Sal and Judy’s
Growing up on the Northshore, I’ve seen my fair share of restaurants come and go. To put it in south Lousiana terms, they might have been good but they ain’t there no more. Some, however, have withshood the test of time- Nuvolari’s still offers its upscale Italian on Girod Street, Fazzio’s still churns out its tasty seafood/Italian fare in Mandeville, and Morton’s is still frying seafood on Water Street on the Madisonville lakefront as they have been for almost 35 years! But my absolute favorite Northshore restaurant, still thriving after its inception in 1974, is Sal and Judy’s.
A dining experience like no other, Sal and Judy’s offers Sicilian-Creole cuisine with an unparalled depth of flavor that can only be described as sublime. I’ve been eating at Sal and Judy’s for 30 years and I’ve never once been disappointed. You might think I’m exaggerating, but I’m really not. From the hand-crafted cocktails to the myriad southern-inspired appetizers and entrees, to the Kentucky Derby pie for dessert, everything is always amazing. And, while some restaurants seem to embrace the “less is more” policy when it comes to portion sizes, Sal and Judy’s definitely subscribes to the “give them enough for a second meal” policy, so you never leave wanting for anything else. Trust me, the food is so good that you’ll wake up the next day incredibly happy to have that to-go box in the fridge.
Fair warning, if you’ve never been and feel inspired to go, Sal and Judy’s is NEVER not busy. You’ll need a reservation; especially around the holiday season. Because of its popularity with locals, it also exudes energy and, depite its white table cloths and professional waitstaff, is not a super quiet and low-key experience. What you’ll find when you’re dining at Sal and Judy’s is tables of people laughing and reminiscing, enjoying amazing food and life in general. Is it a great date-night restaurant? Yes. Is it where you go if you want to sit in silence and stare into your significant other’s eyes? Probably not. But if you want incredible food and courteous, professional service (much of the wait staff has been there since I was a little girl!), Sal and Judy’s can’t be beat.
So, on to the food. What exactly is so good about it? Well…everything! To me, though, the secret is in the sauce. Their sauces are beyond reproach. Their arguably most famous sauce, called Nicholas, is butter-based and loaded (and I mean LOADED) with lump crabmeat, shrimp and mushrooms. Speckled with green onions and parsley, it’s decadent without being overly rich and the ingredients scream fresh.
On our most recent visit, we tried a sauce we’d never had before- sauce Louis- and it didn’t disappoint! In fact, I think it’s my husband’s new favorite. Loaded with lump crabmeat, this creamy tomato-basil sauce was served over delicately fried eggplant, for the ultimate Cajun-Italian combination. Though I highly recommend trying a dish with a sauce, you really can’t go wrong with anything. From their fried seafood to their traditional lasagna, it’s all delicious.
One particular dish that deserves its own paragraph is the crab claw appetizer. Also offered in an entree size (for the die hard fans), this is my favorite dish of any restaurant…ever. It consists of dozens of meaty crab claws in a white cream sauce so delicious you won’t believe what hit you when you take your first bite. It’s served with a full loaf of warm, crusty French bread, perfect for slathering in the excess sauce. Need more bread? (Because carbs don’t count at Sal and Judy’s) They’ll bring you another perfectly warmed loaf without question…or judgement. So, I implore you, if you go to Sal and Judy’s, get the crab claws! You’ll thank me, I promise.
So, next time you are looking for incredible food in a warm and inviting atmosphere, I highly recommend you check out Sal and Judy’s. It’s been a Northshore staple for 35 years and I have a feeling it’ll still be here in 35 more.
Have you been to Sal & Judy’s? Do you agree with my review? Leave a comment below!