“Are y’all having a Fat Tuesday celebration out there today?”. It’s Mardi Gras and I’m on the phone with a man at the Real New Orleans Style Restaurant in Marble Falls, Texas.
“No sir, we don’t go in for that. This is a Christian organization”.
Hmmm. Who parties harder than the Christians? I silently muse to myself.
“Well do y’all have any food for sale?”
“Oh yeah, the kitchen’s open”
I note the directions the kindly Christian gives me and after chugging some coffee we’re soon beating a trail out Hwy 71 straight out of Austin.
Walking up to the door at The Real New Orleans Style Restaurant I take notice of the sign next to the door.
“ABSOLUTELY NO ALCOHOL SERVED OR ALLOWED ON PREMISES”. Fat Tuesday prospects are indeed mighty grim around these parts we both reckon.
With no trace of ol Devil alcohol to cloud our judgement we decide to focus on the food and are modestly rewarded.
Gumbo has a medium dark roux with small slices of low grade smoked sausage and a couple disinterested shrimp lurking about. It’s almost unbearably salty and I have a nigh onto religious appreciation of this treasured mineral.
Shrimp Shanice is a half dozen 50 count shrimp in a passable garlic, butter and lemon juice sauce. I would’ve like it more had they not used the processed, jarred garlic that’s the hallmark of lazy kitchens everywhere.
A fried oyster po boy has a dozen or so small [Texas Pride] oysters nestled on a hoagie-style roll. It’s fully dressed with lettuce, tomatoes, mayo and pickles. I don’t reckon Domilise’s has the need to feel threatened any time soon but out in Marble Falls this must be the gold standard for a po boy.
The fish, shrimp combo basket features a big plank of carefully fried catfish and a few 60 count shrimp that have suffered from too much time in a freezer unit before making their way to the table.
We save the best for last. A bouillon bowl of red beans and rice shows the kitchen in a most favorable light. Clearly the cook is at the apogee of their game when huddled over the bean pot. Creamy,well seasoned kidneys fall short of greatness from inclusion of more of the same low grade, smoked sausage.
Out here in Central Texas we take our sausage very seriously. We have access to the fruit of many German, Czech and Austrian emigre’s who’ve brought the customs of their homeland to Texas over the last 200 years. Even ragtag grocery stores stock good, cheap Texas sausage so for any restaurant,let alone one featuring New Orleans cuisine, to serve low grade product like this is simply unacceptable.
Service is quite accommodating. Two girls attend to our needs and are affable in their manner as they regularly inquire after us.
Real New Orleans Restaurant is a large, barnlike structure seating perhaps a hundred and fifty patrons. Photographs of the food you’re about to eat adorn the walls. Since the grade of photography is poor, small stickers explaining what the items are are haphazardly stuck onto the photos themselves. The effect is somewhat disorienting as the pictures bear little resemblance to the food coming out of the kitchen.
Nearly paralyzed by the gargantuan portions we make our way out of doors into the strong Winter sun. Reflecting back on our meal we’re of a consensus that when you’re this far from Louisiana you must keep your eaterly ambitions low. If you roll into Real New Orleans Style Restaurant with this mindset you’ll find the rewards to be commensurate with the expectations.
1700 FM 1431
Marble Falls, Texas
About the Stars:
4 **** Extraordinary, life changing
3 *** Excellent
2 * Very good
1 * Good
0 * Mediocre
Quality, price, service and ambiance are all taken into account when rating.