OK...anyone who knows me or has read any of my reviews understands that I'm not normally a fast-food or fried-food guy: I usually avoid this stuff like the plague....except when I'm in Lake Charles, where I always stop in at Steamboat Bills for a fix of some of their deep-fried goodness!
This is a very casual, comfortable, relaxed, noisy, laughter filled, eat 'till you're stuffed' kind of place that does a good job of getting people in and out while providing solid customer service and charging reasonable prices. Lots of tables full of families, couples and friends enjoying gallons of iced-tea and bottles of beer with their meals.
Walk in the front door, grab a menu to study while you wait in line (the line moves fairly quickly), make your selection and tell the person at the register/front counter what you want. They'll give you your beverage and a card with your order number. Follow a server to your table, stick your order card in the holder on the table and in a short time you'll receive a huge basket full of some of the best prepared, delicious fried seafood you'll ever have.
On my recent visit I thoroughly enjoyed...no LOVED...the crispy, fried & delicious shrimp 'scampi' and french fries, along with a side of some very good coleslaw. The seasoning was perfect, and the shrimp was fried to a golden brown color and was not greasy in any way! The breading/coating on the shrimp was exactly the right amount and was seasoned perfectly: not too heavy, not too skimpy. My two brothers had various fried entrées as well (catfish, etc.) and seemed to really enjoy their meals. We were all smitten with the Boudin balls as our appetizers: washed down with a couple of cold beers, they were tasty!
I've also had some of the featured Cajun items (gumbo, etouffee) and found them to be pretty good, but generally unremarkable compared to other gumbos/etouffees I've had in Southern Louisiana. Would have loved to try almost any entrée that featured craw-fish, but they were not 'in season' yet so I'll have to wait until my next visit.
I will most certainly return to Steamboat Bills next time I'm in Lake Charles.
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