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Bayou Fish House
527 York St.
Newport, KY 41071 (859) 491-3474
I love the menu at the new Bayou Fish House. When (if) you walk in you’ll see it. A big painted wood plank above the counter reads: Fish Meal----$6.95 Perch, Cod, Whiting, Catch of the day. Shrimp Meal----$8.95. Meals served with bread and fries. Gumbo, Fries, Coleslaw----$2.25. Drinks----$1.50.
The drinks are all canned or bottled sodas and teas (Arizona included). The gumbo is the good kind. Spicy with a deep richness, it leans towards more peanut than chocolate in color. Sausage, onion, okra and peppers, peppers & peppers are melted together in the buttery roux. The rice needed a few more minutes before you could call it done in this batch, but the flavors rebel-yelled out loud as a true to form Cajun gumbo, I guarantee.
The fries are the frozen seasoned variety, but at least of decent quality. I almost always hate seasoned/breaded frozen potatoes period but I ate most of these. It was the perfect fry master technique that was the saving grace. A nice crisp indeed.
I didn’t try the coleslaw (And I still regret it. Why?? It was just two bucks! I guess I’m just slack-jaw stupid sometimes). I have a gut feeling it’s good, but then again, Bayou does choose frozen fries. Still, I bet it is good.
I didn’t try the Catch of the Day either (Shrimp Tacos----$8.50, served ala carte). But I snagged this pic of an order from the two top next to me. The lunch break blokes that ordered them didn’t share, but they did suggest I should give the tacos much merit in my review. Big fresh breaded “s’rimps”, tucked under lettuce, onion and tomato. Wrapped up in two soft corn tortillas, sporting a thick slather of Chipotle cream sauce. It did look good, I should have ordered that too. If only it wasn’t served ala carte! A side of that good gumbo would have sealed the deal.
What is for sure good, is the damn fish. My cohort ordered the Cod. Cod is a no brainer when testing a fresh fish joint. This measured up with any at the top. One inch thick loin strips of filet, thick-moist flaky chunks pulled apart bright-white, steaming pretty. The “breaded before your eyes” snappy Cajun crisp breading sealed in the goodness with a hint of spice. Black pepper I suspect. Something simple. A great choice for people who do not like “fishy” fish.
I ordered the Perch. The last time I had good Perch it was twisting on the end of a silver line leader in the sunshine, splashing sweet Lake Huron water in my eyes a mere hours before frying. That was at least 25 years ago, fishin’ with my grandpa. BFH’s Perch was close. Not for finicky fish eaters though as it featured bones (Hence the white bread it’s served with, you eat a big ball when a bone lodges in your throat, it’s a family tradition). A bit more essence of fish than the Cod. A fish eaters fish for certain, but done right indeed. Grandpa would approve and that’s good enough for me.
The portion of the fish meals were crippling. They serve manly meals here at the Bayou Fish House folks. Damn manly. The owner is from Lake Charles, LA so you know he’s dined on a few fine fried fishes in his time and knows what’s Creole, what’s Cajun, what’s Southern Standard and what’s not even close. Usually “Yank Cajun” isn’t even close. Even I can attest to that, and I am a damn Yank myself (I’m not proud of it but I’m not going to lie).
I do think the BFH should invest the time to serve some fine French twice fried frites with their fabulous fish and ditch the frozen sysco stuff (After all, the chef is a fryer aficionado folks). I would have zero complaints then. Besides, fish this good deserves a decent fry.
Newport folks can now dig on some good fish for lunch at the Bayou Fish House and end up set back just the same as if you hit the gut wrenching grey disc drive-thru line. You’ll damn sure get more, and it will damn certain be better. In fact, it will actually be damn good. Imagine that, cheap, fast and good. It’s a damn miracle.
IF YOU GO; The Bayou Fish House is located on the west side of York St. (527). It’s a big two story grey brick with “Fish Market” painted on the side. A parking lot is directly under the painted words. DO NOT park there (unless you like your fish & chips with fish & fist to cuffs).
Parking is on-street only. Bernhard’s Bakery (across the street) owns the parking lot. When they see Fish House customer cars there (which all the Bayou customers on my trip, including me, were parked) the bakery boys intentionally block you with a box truck. Then, they refuse to move it, as they explain to you a BS “.. people do this everyday and we’re sick of it...” story behind their misguided motives.
Apparently it’s an ongoing issue. Fact is they have only a single small washed out sign swinging in the far corner stating “Bernhard’s Customers Only”. It is easily missed (quite often as well obviously) and the true culprit for the dilemma (duh). Invest in a few new signs posted on the fence bakery boys, it would solve your seemingly never ending problem as to why Fish House customers park there all day, everyday. Or, rent the fence side spaces to the Fish House, it will help offset the cost of that fat and sugar you serve. Or do neither and keep dealing with the drama.
In the end, it isn’t my concern, just giving the unsuspecting diners a heads up. On second thought, do park there. Then, simply sneak over to Bernhard’s after the fish house and buy a doughnut, get one over on the bad attitude bakery boys with a technicality! “I am a customer... See!... I have a chocolate topped custard eclair! (while waving the receipt)... Now move the truck!” You’d have them savagely twisting in an entirely new dilemma, and that would be funny. Plus, you’d have the dessert. If only they sold beignets.
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