Onion rings are always a valid reason for choosing a place to eat in Bayou Country. The golden fried appetizer of choice for many had even greater significance on June 22, National Onion Rings Day.
It seems there is now a reason to celebrate just about anything, including a basket loaded with greasy, cholesterol-blanketed onions. Healthiness, or lack thereof, aside, onion rings had to be on my plate on National Onion Rings Day.
To check the event off my must-do list, I met a friend for lunch at Boudreau and Thibodeau’s Cajun Cookin’, a popular local family spot in Houma that doubles as a great recommendation for tourists looking to sample local dishes in an authentic, inviting Cajun atmosphere. It’s the kind of place where you’ll likely see someone you know and where you’ll meet folks from parts of the world you hope to visit some day.
Boudreau and Thibodeau’s happens to make some of the best onion rings in the area. Onion rings are rather divisive: Some prefer thick-cut onions, while others like theirs thin. The latter is what you’ll get at Boudreau and Thibodeau’s, whose basket lands on the table like a bird’s nest falling off a serving tray. Slice these onions any thinner and you’re moving into onion powder territory.
The restaurant uses the thinness of the rings to its advantage, coating each piece of onion in seasoned batter that crisply puffs up enough to separate from the onion without falling off and leaving the former tear-jerker naked and exposed. This produces a bite that allows you to appreciate both the flavor of the onion and the seasoning that enhances its natural sweetness.
Boudreau and Thibodeau’s serves its onion rings with a dipping sauce like what locals call seafood dip. It’s a mayo- and ketchup-based sauce that tames the grease but isn’t essential. These fried veggies are bold enough to stand on their own -- and worthy of celebration on National Onion Rings Day.
For my entree, I stuck with the menu’s fried side and opted to sample the restaurant’s version of a crawfish po-boy dressed with mayo, lettuce and pickles. Crawfish tails take on a more earthy flavor when fried, as they are boiled first before landing in the fryer. They retain their spiciness from the boil and take on greater complexity with the seasoning from the batter, ensuring a dominant flavor profile.
My po-boy arrived open faced with a generous serving of fried crawfish rolling off the French loaf onto the plate. The bread was soft with a slight toasting that allowed the mayo to spread evenly. As expected, the lettuce was cool and refreshing, while the dill pickle chips introduced a tanginess that paired especially well with the batter. Tourists would appreciate this sandwich most, as both the must-try po-boy and crawfish can be a experienced on a single plate.
Boudreau and Thibodeau’s takes pride in its Cajun cooking, down to the onion rings that get just as much of the VIP treatment as any other item on the menu. It’s the kind of food that deserves to be celebrated any day, not just because a social media news feed says so. •