1921 Seafood in Houma a sure Lenten bet

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Each Lenten season, local seafood restaurants showcase our region’s freshest yield.

It’s a sure bet, south Louisiana is a treasure trove of seafood. But finding the spot locals prefer for preparing the catch of the day makes all the difference.

One place that’s been drawing locals back year after year is 1921 Seafood & Oyster Bar in Houma.

Locals have frequented the “no-frills” seafood shack from more than 20 years. Why? Fried and boiled seafood, oysters, cold beer and a homey, unassuming setting make this place stand out.

And at this time of year, crawfish are seemingly everywhere – either boiled at home with family and neighbors, or at one of the Tri-parishes’ many establishments attempting to satiate our craving for the Louisiana mudbug. When it comes to crawfish, 1921 Seafood doesn’t disappoint.

Proof of 1921’s popularity was plainly evident beginning Ash Wednesday. That night, locals flocked to the neighborhood eatery, accounting for a wait time of nearly 90 minutes for a seat. But regulars swear the wait is well worth it.

Something of a diamond in the rough – from the outside, it’s easy to overlook 1921 Seafood with its rustic exterior – visitors driving by would never guess the Houma restaurant is something of a seafood mecca.

Inside, the décor is functional. Thick plastic table clothes cover the tables and wooden benches, which are situation on a concrete floor to accommodate the classic Louisiana seafood family experience. Fish, fishing gear and related signage cover the walls, and the restroom signs direct you – depending on whether you’re an “inboard” or an “outboard.”

Stepping inside 1921 Seafood is like stepping into a friend’s fishing camp.

Outside, you’ve got a view of the parking lot. Across the street sits the Jolly Inn. Surprisingly, it’s a good combination: Enjoy great seafood at 1921 and then cross the street to work it off dancing to Cajun/Zydeco music.

Hot, boiled seafood is 1921’s main draw. According to the menu, it’s the “specialty of the house.” Hot, spicy and always fresh, customers are promised.

1921 boils or fries what’s available and well stocked. On our recent visit, for example, boiled crabs were in short supply. Louisiana’s blue crab shortage is well documented, but on this night, 1921 Seafood was out of boiled crabs. Blame it on a combination of high demand and short supply, which is actually a good thing. When crabs are on the menu, you know they will be good. When they’re not, you know the chef simply chose not to compromise the consistency.

The same rule applies to shrimp and crawfish.

The kitchen relies on local suppliers – longtime regulars in the business – and rather than purchase an unknown or inferior product, the chef sticks with what works.

Diners will quickly discover the boil seasoning is consistent with each visit. And boiled potatoes, corn on the cob and sausage are available as sides.

Don’t forget 1921’s oyster bar. This is a great place for raw oyster lovers. Other appetizers include homemade seafood gumbo, the classic “onion mum,” crabmeat-stuffed jalapenos, oyster or shrimp brochettes [wrapped in bacon and deep fried], fried crab claws or – for the kids – chicken and cheese, which are chicken nuggets with a generous portion of queso for dipping.

My guests and I enjoyed the onion mum ($6.95), which you would think would be hard to give a unique twist. But this mum, to its credit, was perfectly seasoned, perfectly breaded and fried all the way through. Nothing kills an onion appetizer like digging in and finding clumps of gooey batter as you near the base of the mum. Not so at 1921. It was a crispy, crunchy start to the meal.

One guest opted for a cup of “After the Boil Soup” ($6.95). Piping hot, the cup included a blend of shrimp, crawfish, crab and sausage, as well as corn and cubed potatoes. The mild cream sauce accentuated the flavors of the seafood, earning very high marks.

Entrees included a steaming platter of crawfish (available in 2-pound and 4-pound platters) and the Combo Stuffer. Typically, the stuffer would have included a stuffed crab and two stuffed shrimp, but blame the high demand: they ran out of stuffed shrimp and the dish included two stuffed crabs instead. The hand-stuffed crab was battered and deep-fried. Thin, tasty sweet potato fries and a slice of grilled French bread accompanied it.

Entrée alternatives do exist. Fried seafood platters [or half-platters] of oysters, shrimp, crawfish catfish, soft-shelled crab or a combination thereof (fittingly called the Trash Basket) are available.

And you can always order from the sandwich menu: oyster, shrimp or catfish po-boys, hamburgers or a chicken sandwich.

Locals would be hard-pressed to find a friendlier, consistently delicious seafood spot to gather. Proof is in 1921’s popularity, not just through Lent, but all year round.

1921 Seafood impresses the Gumbo Guru as a Friday option during Lenten season.




Seasonal, 2 or 4 lbs.