Thursday, November 17, 2011

Burger joint of the week: Bayou Bistro

Posted By on Thu, Nov 17, 2011 at 9:33 AM

UNCONTAINED:  Mozzarella and crawfish sauce dribbles from Bayou Bistros Cajun Burger.
  • Kat Robinson
  • UNCONTAINED: Mozzarella and crawfish sauce dribbles from Bayou Bistro's Cajun Burger.
This burger is leaking. Okay, so it’s not, but it is certainly overflowing with one unusual ingredient that elevates it to a different plane.

Found it at Bayou Bistro in El Dorado a few weeks ago. It was a Friday night, it was getting late, and my dining companion and I needed some real food. We ended up following the signs to this Creole/Italian joint over by Home Depot.

The menu has a lot of crazy Louisiana items on it, some of which resemble fair food — fried gator, fried pickles, fried Mozzarella cheese sticks, bacon wrapped shrimp — and a goodly number of steaks and salads.

Me? Well, I was thinking about trying one of the pasta dishes, but my dining companion pointed out this Cajun Burger ($7.99) on the menu. Of course, I felt obliged to try it.

My dining companion went with the Seafood Fettuccini Alfredo ($12.99)

and was met with a rather large plate of pasta dotted with chunks of crawfish and shrimp, with flakes of crabmeat. Thing is, yes, it fit the Italian description, but not the Creole description. I’m not saying it had to… but we did ask if they had some Tony Chachere’s in the back. They did. A little dusting made it perfect. We were told a lot of people ask for it that way — so I’m wondering if it’ll go on the menu like that.

My burger was supposed to come with fries, but I asked for and received a nice leafy salad instead. Then out came the burger, opened on a big buttery toasted square ciabatta bun. It was almost steamy hot, with four pickles and mayo on the top bun and… a pouring of a thick cream sauce with bits of crawfish in it. All over the patty… and apparently out onto the plate, too.

There was also a slice of tomato and a piece of green leaf lettuce under the patty, but all that really registered at first was this mass of crawfish cream sauce. Not just cream sauce in itself; mozzarella and likely parmesan had also been added so that the sauce was just about at the congealing point, still warm but thick. It had been toasted after the cheese application with a nice golden edge to the side that wasn’t dripping off the side of the sandwich.

How do you eat this sort of thing? You do like I do — you cut it in half and attempt the side that’s not pooling on the plate. And how was it? The sauce made that burger. The patty itself had a little flavor of onion to it, a little salt and pepper and not much else. It was cooked through to medium well but was a bit moist still.

The salty sauce made up for any patty deficiencies, and it glued the whole burger together. Even with that, though, I believe the tomato was necessary… with all that saltiness there was a need for some refreshing non-salty-bits… oh, what am I saying?

It was a half-a-burger burger sitting. It’s a half pound patty and that’s a lot of cheese and a lot of butter in that bun. Probably shot my cholesterol right through the roof. But I enjoyed it — especially the nice bits of crawfish all through that sauce. Tasty.

Fact of the matter is, it’s an unusual burger in a place that could just be any old place. I mean, the décor is green and dotted with New Orleans memorabilia, but without a better sampling of the menu I could not tell you if it was truly Creole inspired or more Cajun-influenced.

I will say this, though. While we were there, there was a table of eight on the other side of our section. They had already received their pasta when we had arrived, and their table had been crowded with appetizers, too. One of them ordered dessert — a brownie a la mode that particular night. Then the seven others also ordered it. Must have been a hell of a brownie.

And then there’s the next day… because of course I took that half a burger with me. It was far superior the next day… not soggy, just very cheesy and bready and meaty and… well, yeah. For what that’s worth.

You’ll find Bayou Bistro on Highway 62 north of downtown, south of the Wal-Mart Supercenter. It’s open for lunch every day and dinner every day except Sunday. (870) 863-6700.

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