Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Turning A Blind Eye To Felicitous Fun

The Blind Tiger
120 Texas Street
Shreveport, LA

Shreveport has a split personality.

Sure, it is in Louisiana. But it has more in common with its big brother Texas, just a stone’s throw away.

Cowboy hats and crawfish. That’s Shreveport.

Of course a big reason for the Texas flavor is the flood of fun-lovin’ Texans who crowd into the casinos that line the Red River every weekend.

But as I like to say, fun is in the eye of the beer holder.

For some reason I’ll never understand, these otherwise sensible Texans will drive hundreds of miles to take pleasure in throwing away their hard-earned money.

Look, I’ll be the first to state that if you earned it, you should be able to blow it however you want. But Suit757 being a cheap bastard, losing money has never been on my top ten list.

A few of ‘em may even save enough pennies to sample some “authentic” Louisiana cooking. Never mind that most authentic Louisiana cooking comes from the Cajun prairies and bayous hundreds of miles south of here.

But for many of these weekend warrior Texans, Shreveport is the only taste of Louisiana they are ever going to get.

And the Blind Tiger – situated appropriately enough on Texas Street -- is the place to go to get it. Much preferable to the casino buffets of warmed over crawfish.

The Blind Tiger does Louisiana proud, from meat pies to gumbo to catfish to crawfish etouffee to Abita Beer selection. You can’t go wrong.

Why is it that the most ubiquitous beers are the most bland and boring?

See my Suit757 theory on America’s love affair with mediocrity!

In almost every bar and restaurant in Louisiana, you can order yourself an Abita Amber, a notch above Bud, but well within the bland and boring category.

Fortunately, The Blind Tiger has ALL the offerings from Louisiana’s most famous brewery including black-as-used-motor-oil Turbodog and the relatively recently introduced Jockamo, a hoppy India Pale Ale.

Jockamo was something of a departure for the brewery in Abita Springs. Unlike most brewers, Abita has traditionally shied away from boxing themselves into conventional beer styles.

Turbodog isn’t a bock. Or a porter. Or a stout.

It’s just…Turbodog.

But apparently yielding to demands of beer snobs and hopheads, the boys down in Abita Springs decided they needed a traditional IPA. I’m happy to report Jockamo is a very tasty version of the highly hopped brew – and an ideal compliment to good food.

Like my appetizer of traditional Louisiana meat pies. A mixture of finely mashed beef, pork and crawfish tucked into a two-bite-sized pastry, The Blind Tiger’s version of this North Louisiana snack was spot on.

But the meat pies were just a warm up for my “Catfish Grand Bayou”, two perfectly fried and seasoned fillets smothered in crawfish etouffee.

The texture was amazing. Despite being buried under all that messy goodness of crawfish, butter and cream, the fried catfish never lost its crunch.

Each forkful offered up flaky fish, crunchy spiced batter and decadent crawfish etouffee.

It was like Mardi Gras in my mouth!

The side dishes of fried corn and jambalaya didn’t stand a chance of competing with the center of the plate, but they put up a valiant effort.

Did he say FRIED corn?

Oh, yeah.
Picture this. A half ear of corn, battered, deep fried and sprinkled with Cajun seasoning.

I bet even Donald Trump’s toupee would taste good given that kind of treatment.

Located on the most prominent corner of downtown Shreveport in a building dating back to 1855, The Blind Tiger is just a fun, atmospheric place to hang out. Infinitely cooler than the cheesy casinos a block or two away.

Coolest of all is The Blind Tiger logo on the sign out front and plastered on T-shirts in 15 different colors, featuring a cool cat wearing Ray Charles style glasses and belting out tunes on an old piano, frosty beer within arm’s reach.

Turns out, during prohibition, joints like this would put a stuffed tiger in the window signaling to the -- shall we say -- more “fun-loving” of the local populous that there was an upstairs room with drinking, gambling and felicitous companionship to be had.

Seems like liberals and nanny-state do-gooders have been trying to spoil our fun for centuries. But you could always count on the tiger in the window to “turn a blind eye” to the activities upstairs.
Oh, yeah. I just HAD to add one of those cool Blind Tiger T-shirts (navy blue XL, please) to my vast Suit757 collection.

My fried corn and Catfish Grand Bayou may only be figments of my dreams, but my shirt will serve as a reminder that there are still parts of this great country where fun is still legal.

Just look for the blind tiger.

Rating: Like I Said…Bought the Shirt!

Blind Tiger on Urbanspoon


  1. Thank you for your rave review of my restaurant, we take pride in our "one of a kind" entrees and you nailed it with the catfish grand bayou, one of our biggest sellers! Your review is outstanding and reminds me of the saying ~ Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt!

  2. Absolutely! It's places like The Blind Tiger that make life on the road worth living. No trip to Shreveport is complete without Catfish Grand Bayou and a cold Abita!