a starter.



From where my companion and I were seated, the mural-covered walls and a see-through grill area held our attention. Copeland’s taps into New Orleans’ casually festive vibe, teaming comfort and upscale sensibility and making it an ideal venue for a relaxed outing.

After a short wait, another server arrived with our Bayou Broccoli. This inventive appetizer looks exactly like a small hush puppy, but is filled instead with broccoli, cheese and bacon bits. It is one of the restaurant’s unchanged recipes. Guaranteed not to disappoint, the appetizer is amazing, especially with the Tiger sauce. The cheese and bacon combine with the Tiger sauce’s sweet barbecue and vinegar flavors and excite all areas of the taste buds.


While waiting for our entrees, we couldn’t help but notice the large bowls and plates of everything from gumbo to fried seafood and filets being delivered to nearby tables; we were getting hungry!



Our meal arrived and our server was quick to offer fresh black pepper in case we wanted a little extra spice. As with many New Orleans-inspired dishes, pepper is the predominant spice. The blends of white, red and black pepper can leave the palette wanting more.

The same can be said for my Shrimp Etouffee. One of Copeland’s signature freshly baked biscuits sat upon a large stew of peppery roux and spiced shrimp. The stew was thick and filled with medium-sized shrimp. The base of this delicious dish is a blend of vegetables and spices cooked down to concentrate the flavors. It is extremely bold tasting and is sure to satisfy anyone who likes pepper as much as I do.



The crab cakes were also well anticipated. Served atop a healthy portion of Shrimp Alfredo, the cakes were the centerpiece of the dish. Deliciously fried on the outside, they are filled with crabmeat finely shredded to a uniform consistency.

And not to be outdone, the angel hair pasta and Shrimp Alfredo was exceptional. A well-seasoned, creamy white Alfredo sauce, blended with medium-sized shrimp, covers the pasta. And the pepper makes this well-spiced dish flavorful without producing an offending bite. The bounty can easily accommodate two.

After dabbling at Copeland’s of New Orleans fare, I definitely plan to venture back. Between the vast selection, drinks and desserts, this restaurant has something new to offer on a seasonal basis. Enjoying food with a date, family or friends, it is easy to get engulfed in Copeland’s New Orleans atmosphere.

Whether you’re a Cajun or not, Copeland’s offers a unique setting with flavors to match.

GURU’S PICKS

APPETIZER

Bayou Broccoli ($7.49)

Introduced in 1983, it includes broccoli, bacon, cheese, Tiger sauce

ENTRE

Crabcakes and Shrimp Alfredo ($9.99 lunch; $15.49 dinner)

Fried crab cakes on a bed of angel hair pasta, topped with a light shrimp Alfredo sauce.

Shrimp Etouffe ($5.99)

Dark roux-based sauce seasoned with garlic, green onions and spices, served over rice. Can also be topped with crawfish.

Copeland’s of New Orleans 1534 MLK Blvd., Houma (985) 873-9600 copelandsofneworleans.com Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.