The Lion’s Share, enjoying the best of south Louisiana

The Lion’s Share is one of Houma’s older restaurants serving traditional Cajun cuisine. Centered in the Southland Mall for 42 years, owner Craig Walker moved the eatery earlier this year to the Old Navy Shopping Center on Martin Luther King Boulevard.

My party arrives for Saturday lunch. The space gives home to the dining area, which is arranged in one large room, a hallway of dividers that separate the front door from the hostess stand where diners enter to be seated. The atmosphere of the restaurant is casual and the decor is well done and fresh. Walls of royal red and dark beige give the space nice character and match the large stone tile floor. The one room is divided between the entranceway, dining area and a sports bar.

The task of ordering for my party was easy. The Lion’s Share menu has a small selection offering daily lunch specials, gumbo and crab & corn chowder, salads, fried seafood, hamburgers, shrimp, catfish, oyster or ribeye steak po-boys and house specials like Shrimp Stew with Rice, Catfish Louisiana or a Po-boy & Soup combo. One of the good things about local restaurants is the availability of such authentic dishes as shrimp stew and potato salad or fried fish and white beans. These local dishes are hard to get anywhere else, at least, they’re hard to get the way south Louisianans have come to love them.

After a few minutes of browsing the menu, a waitress approaches our table and promptly asks for our orders. Before ordering appetizers, I had to find out what the Voodoo Roll, an appetizer on the menu, consisted of. The waitress could not explain exactly what it was; only promising that it is both cheesy and very good. Having put in both appetizer and entree order, we wait for our drinks to arrive.

After an extended wait, around 30 minutes, the appetizers arrive at the table. The first: our order of [two] Voodoo Rolls. Turns out the appetizer is a loosely folded egg roll wrapper that cradles a filling of sautéed crabmeat, crawfish, onion, bell pepper and celery blended with a light, melted cheese. The roll [$7 for a small order; $10, large] is served simply with a parsley presentation and alongside a special “Voodoo” sauce, a barbecue-flavored mayo.

The roll combined with the sauce makes for a magic seafood experience. It is a very unique and delicious start to the meal.

Next came a fried vegetable platter [$7], which, as the name suggests, is a plate of assorted fried veggies served with ranch sauce. It’s one of my favorite appetizers, light batter on fresh, seasonable vegetables makes for a tasty, juicy combo. It’s great to share especially given the variety of palate-pleasing flavors will delight any group.

Among my favorite veggies on the platter are fried corn, mushrooms, onions and okra.

Our entrees arrive not long after the appetizers hit the table. The first dish we sample is the shrimp stew [$10]. The basic light brown roux captures the flavor of the shrimp, and I’m talking an abundance of shrimp, and goes wonderfully with the accompanying potato salad served on the side. Simple, delicious flavors are always a winner with potato salad.

Next, it’s time to partake in the fried seafood. The Seafood Sampler [$17] includes the south Louisiana trinity: shrimp, oysters and fish. It’s accompanied by a heaping serving of steak fries. The fried fish strips are juicy and well-battered and seasoned. The oysters and shrimp, however, on this visit are not as juicy and a bit overcooked. Sadly, the steak fries lacked seasoning and arrive below the desired temperature.

That’s not been the norm on previous visits. The sampler has risen to the occasion in the past, so we’re hopeful this was simply an off-day.

Having visited the Lion’s Share at its new location, I look forward to trying the lunch menu in future visits. The Shrimp Fettuccini sounds especially good.

As for this visit, the dishes we’ve sampled would be good for individual meals or office affairs. Bottom line, the menu could use expanding. More original dishes like the Voodoo Rolls would be a great addition. And the service is genuinely nice, however sporadic, on my few visits. The family-style setting, friendly service and memorable meals are hailed by regulars and make the Lion’s Share worth discovering.

The Lion’s Share, 1554 Martin Luther King Blvd., Houma (985) 868-3494; Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.