Thoughtful presentation, well prepared food makes Hot Tails worth the drive

After a nice Sunday drive west across the Mississippi, past green sugar cane fields and scenic False River, we enjoyed quite a delicious brunch at Hot Tails Crawfish House in New Roads.

The almost full parking lot and the wait raised our expectations, but when we did get our table it was a bit confusing. We had to place our order in one corner of the restaurant and then find our table in another corner around a wall, where we sat a good while before our food arrived. Some members of our party were put out about the setup and the wait, that is, until the food arrived.

The grumbling ended with our appetizers of fried pickles ($6.99), boudin boulettes ($6.99) and New Orleans style barbecue shrimp ($10.99). The large order of thinly sliced and breaded fried pickles were good and salty with a tasty dipping sauce and were served in a cute black cast-iron skillet. They and the large boulettes were a huge hit. Served atop a cast-iron baking pan, the large fried boudin balls sat on top of small bites of a delicious coleslaw mixed with pecans and a white remoulade dipping sauce in the middle. The barbecue shrimp could not have been any better. Large, piping hot shrimp were served in a shallow bowl with lots of the buttery, lemony, spicy baking sauce along with two large pieces of toasted French bread to dip so no sauce was left behind. These shrimp with a small soup or salad would be a good choice for an entree as well.

From the brunch menu we tried the blackened tuna BLT ($13.99) and the crawfish Benedict ($11) and both were delicious. The tuna was served open faced on Texas toast topped with remoulade sauce, lots of fish and bacon and an egg cooked sunny side up, allowing the yolk to run down and coat each bite. The different textures and flavors on this sandwich really complemented one another.

The two plump fried crawfish cakes on fluffy buttermilk biscuits were well seasoned and topped with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. This was an especially satisfying dish for brunch. Both of these dishes were served with wonderfully good creamy green onion cheese grits and browned potatoes.

From the regular menu we sampled a pork chop sandwich ($8.50), a filling, well fried, center cut chop dressed on Texas toast with French fries and served atop a butcher block.

Another sandwich we really enjoyed was the blackened shrimp po-boy. The generous serving of spicy shrimp was served dressed on soft po-boy bread with remoulade sauce on top. We tried the half po-boy ($8.99) with a cup of the seafood gumbo ($4.99) served in a small cast-iron bowl. The dark gumbo had layers of flavors that offered a spicy kick at the end and was full of seafood and a touch of filé. This soup and sandwich were a great combination.

The grilled shrimp and veggies ($12.99) featured a large number of perfectly grilled shrimp on well-seasoned, sautéed mixed vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, yellow squash and zucchini) with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and a large piece of soft French bread. This was a large serving and some came home with us and was just as good the next day for lunch.

We enjoyed every bite of this well prepared food and appreciated the thoughtful presentations. The hunting-camp decor was playful and consistent throughout the restaurant, but we felt a little claustrophobic in the windowless dark room with such close seating, lots of deer heads and the small ordering area, but with food this good, once we started eating, the food was all we could think about.

Hot Tails Crawfish House

1113 Hospital Road, New Roads

PHONE: (225) 638-4676

HOURS: Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday

ä ON THE INTERNET: http://hottailsrestaurant.com/