Big Al’s Seafood And Spirits, Harvey, LA Report #75

I received an email from Groupon with their featured deals and Big Al’s Seafood was one.  I looked at the menu and some appetizer caught my eye, so I bought the Groupon and today headed to Big Al’s.

This place is right on the Westbank Expressway, but tucked back off the street behind some automotive business, so I’ve driven past it literally hundreds of times and never saw it.  I looked at the menu and didn’t see that appetizer I originally wanted.  In fact, nothing on the menu caught my eye as particularly appealing and they had a lunch buffet going on.  I looked at it, some of the things on it looked good, so I figured I’d just go with the buffet.

Nice looking salad bar, which I didn’t touch.  There were two big vats with seafood gumbo and a shrimp, crab and corn chowder so I started there.  Gumbo was full of shrimp and crab and not bad.  A little salty for me, but actually better than the gumbo I had at a big name, fancy, New Orleans restaurant last night (see Report #74).  The shrimp, crab and corn chowder was VERY good.  Plenty of crabmeat and very creamy and well seasoned.

Next was the reason I decided on the buffet.  Turkey necks stewed in brown gravy.  I love turkey necks and these were great.  The gravy was very good.

Next up, BBQ ribs, red beans and white beans.  I see why it’s called Big Al’s SEAFOOD instead of rib joint.   If Big Al was a rib joint Big Al wouldn’t be so big anymore because he’d starve trying to sell these ribs.  Dry, tough and not a very good BBQ sauce.  Red beans, “ok” at best.  White beans were pretty good.

The next pic looks like a pan of sauce.  A cook came out behind the bar and I asked, “What’s this”?  She said, “Shrimp etoufee”.  I repeated it for her as she watched, and I picked up spoons of it emptying them back into the pan, “This is SHRIMP etoufee”?  I was trying to give her the subtle hint there wasn’t ONE damn shrimp in it!  I was waiting for her to say, “OH!  Looks like all the shrimp have been picked out.  I’ll go get another pan”.  Well, that didn’t happen and we both went on with our lives.

Next, and I had to ask, I tried the “fried” chicken.  This wasn’t fried chicken.  I’m not sure what it was.  It was horrible.  Looked more blackened than fried with no discernable batter or crust.  They had something they called a fish courtbouillon, which wasn’t too bad.  Nice chunks of fish in a tomato sauce.  Ok over rice.  The fried shrimp were very good.

I decided to try a boiled crab.  Horrible.  Not seasoned at all.  Tasted like it had been boiled in lightly salted water.

I ordered a cup of coffee to go with my dessert.  To me the coffee tasted like gunpowder.  And if you’re asking, “How does he know what gunpowder taste like”?, don’t tell me as a kid you never put a black cat firecracker between your teeth and lit it to prove how tough you were!  Hopefully before your permanent teeth came in.  Anyway, my dining partner said the coffee was fine but just strong.  The chocolate and lemon cakes were yummy, the bread pudding was dense and not very good.

Finally, the Groupon couldn’t be used for the buffet (always read the fine print), so I guess I’ll be back to order off the menu.  I can’t not recommend a place based on an “all you can eat” buffet.  Anytime you go to one of those you know you aren’t going to get a quality meal.  But for $12.95, if you’re looking for cheap eats this is a place you might want to consider.

1440 Westbank Expy. #B, Harvey, LA  70058  Ph: 504-309-4915

Blaine 1-27-2018

SUPPLEMENTAL REPORT:

Ok, so it was back to Big Al’s today to use my Groupon and order off the menu so I could make a fair assessment of the place. The buffet was closed but the salad bar was open. The salad bar is nice and it comes with any entrée you order off the menu. Very good. Much better than a little side salad.

We started off with buffalo wings and jalapeño poppers as an appetizer. The wings had a good flavor but were a little dry. The poppers were obviously ones that you’d buy pre battered and frozen, but they were pretty good.

I had their fried shrimp before and they were yummy, so I figured I’d try a different kind of seafood. I’m very picky about my fried oysters. I hate when they’re not fried crispy or they have so much batter or coating on them it hides the flavor of the oyster. I decided on an oyster poboy, dressed. This one was excellent. Big, crisp fried oysters with minimum coating and the French bread was crusty, fresh and very good.

So if you decide to visit Big Al’s seems fried seafood is the way to go. They do a good job with that.

1440 Westbank Expy. #B, Harvey, LA  70058  Ph: 504-309-4915

Blaine 2-2-2018

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