More than oysters, Half Shell specializes in lunch

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Something about those shack-like eateries situated along Bayou Lafourche and the way they prepare seafood and Cajun cooking makes one forget about everything but the meal.

Thibodaux’s Half Shell Restaurant, with an expansive and diverse list of daily lunch specials that are light on the wallet, fits into this category.

The restaurant conjures memories of B&E Seafood and Mommie Jo’s in south Lafourche, down-home establishments where the quality of food marginalizes the lack of modern aesthetics.

True to the style, the 14 tables scattered throughout Half Shell are stationed with black cushioned chairs. The setting isn’t elegant. Rather, it’s typically rural, accentuated with checkered tablecloths and a handful of lighthouse sculptures, the restaurant’s predominant theme.

Modern and traditional country music is piped in through the restaurant’s hanging speakers, a background noise that won’t burden one of a different taste.

For lunch, Half Shell features four weekly rotations of daily specials, a total of 20 unique entrees that cost between $7 and $8.50. The dish list includes crabmeat stuffed chicken breast, shrimp and eggplant casserole, crawfish stew, hamburger steak, chicken spaghetti and an open-faced roast beef po-boy.

The veal Parmesan (on Tuesday of the second week) comes as a large serving. The tender patty sits atop a bed of pasta and is covered with a rich tomato sauce. A cup of corn, plate of green salad and slice of garlic bread accompanies the main dish.

Taste buds and hunger are equally satisfied with this $8 meal. On this particular visit, the corn leaves a little to be desired, and the salad isn’t special, but the garlic bread, spaghetti pasta and veal combination alone delightfully fill the stomach.

On their own, the three pieces that make up the lunch entrée do not enthrall. As a combination, the elements meld together just right: thin noodles, tender meat and a sweet sauce.

My guest reports the fried fish platter is a true treat. The fish, once sprinkled with a little lemon, are fresh and crispy. Appearing to be thin strips of catfish, the fish are battered just right and seasoned to perfection. The toast served with the meal is heavily buttered and is a welcome addition.

The restaurant, now open for 11 years, serves lunches from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Thibodaux’s Half Shell Restaurant features 20 unique lunch specials every 20 weekdays. The veal Parmesan does not disappoint.

CASEY GISCLAIR | Gumbo Entertainment Guide