It had been some time since I last stopped into downtown's Duval’s. With so many new restaurants to check out, it's easy to forget to check in with older, popular ones. So I'm holding myself to the promise of more frequent visits to old friends--and Duval’s deserved a taste.
First up: Ask for a table outside so you can enjoy the nice weather and excellent people watching--but if you prefer to sit inside, the decor is comfortable, with sea-inspired blue and green colors throughout.
Of course, we all love the oyster or shrimp po' boys. The bread is delicious, and the sweet fried oysters remind me of New Orleans.
But because a food writer cannot exist on po' boys alone, I also ordered the fresh catch of the day. Pan-seared red snapper from our own Gulf waters was simply cooked with a light lemon butter sauce, and moist as can be.
Duval's bouillabaisse is a comforting bowl of rich seafood stock filled with calamari, shrimp, mussels and lobster tail. Definitely a dish I'd order again. My companion, a crab cake lover, enjoyed the combo of crab and shrimp with a nod to Caribbean flavors, including chipotle remoulade and Creole slaw.
A "Big Catch" order of fried fish 'n chips, using batter-dipped cod, was a favorite of the table, and although our fries could have been hotter (a pet peeve of mine) we all loved the crunchy batter on the fish.
Non-seafood lovers will enjoy the bacon-wrapped pork chop with tasso ham, potatoes and onions. And for dessert, let out your inner child and try the PB&J en croute--or go for the classic bread pudding with creme Anglaise.
And here's a news tip: With a new restaurant concept going into the former Ivory Lounge/Cafe Americano spaces, the Duval’s group looks like they are ready for the new downtown residents that will fill the building boom soon.
1435 Main St.